Becoming a Reality

Thanks to over 600 people and over 20 churches, we have hit the 70% pledge mark of a two-year budget.  THANK YOU!!!!

So, what does this mean?  First of all, it is exciting, amazing, a miracle, a huge accomplishment, a wonderful God-sized feat and…  it’s a little scary!  Japan is becoming more of a reality.  Let’s recap.  My husband and I and our 1.5 year old daughter are going to move to somewhere near Tokyo, Japan (within an hour or so of the city) probably in the next 2-6 months.  The part of my heart that protects itself from getting too hyped up about something that may never happen is relaxing now.

So, what stands in the way of us leaving tomorrow?

1) We need to be at 80% pledged (of a 2-year budget that includes flights to and from Japan, insurance, a monthly stipend, all living expenses and a 10% admin fee) before we are allowed to buy our tickets.

2) Fabio is in the final step of becoming a U.S. citizen.  He has already had his fingerprints taken (again – think it was the third time in this 3-year process).  Now, he is just waiting for the letter to arrive in the mail telling him when to appear for an interview.  (Interview will consist of 10 questions from a list of 100 questions about U.S. history and politics and he needs to get 6 of them right to pass.)

3) Once we get the okay to purchase our flights, we can go to Miami to apply for our visas to Japan.  They say they take 4-5 business days to receive.

4) Giving 2 weeks notice at job.  Won’t write too much about this here, but this is part of the process.

5) Getting out of our rental contract.  Right now, we have an agreement that we will give 2 months notice.  If things somehow happen faster than that, we’ll try to find someone who would want to live here and maybe the owners will give us a deal on our terms of lease.

6) Sell, give away, store, pack up EVERYTHING we own.  This seems like a mammoth task, but very excited to downsize – my favorite part about moving.

What will we do when we get there?

If we get there by mid-February, we may be able to participate in the all-Asia retreat. If not, we’ll likely dive straight into language study.  After that, we’ll want to settle in to a home/apartment and begin to discern which ministries are priority in the early days.  Lately we’ve been dreaming about having small groups in our home, teaching language classes in a coffee shop atmosphere, meeting local Japanese, Brazilian,  Latino and other international neighbors.  

Questions and prayers I have in my heart: 

What will the transition be like for Sophia?  Will she be scared, lonely, confused, agitated to be in a new culture hearing a new language and adapting to new sights, sounds and smells?

What will the transition be like for Fabio and I as a couple?  After almost 3 years of working daytime jobs with my mom taking care of Sophia, we have somewhat of a routine.  What will it be like to make our own schedule?  What will it look like to share the tasks of ministry and the home in a completely different way?

What will it be like for Fabio?  He visited Japan in October, but he has never lived there.  Will he adapt easily?  Will he like the food and the culture?  I know he loves the people!  Will he find his niche in Japan as a Brazilian/Spanish/American man married to an American woman?

What will it be like for me?  Have I lost a realistic memory of Japan?  Have I romanticized the experience I had in my early twenties?  Or will I be able to appreciate the people and culture in ways I couldn’t when I was younger because now I have more experience and I’ve lived other places?  What will it be like to be actively pursuing relationships with Brazilians and Latinos and other internationals when my last experience was more focused on only Japanese people and helping out missionaries?  Will my basic level of Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese be enough of a foundation for me to make it to the next level in communication or will I get stuck?

All of the unknowns…  all of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.  What an amazing moment to be praying, thinking, dreaming of all that might/could be.  Grateful that I don’t have to have all the answers.  Grateful that God has gone before us to prepare the way – the friendships, the relationships, the neighbors, the childcare for Sophia, the personal details that become so evident when one chooses to surrender everything and trust the One who understands what it’s like to cross cultures.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.

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