January 2014 - Update

Greetings from Japan!

Winter Blossoms

Dear Family & Friends,
We arrived safely on January 17th and have spent the last couple of weeks getting settled into our apartment, neighborhood, and ministry team.

We live in one of four apartments in a building owned by ReachGlobal, our missions agency.  Right next door lives Lisa Nishimura, and our upstairs neighbors are Rob and Jill Stoddard, all members of the Tokyo team.  We are working together to set up the fourth apartment for the use of short-term teams, visiting missionaries and friends & family members who will be passing through.

"Greeting Cookies"
A few days ago I (Jo Beth) baked cookies for our neighbors to serve as “aisatsu” or greeting gifts, which are traditionally given whenever you move into a new home in Japan.  One neighbor was home and received us kindly—her name is Akiko, and her husbands’ name is Izumi.  They have two beautiful white dogs which remind us of our own Siberian husky we adopted out before leaving Iowa.  The other neighbors weren’t home when we knocked on their door, but we know they are an older couple who are local farmers.  We are looking for the next opportunity to introduce ourselves to them.  Though the aisatsu can feel obligatory, it is the first step in developing relationships with one’s community.  May God give us favor and growing relationships with our neighbors—please join us in prayer for them.

Our neighbor's January cabbage crop!
We are the most recent of our teammates to arrive in Japan, and they have all welcomed us warmly.  Rob and Jill Stoddard are our team leaders from Michigan who have been doing ministry in Japan for a few years now, and hosted us during our short-term trip in 2011.  Shige and Luann Nakazawa are missionaries who relocated to Japan about two years ago—Shige is from Tokyo and Luann is a native Iowan.  They have four children who, to our delight, Luann asked whether we would mind if they call us “Aunt” & “Uncle”!  Lisa Nishimura, arrived three months ago and is also from Iowa.

The whole team at last!: John, Shige, Rob, Jo Beth, Lisa, Luann, Jill
Praise God for such dear teammates!  This team of coworkers has already become like family to us and we look forward to seeing how God will shape our ministry together.  We have delved into exploring the discipline of discernment not only as individuals, but especially as a cohesive team.  Please pray that we will seek His presence in all things and be filled with Christ-like love for one another and those the Lord brings into our lives!

With much love,

John & Jo Beth

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