Articles in Updates

The Cabin – The start of our (video) podcast!

Growing up in an age saturated by media, we have found that it’s an excellent way to reach our generation. Therefore, we have begun our video podcast from Japan with a rather lackluster video touring our cabin. It’s not very spiritual, but it’s a start for us. Language school doesn’t have much exciting to film. Maybe if we get enough response, we could film a little of the school itself.
We hope to put out about one video per month to keep everyone back in the states connected and informed. For now, feel free to reuse any of our footage however you see fit. We may in the future gear our podcast toward church presentation, depending on the response we get. Let us know what you think!

Link to the podcast page.
Link to download/subscribe via iTunes.

Karuizawa

• The quiet atmosphere and seclusiveness makes it a conducive study environment, which is why the TEAM’s language school has been here for so long (I think).
• The town has pictures of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in many stores because her family is from here, and they often visited together.
• Karuizawa is found in Nagano prefecture, which you may remember, hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. Karuizawa hosted curling, and according to Wikipedia, also hosted equestrian events in the 1964 Summer Olympics. Making it the only city in the world having hosted both Summer and Winter Olympic events.
• At night, we have to be cautious, however, because being in the mountains we are near bears, boars, and monkeys. A few weeks ago, our neighbors up the road had a boar tear up their yard during the night. In addition, our teacher mentioned today that she had seen monkeys many times, and they will come in and steal your food! You can check out this site to see where the latest sighting of bears and monkeys have been.
• If bears and boars aren’t enough to worry about, we also have an active volcano! Mt. Asama is not far from here. Thankfully it erupted in 2004 and shouldn’t be do for a checkup for another 4-5 years.
More pictures around the city here.
Update: Here’s a map I made of some things in the area.

December Prayer Letter

Our December Prayer Letter is available. Just click the picture above for the PDF, or you can get the JPG version: P1P2

A Wintery Welcome

We arrived safely in Karuizawa yesterday after our first ride on the Shinkansen (bullet train). The first thing we noticed was the temperature. Karuizawa is cold! We quickly found our ride–Steven and Kye Taylor from training (check out their latest post for more pics)–and made our way to the cabin where we will make home for the next few weeks. As we toured the town, it began to rain-which turned to sleet-which turned to snow. So our welcome turned out like the picture above.
We seem to be getting well over jet-lag and have begun to settle into our cabin a little. We constantly feel welcomed wherever we go by other missionaries, which helps keep our spirits high. We deeply appreciate your prayers as we now focus on learning the language. We’ll send a big update soon…

Getting There is the Hardest Part

I don’t think it is going too far to say that it was an adventure getting to Japan. Traveling always has its surprises. First, we missed our flight. We arrived at the airport at almost 5:30 in the morning (Charlottesville, Va). Only problem was, the plane left at 6am. We thought that since it was a pretty small airport, it might not take that long anyway. We got through security and everything pretty quickly actually, but after our carry on got pulled to be checked a second time for whatever reason, we were just too late. The gate had closed, and we missed the flight.
So we went back up to the counter to book a flight for the next day. It all worked out though. We were a little upset at first, but we know there must have been a reason. The funny thing is, the next morning, when were getting ready to get ready to board the plane, we saw our good friend from Waynesboro. He was getting ready to fly to Wyoming for a job interview. So we got to say goodbye to him since we hadn’t seen him for about a year.
Once we got on the plane to Detroit, we didn’t really have any more issues. The flight was pretty good; we had enough entertainment, and our seats were pretty good. We didn’t sleep too much, and towards the end my stomach felt uneasy, but this happens every time I go without sleep. Once we arrived in Tokyo, the luggage situation got really interesting. We had 12 pieces of luggage total, 4 of which were large rubbermaid containers, and 4 were overweight. We had to use 4 of the carts that they have at airports to put all our luggage on. So, if you can picture two jet-lagged foreigners with a TON of luggage trying to push 4 carts, you can get an idea of what we looked like to the Japanese. Probably really funny, but we were too tired to care.
We waited for about ten minutes and found the person who was picking us up whom then directed us to the shipping area because there was no way that we were going to fit all our luggage in his car. Plus, we need to travel by train to go to Karuizawa for language school in a couple days and trains don’t allow you to have more than a couple pieces of luggage. So we shipped everything we thought we wouldn’t need to language school and the rest we shipped to Takamatsu. Once we got to TEAM headquarters, we realized that we shipped our clothes to Karuizawa. So yes, we have been wearing the same clothes for a few days now. Matt, more than I because I found some in my carry on, but I guess we moved his somewhere else when trying to make less weight. We will do laundry a little later.
It is really nice here at headquarters. Everyone is friendly and welcoming. So far, so good! We are adjusting well. It is 4:30PM Japan time here (2:30AM EST) and we don’t feel too tired yet. I think we got about 9 hours of sleep last night so that helped a lot. Tomorrow we will go on a tour of Tokyo, so more pics to come! Check out some of our pics so far here.

