2018 June/July Update

Dear Beloved in Christ and Partner in the Gospel,

Hello from the Lees!  Wow, the summer is passing quickly.  We are taking each day as it comes, surviving the blistering Tokyo heat.  Recently, a nearby district was up to 106 degrees! Lately we’ve especially taken advantage of any swimming opportunities and play rooms that offer splash-pool activities for children.  We hope you are well and have ways to stay cool where you live!  

Trying to Stay Cool!

Since our arrival to Tokyo in 2014, our teammates have been an essential part of our daily lives and ability to thrive on the mission field.  We’ve been spurred on and lifted up by each teammate in unique ways, but in particular our team leaders Rob and Jill Stoddard shepherded us with great care all along the way.  During our first two years, they lived just upstairs from us—they were always ready to hear about our good days and hard days, ready to listen to our struggles and pray for us without fear of judgement, and always ready with bowls of ice cream sundaes and movie nights to combat homesickness.  Rob and Jill were even here in Japan with us to first us through the first months of parenthood after Brooke was born! 

So as we recall these memories, it’s with sadness that we share with you the news of the Stoddard’s resignation from ReachGlobal, effective the end of August.  Though we know this transition is God’s will, for our human hearts it is a difficult change.  We are so grateful for the care we’ve received from them!  

Last Visits with "Mr. Rob"

The Stoddard’s absence from our team leaves many gaps.  For the time being, our team will be overseen by Carl Lahr (a ReachGlobal Asia Division leader), while Shige Nakazawa and John co-lead our team from the ground in different areas.  John will primarily be filling the role of team-care, especially welcoming new teammates to the field and helping them get adjusted to life in Japan. As we have been poured into, both by the Stoddards and other teammates, we have a great desire to pour into others in ways that God has uniquely gifted us!  This is a special opportunity to pass on the care we’ve received, and we are excited to see God’s work in and through the lives of new staff. 

We so deeply appreciate all the ways you lift us up in life and ministry and ask for your prayers for our team in this time of transition.  We know it may not be a smooth or easy path, but trust that God has a plan for our lives and the livelihood of our team.  Thank you for being a part of this journey for God’s glory in Japan and throughout the world!    

~John, Jo Beth & Brooke

Recent Events & Prayer

Small-church  Thank you for your prayers over this new group that continues to meet in our home!  We continue to grow spiritually as a community, and this month welcomed a new member—a young woman named Risako, who is interested in reading the Bible and learning about Christ.  Please pray that her heart will be convicted of truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Outreach Dinner 
Thank you for your prayers over the one we had in June!  It went well and provided an opportunity to welcome many students into our home.  Actually, Risako was one of those students!  We also recently had another ‘Outreach Dinner’ of sorts, taking several students to a local festival and going out for dinner together.  Please pray for continued fruit from these times.

Jo Beth and baby are both healthy and have no complications.  Praise the Lord for that!  However, Jo Beth is very tired and often exhausted in the extreme summer temperatures. Please pray for a good last few weeks of pregnancy and safe delivery (due September 1st).

We are technically ‘finished’ with our language learning commitment!  Praise the Lord for getting us through this season of intense learning and for all the growth we’ve experienced.  At the same time, we have a heart to be life-long language learners.  John plans to enroll for at least one class a week after this summer break ends, and Jo Beth may eventually continue through casual classes at a local community center. We both still have a long way to go! Please pray for the will and humility to continue learning Japanese, even when it’s no longer our main focus. 

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