The day we decided to start a blog, I envisioned that we would post something once/week. Nope. Hasn’t happened that way. While we have a lot that we’d like to share, the capacity to do so has steadily disappeared. Sometimes doing things that are worth writing about requires that you stop writing, in order to do them. That being said, we desire to be good stewards of your support and interest in our lives, for the sake of Christ. Here are some randomly–providentially–ordered things related to the Pals’ family and/or Japan. If you’re here solely to see pictures of our children, you can scroll to the bottom.
Progress update: We officially started the partner development stage of ministry in March. Since then, we’ve shared our story with about 50 people. The Lord has opened the door for many to join in sending us to Japan. By God’s grace, we’re at roughly 35% of the monthly support needed to pack the bags. We’ve also been plugging away at learning Japanese (15 minutes/day keeps monolingualism away) and the training assigned by WorldVenture (9 of 11 book reports done and submitted).
Prayer request: We realize most people feel life is too busy. In fact, you’re likely so busy that reading this far has been a sacrifice for you. We hope that means you can sympathize with us in our weakness. The burden of work, ministry and family feels uniquely heavy right now. It’s less about a lack of time than it is about a divided heart–an inability to be fully engaged in any one thing because other things are always waiting to be done. Here’s how we’d ask you pray for us during the next couple weeks: that we would not “eat the bread of anxious toil” (Psalm 127:2) but instead would find deep, satisfying rest in God alone (Psalm 62:5). The Lord works for those who wait for him!
Up next: In addition to continuing with partner development, we’ll be in Colorado during the first two weeks of July for training (and a wedding). Ezra is already looking forward to the airplane ride.
The Unseen Face of Japan: I recently read a book by this title, written by anthropologist David C Lewis. As we go to Japan, we want to take your hearts with us. Not literally, of course. I mean that we want you to desire Japan’s joy in Christ, just like we do. To that end, here are a couple quick thoughts from The Unseen Face of Japan:
-Only 18% of men believe that there is life after death; yet, the majority of men reported making religious offerings to or on behalf of the deceased. Why? Remembrance of the dead, tradition, social pressure, fear–50% of people surveyed feared that divine punishment would befall them if they did something bad. The conscience betrays the doctrine.
-64% of Japanese adults and 83% of teenagers wonder why they exist. We know why and want the opportunity to tell them.
Tulip Festival: Here are the promised pictures. We spent May 15-17 in Orange City, Iowa celebrating all things Dutch. Needless to say, John Calvin would have felt right at home.
Mom and Vi–Tulip Festival First-Timers
Dad and Ezra–Excavator First-Timers
Ezra and his cousins getting ready for the street cleaning.
Violet really likes her cousins!