By the way, Mom and Sandy-I found my little bag of liquids and stuff. I guess the airport never took it! I was glad because we also shipped all our shower stuff on to Karuizawa. So this was our only shower stuff. Showers are nice.

Visas Retrieved

Friday was a happy day for us, because we finally retrieved our visas after weeks of waiting, and 2 trips to DC (about 3 hours from the house). Thank you all for praying. We really cut it close to the flight, but God took care of the details.
We’re still on for the flight on Tuesday. I will be updating the site a little to help those interested follow us. We’ll be at CFC in Waynesboro tomorrow. Hope to see you there.

Visa Details

Getting a visa is a long and complicated process for any country. For Japan, it has meant that we:

1. Get an application sent from Japan
2. Fill that out and return to Japan
3. Then get approval from the Japanese government (just received last week)
4. Now we must take the certificate from Japan and another application to D.C. to get stamped into our visa.

Unfortunately, step 4 requires that our passports be held over one or two nights. With Tuesday being a holiday, we cannot take our application to D.C. until Wednesday this week. Please pray with us that everything will be approved this week and that we can withstand the driving and waiting necessary.

Scaremare!

This weekend, Matt’s room-mate from Liberty came down to visit. So, we went to visit scaremare. Scaremare is an evangelism event that Liberty puts on every year. Basically, they try to scare attendees into thinking about heaven and hell and what happens when we die. You can see more on the website, scaremare.com (which Matt did a lot of work on).
We took a big leap of faith today, as Matt turned in his two-weeks notice at Liberty. We have found renters for the house who will move in in two weeks. At that point, we hope to have our visas and will finish out our time in the US with family in Waynesboro. We’ll keep you posted on any more updates.
In Japan news, we found out this weekend that one of the ladies Barbara met on her recent trip back to Japan, has been coming to church and made a commitment to accept Jesus as her Saviour! It was truly a divine meeting and all in Takamatsu are celebrating with her.

More pictures of scaremare

Weekend Update

So, we’ve had a somewhat uneventful week, aside from the fact that on Friday we received word that Suburban Christian Church is going to support us, Christina got pulled over for the first time and did not receive a ticket (Praise the Lord!), and we also got the green light to go to Language school in Japan for the month of November. Oh! And last week we found out that when Christina left Liberty, our insurance company erased our deductible payments, and on Tuesday

Enjoying Fall

I will come out and say it – I don’t like Fall. I don’t like it because it reminds me that Winter is coming and Winter is cold! So, although for many, Christina included, it’s their favorite time of the year for me it’s just OK. So this weekend, we made the best of it and went to a “Corn Maize”/Fake Pumpkin Patch/Farm with a few friends and really enjoyed ourselves. Afterwards, we carved pumpkins together perhaps for the last time.
We met today with a pastor in preparation for our departure who warned us to gather together a team of prayer warriors or a “prayer shield” in order to guard ourselves from the enemy. We would like to ask you (yes you!) if you would consider this partnership. Japan, as he reminded us, has NEVER been a spiritual stronghold for the Lord. It has ALWAYS been a stronghold for the enemy. We are heading into the enemy’s camp and we need you to “cover our backs” in prayer. If you want to commit to praying for us daily, please let us know via email. Thank you for your prayers. Still waiting on visas…

More pics from the weekend are here.