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I had been away from Japan for twenty months since I left on April 2019, and I am so thankful for God’s miraculous ways of opening the doors for me to get back! I had a roller coaster of emotions as I received the good news of my visa on Christmas Eve and then two days later finding out that the Japan borders would close on me again. It was déjà vu as I experienced the disappointment of not being able to go back again, but finding out that I had a slight open door yet that I could go through if I could get a COVID PCR test scheduled for the next morning. What I thought would be impossible, to get a response in time, I got within thirty minutes of sending in my request! This was definitely a GO sign from God, and every little detail that had to be taken care of was done in a speedy manner. I am also thankful to the Ewings, who dropped whatever was on their schedule to drive up to Tokyo (a seven- to eight-hour drive) and stay in a hotel overnight to come and pick me up at the airport and drive me all the way back to my apartment. I left Canada on the last day of 2020 (December 31) and arrived in Japan on New Year’s Day and finally reached my apartment in the wee hours of the morning on January 2 to start two weeks of quarantine. The start to 2021 was definitely an adventurous one!
I am thankful for my health and that the quarantine went smoothly. It was a good time to get myself organized and acclimated to life here again. Due to a high number of cases of COVID-19 here in the Osaka area, restrictions are in place and unfortunately worship services and gatherings are limited, so I continue to meet online. Of course, the benefit of being back is that I am in the same time zone, and it makes it easier to schedule with people here. I am part of a Women’s Commission of the Japan Evangelical Association and was involved in a Zoom event on the topic of human trafficking in Japan. It opened my eyes to the extent and severity of the problem here and that many of the victims are children. I also was able to take part in a conference held by the Asian Evangelical Alliance for women leaders via Zoom January 22–23. It was supposed to be held in Bangladesh but due to the pandemic was changed to online. As a result, what normally would have been about thirty attendees was over 130 women from 15 different nations who came together. It was an amazing experience for me to hear speakers from all over Asia talking about their experiences and expertise on mental health, conflict resolution, and leadership specifically related to the pandemic. It was emotionally moving to pray with so many sisters in Christ from countries like India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Korea, etc.
I am hopeful and excited for what is ahead as I prepare to help the pastors of the Japan Baptist Conference understand my vision for women’s ministry and to also embark on furthering mentoring relationships and working on encouraging and training the women leaders of our conference. Please pray with me as this process unfolds and as God gives me wisdom and direction.
With heartfelt thanks for your faithful support and prayers.
- For Raffaele and Sylvia Gaudio as they prepare and continue to raise prayer and financial support to go to Japan: nabonmission.org/missionaries/raffaele-sylvia-gaudio.
- For good communication with the pastors of the JBC churches regarding the women’s leadership training that I would like to launch and to focus my ministry on for this term.
- For further deepening of relationships with the women that I am currently mentoring and also for an increase in the number of women leaders who would like to be mentored.
- For a pastor to come to the Nagoya Inokoishi Church, and meanwhile prayer for the speakers who will fill pulpit supply. (I will be speaking on February 21.)
- For Shan Reed’s home assignment to be fruitful and for the Ewings as they continue to help the Komyo Church with Pastor Saijo.
- God’s miraculous provision and guidance for me to be back in Japan!
- My two-week quarantine went well and I am healthy.
- Wonderful experience taking part in the Asian Evangelical Alliance conference for women leaders January 22–23, where over 130 women gathered from 15 different countries via Zoom.
- Despite restrictions on in-person gatherings, God is making ways for us to communicate and keep up relationships in other ways.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5–6 (NASB)
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Address in Japan: SHINHINOODAI 2-CHO 2-5-613, MINAMI-KU,SAKAI-SHI, OSAKA-FU, JAPAN 590-0143