Sunday, January 12, 2020

2019 catch up and 2020!

2020 is here! 2019 went out with so many events and fun things.

Here’s a quick recap of the last half of 2019 for us here in Okinawa.

In April, Elena started 1st grade at a local elementary school, all in Japanese. It has been a lot of new learning and growing, but she is doing amazing. And God, like always, is so faithful. He provided beyond what we even thought to ask for. We had prayed for a good teacher that would look out for her and have patience for her to catch on to the language and routine.
She got the NICEST teacher, so kind, so loving, she even speaks some English, which helped out in the early days when Elena has a rough day or situation.
She has written in Elena’s report cards and told us at parent meetings, that she sees Elena as a blessing to the class. She always looks out for those around her, is the first to try and answer a question and help out. She wants to learn, wants to be a good example and follow what the teacher is saying.
She invited her whole class to her birthday at the park (we had about 30, including siblings), which could have been crazy but ended up being an awesome fun time and opportunity to meet the families and see the kids play. We’ve made close friends with the mom of one of her classmates, and they even started coming to church! They are really great, and we love them.

It was a big step of faith choosing to put her in school for elementary, but it’s always good to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. Safest place we’ll ever be :)

Eder was officially licensed as a pastor in the fall. It seems like it was a long time coming, but God worked it out in the right way and timing. He has already been doing the work, it was just a big confirmation and acknowledging before the Lord what His Holy Spirit was already doing. We are excited for what God will use us for in the future, right now just working on being faithful in the small and big things we already have.

Onto the college and church!
Both the spring and fall semester were really great, a good bunch of students. Got to see good friends graduate, some planning to return, others staying already to intern.
We also had our first graduation for the CCPC (Calvary Chapel Pastors College). We had 4 graduates, and it was pretty emotional and an honor to see them step into the callings God has for them. We are honored to serve alongside them for the Lord out here. Many of them already have plans they have been praying over to go out and start ministry in different areas.
Eder was blessed to be one of the main teachers for the college, encouraging and equipping these men for the work to come.

I also stepped out in faith and started selling paintings and commissions this past year. I love making paintings for people, especially to encourage them. I had an opportunity to set up a few items at a concerts CD release for our friend, Tim. (Our band Hakugaijin also released a new CD with Jesus Beats this year! You can actually check it out on iTunes and YouTube! How cool is that)
It’s been really fun, and getting to make things affordable for people is always a blessing. I hope God will use it to minister to others, and that it could be a way to help out with our family (haircuts, new shoes, random things that come up).

The holiday season came and went SO fast, but it was so full and fun. We were busy also every weekend and a lot of the weekdays. Christmas events, outreaches, parties, visiting people we haven’t seen in awhile.
I made tamales by myself for the first time this year. BIG accomplishment for me! I was nervous, but they turned out great. It’s a big blessing to be able to make the food we miss and grew up with.

With the start of the new year, it has finally slowed down a little bit. A big group from the church is in  Israel touring with another group from the states. Things always feel a little empty and lonely when they leave, but we still have so many here to love and fellowship with. It’s always okay :)

For this new year, we aren’t sure what it holds. Continuing with things started in the previous year, there are things we are praying about and waiting in the Lord for. As always, we covet your prayers.
please pray for:
-Eder’s residency change (applying for new visa this year)
-Elena will begin 2nd grade (another awesome teacher, protection, continued growth in language)
-Praying about Phil’s schooling (one more year until he is elementary age)
-Trip to the states (we would like to make it back around Christmas time this year)
-Good health for everyone
-Vision did this year, that we would walk closer with Jesus
-Amanda’s Japanese driver’s license (apply/take tests). It’s difficult to get the application accepted and to pass the test.

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