Whatever you do – please do NOT finish all your Christmas shopping yet! The website is JUST ABOUT almost ready – just a day or two more we hope. Stay tuned. (You can preview the gift sets that we are offering: www.nozomiproject.com
There have been some challenging things the past week or so, but some really amazing things.
Last weekend we had our first official Nozomi Project business trip! Well, sort of. I needed to return to Sanda, where we had lived for eight years before moving here in March, to get some of our winter things out of our storage unit down there (just a few more months till our big move!). So with some tremendous help from our Sanda Chapel friends, we had our third annual Christmas Ladies tea, but this time it featured the NP. I took our NP manager, Yuko, with me, as well as our two oldest kids. They had a blast seeing many of their special friends and not sleeping very much. I had an amazing time also seeing many special friends and not sleeping very much. Yuko made many new friends and didn’t sleep very much. It was a wonderful weekend.
At the Christmas tea, we shared about the NP, showing slides and the short video clip. We took prepared “shards”, and each attendee picked out their favorite and Yuko taught them how to make one of our necklace lines – called the Saya. Everyone loved this part! Yuko was really amazing.
On the Tuesday after our return, Yuko and I were sharing with our NP staff about the trip.
I shared 2 Cor 12:9,10 with the women — how God’s grace is made perfect in our weakness. Our friends in Sanda find it rather amusing – even amazing – that this jewelry business is actually happening. They know that I have never made jewelry before. They absolutely know that I am not a business/finance person. Yet look what GOD has done. That is such the key – how God can work through our weakness to do his wonderful work. My friend is reading a book that describes this concept so well: God + nothing = everything.
After I shared this, Yuko was sharing how God had taught her the same thing that weekend. When she came back, she shared with her son that she wants to not always have to be strong or perfect for him; she wants to apologize more. And she shared with the staff that she wants us all to be able to be weak when we need to be. I was so touched. We ended the meeting with her praying for all of us to be able to be weak together. I had to pinch myself to remember that I was in Japan!
An hour or two later, she and I were meeting with another member to discuss a challenging situation we were dealing with. At one point I expressed my frustration at the situation and Yuko very gently said, “This morning I was reading my new Bible (our friends the Yamanes in Sanda had just given it to her! her first one!!) , and I read Romans 12. Verse fifteen has been going through my head all day…” Wow. No way. God’s Word is so powerful! God is at work in an amazing way. In each of our hearts.