Our lives since moving seven months ago up to Ishinomaki have been full and fruitful. But there are also a lot more factors that can make our days more challenging than the challenges we have had in the past – and these can accumulate. This past weekend I had some pretty discouraging moments. On Sunday morning, with the kids buckled into the back seats, I drove to our new home’s ground-breaking with tears flowing. It was one of those mornings/days/weekends where everything just felt hard (can you relate??).
We arrived at the property that Asian Access has purchased and it was fun to see a tent, tarp, and tables being set up. And then to see the ground already being broken! It was the first day of work on the property. We’ve been very thankful for Phil and Jordan Foxwell and their hard work to make the impossible happen (Jordan is in second photo below, second from right). We don’t expect to be able to move in until January/February sometime, so we are making plans for me to go down and get some of our winter things out of storage to hold us over until then.
Two of the young people were looking through the clover patches, and they actually found a four-leaf one on our property!
Three of the Nozomi women were able to come, and that meant the world to me.
On the left and far right is Tomoko and her mom Reiko. Reiko’s daughter-in-law was killed in the tsunami, trying to make it home to her husband and her three year old. Now Reiko is essentially raising Yuga. I love this little boy. It was so fun to have him part of our event as well! We are excited to move into our home and live close to them and many of these families.
(In the photo above, our home will be in the center and back area of the green). About thirty of us gathered, and we opened by joining hands in a big circle and inviting God’s presence. The Japanese almost always have a Shinto priest leading in ground-breaking ceremonies. They usually wear a tall white symbolic hat. We didn’t have special hats or priests, but we had God, and I was greatly encouraged by the Scripture, prayers, and words of hope that were offered during this time.
Chad shared a promise he felt from God about our home, that it will be as it is written in Malachi 4:6: “And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their parents…” His sense is that our home will be a place for family reconciliation to happen. Oh, let this be, God!
At the end of the formal time, I requested that we all take a picture in the living room! Mr. Tsuchiya (above in the white behind Eric), corrected me and said that we were taking the photo in what will be HIS room. We laughed. (I hope he comes over a lot; in fact, we are standing about where the guest room will be).
We had cookies, coffee, and pumpkin pie – and we were so happy to see our next door neighbors pull up as we were eating. I went over and remembered right away why I love them so much- they are so kind and warm, and thrilled that we will be moving in. Look at his eyes smiling after he scooped up Ian. They came and joined us for cookies and pie.
And before the morning ended, I did not want to waste a perfect opportunity. Mr. Tsuchiya was enjoying pie, and I asked him if his whipped cream smelled bad. He thought his tasted ok, but I had him smell mine.
I guess he may not want to stay in our guest room too much after that! He was a great sport.
I left encouraged. We may not have a home yet, but God has built a wonderful community to help carry us.