Our first week of Advent

Eric has been up in Sendai and Ishinomaki since Monday – I have not had a chance to update our blog but he’s had some really great meetings and encounters.  The first two days he represented our mission at a JEMA consultation of organizations/groups who are doing relief work in Tohoku, for the purpose of better collaboration and efficiency.  Even though Eric doesn’t like meetings too too much (say with me — understatement!)… he really enjoyed the chance to share, listen,  and strategize with others with a similar heart.

He went on Tuesday afternoon up to Ishinomaki, where he is staying until Tuesday night.  On Thursday, he and Chad took part in a similar meeting specifically for those working in the same areas in that city.  This, too, was a great chance to hear what others are doing and seek to find common vision and hope.

Yesterday Eric, Chad and a few others continued work that was started for Mr. A.  His mechanic’s garage was completely washed away in the tsunami.  Last week he went back for the first time since March 11 to his home that had been filled with tsunami soot because Be One volunteers were able to help.   Last Saturday, the Huddlestons had this family over for dinner.

Chad wrote on Facebook after the meal:  “Today was a Kingdom encounter day for the A-family, who lost their mom/wife in the tsunami, but have still not been able to find her body. We cleaned their home and business- it had not been touched since 3/11. Over dinner later they kept saying how much this day and meant to them and how different Christians are from those they have met before….”

Eric said it was such  blessing to continue ministering to this family!  He had a chance yesterday to visit a family he has befriended in one of the temporary housing locations and take them a heater and a heated rug.  It is below freezing up there, and so there are many needs to help those in quickly-made housing situations to stay warm.  I’m so thankful that we can be part of helping, even in small ways.

Our friend Mike Wilson (Asian Access) has been spending the day up with Eric and Be One.  Tonight he is driving to Sendai airport to pick up our friend George/Yoji, who is going up from Sanda for three days to help out.  George blessed Be One so much by donating enough wood flooring to redo all of the downstairs of the Be One home, with some left over.  I know George’s heart will bless the people up there over the next three days!

Over the next three days two different teams from Hawaii will be coming to volunteer.  Our Hawaii friends continue to bless Be One and us by their hearts to come and help out!  Eric will return back on Tuesday night.

On the home front, it has been a good, hard, busy, fun week with the kids.  We’ve missed having Eric here as we begin Advent celebrations, but it’s also given us a chance to have some special times together.  One important tradition that we picked up again this week was our Advent house (photo here from a previous year).  What amazes me again and again is how God uses Scripture even in the hearts of children to meet and touch them.  I put an individualized bible verse behind one of the doors each morning – and a treat… and then I read the verse with each of them and we pray.  There is great power in the Word of God!  One of our children was convicted of telling a lie this morning after reading a verse about sin.  Yesterday, I was touched by the prayer of Owen after talking about  his verse and the promise of salvation and eternal life:  “Jesus, thank you that Mommy’s mom, and Daddy’s dad, already have eternal life in heaven….Help me to live a life that is protected by you…”

Here are a few photo highlights from this week:

1)  Annie lost another tooth – now all she wants for Christmas is her FOUR front teeth:

2) Eric had a chance to put up our lights and our white light reindeer outside before he left.  The other night we drove home and Ian walked up the outside steps, sat down, and sighed, looking at the reindeer, saying, “OOHH, they are SO beautiful!”

3)  Annie and Olivia learned how to blow bubbles with gum this week.  OH- such joy in our household now!

Thankful for this first week of Advent.


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