It has been a busy few weeks- not a lot of internet access nor time in the U.S. to post! Hurricane Irene made our last few days interesting, bringing down a huge tree in our family’s yard that completely blocked the street out front. It happened just as I was sharing with a group of friends at a BBQ about our recent experiences in Japan- ended the BBQ pretty quickly as everyone realized that Irene was pretty serious and made their way back home.
It was nice to enjoy the next day at home (churches were cancelled) with Allison, Anthony, their family and my Dad, and prepare for our return back to Japan. On Monday my sister Beth drove us up to JFK, (thanks to the Chus for coming to meet us there for a wonderful hour visit!) we made the 14 hour plane trip, stayed over at a hotel in Tokyo, and took an early morning flight down to Osaka. How wonderful it was to see Eric, Annie, and Live again! Reunions are among my favorite thing in the world.
I love the little ways that God encourages us when we need it. On the way to Japan, we also had to stay overnight at a small hotel in Tokyo and checked out the next morning at 4 am for the morning flight to JFK. From the airport we took a shuttle to the hotel, and as we were getting on we noticed the bus much louder than usual for Japan. It was filled with Americans, and their quite expansive surfboards! They helped us load our luggage and as we talked going to the hotel we found out that they were a Christian surfing group on a mission trip to share with surfers. They gave Owen a cool surfer CD and encouraged us greatly.
On the return trip out of JFK, the airport was full of travelers whose flights had been cancelled the two previous days thanks to Irene. The line to check in seemed to stretch for miles! An airline agent noticed I was travelling with two young ones and directed me to the “special line” – for those with special needs. Owen especially was amazed – “why did she do that?” He right away stopped and said a sweet prayer to thank God for that gracious gift. And as we waited in the special line, a young woman from Australia came and stood behind us. We began talking – and she is headed (eventually) to China to do a mission trip. We had a wonderful talk — both of us tired and needing to be encouraged — and then before parting we prayed together. I love how God does these things!
The day after our return was the first day back to school for Owen and Annie. Neither were excited about it, but I didn’t realize how much Annie did not want to go back. When I tried to wake her up, I had little success. The more I tried — cajoled, pleaded, order her out of bed! – the less successful I was. Time was getting short. Then Eric came into her room, and got down on her futon bed, and just wrapped her in his strong arms. He didn’t say anything. He just held her while she cried softly. For about five minutes. And then she was ok. Just like that. She stood up, ate a granola bar, and did the rest of the tasks to get ready for school. Those five minutes in her father’s arms were just what she needed to be on her way. She did great at school, coming home with a smile on her face.
I found myself humming all day the wonderful worship song, “Ohh, how He loves us so…. oh how he loves us…” I love how He can show us His love in so many ways.