2017 - May Update

Dear Partner in the Gospel,

Hello from the Lees! We hope you are well. Is it getting warm where you are? Tokyo becomes very humid at this time of year, and we are bracing ourselves for the arrival of another very hot summer!

We are also enjoying outdoor activities together as a family. Few people in Tokyo have a yard for their children to play in, which means neighborhood parks are widespread, as well as community ‘play rooms’ full of toys for small children. I (Jo Beth) never would have imagined that it would be easy to meet people in a huge city like Tokyo, but these parks and playrooms provide a natural atmosphere to get to know other mothers and children.

I have to admit, at first it was hard for me to explore those play areas because some days I walk away with Brooke from public parks feeling totally bewildered that children aren’t always encouraged to share or play together. This makes for a sharp contrast from the values I grew up with, where children are sometimes even forced to share toys and play nicely together. I have to admit, bitterness often creeps into my heart when I feel these cultural differences that affect us every time we go to play. I even began to have hard feelings toward other parents when they didn't act according to my expectations.

But God knows the weaknesses of my heart, and He is gently changing my attitude toward these fellow mothers! One of the ways He is helping me to love the people in our community is by providing a wonderful Japanese Mama-tomo (“Mama-friend”) we’ll call ‘Susan’, along with her adorable daughter ‘Rosie’. Recently, every week she has invited us to play together, introducing us to new play areas and other mothers in the neighborhood. And the more we spend time together, the more I grow to love and appreciate all of these dear women God is placing in my life. Privately, an English-speaking nursery worker at a nearby playroom told me, “Many women are sweet—but Susan is very, VERY sweet! You found a good friend!” Wow! Yes, God gave me a wonderful friend! Praise Him! He brought Susan into my life to be a great help and encouragement to me personally, but I hope in faith that she is also a part of God’s bigger plan to make Himself known in this neighborhood. May the Lord draw many more young families around us to hear His gospel and glorify Him!
We just wanted to share this snippet of God’s grace in our daily lives, and introduce you to a ‘person of peace’ He has placed in our path. Please pray for Susan and her family to be saved!

John and I also continue with language classes—thank you for lifting up our family during this intense season of study. We are so thankful for all of your steadfast care—financially and prayerfully!

We love to hear from you! Please let us know how we can be praying for you.

John, Jo Beth & Brooke Lee

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