I am a companion of all who fear you, of those who keep your precepts.
Let’s talk history for a moment: Fabio just completed a week-long intensive in Denver for part of his Covenant History class. He is learning more about our sending denomination and the history behind the values we emphasize as a denomination. The above verse is one of the key verses for the Evangelical Covenant Church – stating that we are friends and companions with all people who follow God. In a world where so many people who call themselves “Christians” are divided about an unending list of topics, the Covenant stands out as being a group of people who tries to major on the majors and minor on the minors. Along with this, Fabio also learned about the Pietist and social gospel roots of the Covenant. In other words, from the beginning (1885), the Covenant was about small groups, asking the question, “Where is it written?” and serving the poor and marginalized “for God’s glory and neighbor’s good.”
As you know, there are almost 700 people on this email list. Over 130 people are praying and giving financially to make Project Japan a reality. “The Covenant church started as a group of people called “Mission Friends” who were actually not a denomination at all, but just a collaboration of groups that wanted to work together to accomplish more than they could by themselves. We sense that more than ever these days as we thank God for your partnership and friendship in this task that is well beyond our abilities as a single family. You, our “Mission Friends” have now brought the total pledged for Project Japan to 84% just last week!! We are smiling about the timing because on Thursday, Johnna went to get the mail, and Fabio’s summons for his final immigration test (to become a U.S. citizen) is scheduled for March 2nd.
| What’s Next?– We are over 80% so could go any time, but we would like Fabio to have his U.S. citizenship before we go, especially since he’s so close. Also, we keep hearing from those who have gone before us that we should get as close to 100% as possible in order to concentrate on language study, cultural adaptation and ministry when we land in Japan.- After Fabio takes his last test (it’s an American history test, so guess history is the theme this month), there will be a Naturalization Ceremony where he will take an Oath of Allegiance and then be allowed to apply for his U.S. passport.
– We need to go to Miami and get our visas to Japan. This is estimated to only take 5 business days.
– Our goal for departure is by the end of April. We are so grateful for God’s provision in the last year and a half and during our season in Florida – family, jobs, prayer support, support-raising.
– Fabio had an exhausting, but incredible trip to Denverwhere he was able to attend a service at Arvada Covenant Church (one of our partner churches – THANK YOU!) and meet with their mission committee. His schedule was full with breakfasts, lunches and dinners with friends and colleagues, in addition to about 7 hours of class per day.
– Johnna started weekly Portuguese classes with a friend of ours and she is enjoying it. Thankfully, she has a teacher who won’t speak English with her during the class, so it’s Johnna’s favorite way to learn.
– Fabio’s studying Japanese daily. When Johnna’s NOT formally studying Portuguese (way too close to Spanish), we sometimes listen to Japanese lessons in Spanish for some intense “brain food”.
– All the major and minor details of the next few months. This is a huge transition (understatement). We pray for Sophia’s health, growth and adaptation to a new culture, language and every day living situation, selling and giving away all our furniture, our two cars, getting out of our lease, giving two weeks notice, discerning what is necessary to bring and what can be left behind.
If you would like to partner with Project Japan financially, click here. Thank you!
Fabio, Johnna & Sophia