Looking at our last post, we see (with much embarrassment) that it has been a number of months since our last blog entry. Life and ministry have been busy, but we should have been able to post something. Our apologies – we hope to do better.
June was filled with moving out of our old church building and putting church things into storage. Akio and Noriko Kawamura, the pastoral couple we work with, also moved out of the old church parsonage and into a rental apartment.
We also began preparing for the arrival of new short-term missionaries, Grant and Miho Buchholtz, who will be working at the Tsurumi Covenant Church in nearby Yokohama. In order to move some donated appliances into the first floor of the church (which will serve as a residence for the Buchholtzes), Gary had to rent a truck. That, along with the church’s and pastors’ moves, meant three truck rentals in three weeks!
While we wait for our new church building to be completed, we have been meeting in a building owned by another church in the city of Fujisawa, which is usually used for retreats. The church’s pastor and board had been concerned about the fact that there has been no church in the northwest corner of our city, so when they heard that was where we were moving, they were more than happy to let us use their retreat house.
The two of us and the Kawamuras continued to meet on a weekly basis with the architect from the construction company. It took a lot of time to finalize all the details on the building! We had a groundbreaking ceremony on July 3rd, and construction began on the 26th. As the summer got hotter and there seemed to be no break in the heat, we prayed as a church for the construction workers to stay safe and protected.
It has been fun for us and the Kawamuras to make regular visits to the construction site, to see the progress being made and also to bring refreshments to the workers. It is the first time this company, and their workers, have built a church building, and they have seemed genuinely excited by this new experience.
A couple of weeks ago we got word that the pace of construction was going faster than planned. We had previously been told that we could expect to move in by the end of November, but now the word was that construction would be finished by October 20th at the latest! We have planned for a first worship service in the new building to take place on October 24th. It’s exciting to think of having our own place once again.
More exciting than that, however, is the prospect of meeting the people in the community where the church is located. Each time we have gone to look at the site, we have had people step out of their homes to check us out. This has given us the opportunity to greet them with a smile and, in good Japanese fashion, ask for their understanding and good will in the future.
So we’re getting ready to move in! Gary will soon make reservations to rent yet another truck. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us in our new neighborhood.