Today was a strange, busy day on many levels. Eric spent the day preparing to go tomorrow – reserved and picked up a rental van (the group we are going with this time – various groups of Christians in the greater Osaka area working together under the leadership of Be One house churches, needed an additional vehicle and driver. See their website here). He filled our van up at Costco, getting much-needed undergarments, socks, cereal, sardines, rice, vegetables and apples.
He has to take all of his own supplies and food for the five days, as well – helmet, boots, shovel, clothes, wipes as there will be no shower for him, masks, etc. Still not quite packed yet at this moment…. It is a 12-14 hour drive up tomorrow. He will have two passengers, and be caravanning with another van, but there is not another driver to switch off with him, so you can pray for this time and God’s safety.
I just read an encouraging report from Jonathan Wilson, the director of CRASH. Some of the team with Eric the first time he was up visited a shelter at a Buddhist temple, being run by the monk and his wife. Here is the update on them:
This morning I was encouraged to hear from missionary friends working with us at CRASH, after they returned from a weekend visiting our bases. At one location they visited for a second time a Zen Buddhist priest who has had 100 evacuees sheltering with his family to drop off supplies. As these Christians have loved on this man and his wife, encouraging them in the midst of their trial, they both expressed a desire to learn more about Christianity! The wife mentioned that she would like to start reading the Bible and the priest went so far as to say that he was interested in becoming a pastor! Pray that as we show not only our doctrine, but our manner of life, our purpose, our faith, longsuffering, love and perseverance, that Japanese would open their hearts to the gospel.
Praying for Eric and his team as they go off tomorrow! I’m hoping to go see them off if possible.
On another front… after prayer-walking around a possible rental home in our neighborhood last night, Eric and I both had a great sense of peace and anticipation about moving forward with the home. Eric called the realtor this morning, and set up another time to go and see the house this afternoon at 4:00, this time with the kids. We had also contacted Asian Access’ business manager and asked him to help us negotiate the rent and contract. Fifteen minutes before leaving to see the home, the realtor called and said someone else had just put in an application and so he can’t show us the home. Honestly, I was floored. Shocked. I really thought- finally- that God was providing that larger rental home! When our business manager called the realtors, he found out that it’s a rich man who doesn’t care about the price of rent but is concerned about the way the home faces (many Japanese want the living room to face south, etc.). He wants to have until Sunday to decide.
We didn’t realize – even after the different rentals that we’ve dealt with – that you can put in an application just to “hold” a home. We weren’t holding this because we were still negotiating the rent with the owner. We asked God to close the door if this home isn’t right, but I still feel really disappointed and sad. And trying to prepare for Eric leaving again… this time the kids seem to really get that Daddy is going (I keep telling them its only five days!), but we are all trying to be good sports. A friend shared this verse today that really touched me:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 15:13
Real hope – coming from God. Key is trusting – abiding – in him. Praying for a good week for Eric and me both to be abiding while we are apart.