(from our e-newsletter on Nov. 25)
This has been a different kind of year for us. We returned to Japan in March, eager to begin work on the Cross Project, a team of missionaries working on multiple church plants near each other while serving the mother church as well. After 5 years working as independent missionaries in Tohoku (although we had great cooperation with the Japanese pastor and his family), we were really looking forward to having a group of teammates to work with. As you probably remember, we experienced probably the worst season of recurring sickness our family has ever had, passing around all kinds of colds and flus for months. Then we realized that our oldest son was being bullied at school. We thought he was handling it well, but then were told by doctors that a lot of his sickness was because his immune system was low due to stress, and probably the school bullying had a lot to do with it.
By summer he had developed anxiety related symptoms like stomachaches, vomiting, even dizziness which he was nearly held overnight at the hospital for. At that point we realized we needed to remove him from his elementary school. Since then he’s improved a lot. And now and then he even tells us some examples of the bullying he dealt with that he hadn’t told us when he was still trying to stay in the local elementary school, which makes me even more relieved that we ended up removing him when we did in July. We’ve been homeschooling him but decided that we can’t make that a long term solution because it takes so much time away from potential ministry work. Without other local school options, we felt the only thing we can do is to move about an hour north of here, where Aki can attend Christian international school.
Sadly that means that we won’t be working full-time on the Cross Project anymore. We will still continue working with the same on-field missionary group, JBF, and still be working on the Church Multiplication team. We’re still looking at church planting, and are monitoring opportunities that we’re excited about. But we feel moving to make sure our kids have a safe and nurturing environment to grow up in is important to our long-term work as missionaries. It’s well known in the missionary community in Japan that missionary kids’ struggles with their social environment and education is one of the biggest reasons for missionary families to leave the field, so we want to be sure that our kids are in a position that they don’t actively resent what we are doing here in Japan as a family. Aki is really looking forward to returning to school next year, and our whole family is looking forward to what God has for us in this new neighborhood. Please pray for good finishes here at Den-En Grace Church and good beginnings in our next project. More information to follow after New Year!
Year End Support Needs
With this unexpected move, we anticipate needing $6000 for moving expenses and key money. Also, the new school tuition for Aki comes out to $8000/year, or a monthly increase of $667. Would you prayerfully consider a year end gift to help cover some of these costs?