Vanning Japan Update

Planting Passionate Churches in Each of the Eight Regions of Japan

Highlights and Answered Prayer

Nozomi’s grandfather passed away in the beginning weeks of October. We believe God gave him the gift of salvation before he passed. One sign of this is that he asked for a Christian funeral service. Pray for Nozomi’s extended family, we love them and we pray that they may have the hope and joy that only a relationship with their Creator can bring.

It’s only been two months but so much has happened I don’t think I can share it all in a short update email. But I’ll try to be short and cover the highlights. Thank you so much for your prayers. God directly answered multiple requests from our last update.

First off, we went to the immigration office and received my new resident card without any “scares.” It only took about 15 minutes. We are happy God answered our and your prayers for another year of serving Him here in Japan.

Nozomi miraculously passed her second attempt at the driving test. It’s a long story, but essentially the tester had marked numerous mistakes all over the map as she drove the course. He sat there afterward for an uncomfortable amount of time making “thinking” noises. Then he turned to Nozomi and said, “I guess I’ll pass you since you tried really hard.” God is good. We both now have our Japanese DL’s! Thank you for all your prayers in this matter.

Thank you for praying for my Japanese studies. I’m still steadily moving along in learning Japanese. Please pray for me as I’m getting into a little more complex Japanese and it’s taking much more time just to retain the vocabulary and grammar concepts. Pray for Nozomi and the kids as, of course, this affects the amount of time I have to spend with them. I can definitely see how Japanese language study would be seriously affected by being in full-time ministry.

A few prayer requests:
All of us, except Nozomi, are suffering from Whooping Cough right now. It’s no longer in the contagious stage, but I’ve read that this nasty cough continues for about 3 to 4 months. We are only about halfway through at the 2-month mark. We’re all struggling to sleep at night with the coughing spells that just suddenly come. For the kids, this usually results in throwing up. For me, it just means I’m falling asleep in Japanese lessons (which is really embarrassing since I take private lessons).

Keep praying for the kids. Their greatest need is for God to use the Gospel in their hearts. They need a relationship with God. I can see God working a tenderness to spiritual things in their lives.

We need to find a doctor who does Optometric Vision Therapy for Kensei. From our research, we are convinced surgery will not be a viable permanent fix for him and OVT is the best option for Kensei future. If we cannot find such a doctor here one of us might fly to the States for a week for special training to do the therapy at home. Of course, flying to the States is the most expensive option and we hope we can find an Optometrist here.

We will be visiting a few churches in the next couple weeks. One, in particular, may result in some Gospel-centered partners in church-planting here.

We are still praying for Gospel-centered Christian friends and fellowship. That being said, we have multiple non-Christian Japanese who have invited us to dinner or just to hang out. Pray we can be good friends and let them know of the hope that is in us, because of God’s mercy and love.

Pray for us as we pray about where God would have us begin planting a church. We are still praying about possibly planting an international church here in the West Makuhari area. Pray for God to give us wisdom as we seek His guidance for the next steps to take once my full-time Japanese language studies are finished.

Here’s a link to our video about the need in Japan. You can become a Gospel partner with us; just click here and sign up with a monthly pledge. If you would like to increase your monthly pledge amount, the easiest way is to call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can adjust your pledge amount over the phone. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

For those of you praying for my Japanese studies, this is a picture of the board after one of my recent lessons. I’m so thankful for patient and kind teachers.

T and I had the chance to go to the local professional baseball game with a Japanese family. We cheered for the local Chiba Marines, got wet from a typhoon, and became friends with the Obuchis. Pray we can be good friends and lovingly share the hope of the Gospel with Mr. Obuchi.

One Year in Japan

God provided a cheap vacation rental in Yugawara (only about 2 hours driving from us), a place with beautiful mountains and beaches that display His glory. It was a refreshing time together as a family.

I waited until now to write this update because now we have been in Japan for one year. We’ve had a wonderful year of blessing here in Japan. It’s such a blessing being a Christian in general. God has welcomed us into fellowship with Him even though there is nothing in us deserving such kindness. Even in the difficult times, which we’ve already been facing here, we know God is using those times to build our faith and to draw us into deeper love and appreciation for Him.

We have a number of praises in which our God has worked incredibly, just in the last few weeks. I’d like to share two. First, Nozomi and I both failed the ridiculously nitpicky driving test to get our Japanese licenses. Our international driving permits are no longer usable in Japan after one year of living here. So that means we can no longer drive in Japan until we pass the test. How is this a praise? Well, the evening we failed the test I asked for prayer on Facebook. A fellow missionary mentioned if we had an old expired Japanese driving license we might be able to use it to get a new license without a test. Nozomi never drove in Japan, but I did about 15 years ago. We searched through the house and found my old license. Then we went to the DMV with lots of prayers and the slight hope that somehow at least I might be able to continue driving. To make a long story short, after about 4 hours waiting, I was able to use my old, 12-years-expired license to get a new one! Please pray for Nozomi as she still needs to pass her retest on October 22nd. If she doesn’t pass this second attempt it will cost us thousands of dollars for her to get licensed.

Second, I also had to renew my visa to stay here. To make another long story short, I was accused of lying on my application to extend my visa because I misunderstood a question. The worker publicly yelled at me and said I should be deported. We, of course, were very worried about this the last few days. However, apparently, the worker still turned in my application, because we just received a notice to come to pick up my renewed visa. God is good! Please pray we have no more “scares” when we go to pick up my new resident card. 

Please continue to pray for my Japanese studies. I thought I knew so much Japanese until I started taking classes. Now I see how much I do not know! Despite that, God is helping me learn Japanese. My goal for the end of this year is to memorize the meanings of each of the 2100 common Japanese kanji (word symbols). I believe this will greatly help me with my vocabulary retention. Continue to pray for me as I work toward the ultimate goal of preparing and preaching sermons in Japanese. (Not writing in English and then translating it into Japanese, but actually writing the whole sermon in Japanese and then speaking in Japanese.)

Keep praying for the kids. Their greatest need is for God to use the Gospel in their hearts. They need a relationship with God. I can see God working a tenderness to spiritual things in their lives. However, I also can see moralistic/legalistic attitudes in their hearts as they constantly and gracelessly try to get each other in trouble by exposing each other’s mistakes and sins.

Kensei and I both had to get new glasses. We are taking Kensei to a larger eye hospital in a week. The doctors here still seem to think the only option for him is surgery. However, our doctor in the US did not believe surgery would help his particular case. I’ve heard of exercises (that were developed in Japan) that can be done to help Kensei control his eyes, but so far have not been able to find a doctor here who knows about this. Pray that we can find a good second opinion who knows of this particular training technique.

We are still praying for Gospel-centered Christian friends and fellowship. Every Christian needs a Christian community who loves and encourages, prays and cares for one another. It is so important for any Christian to effectively grow and mature in their faith. Pray for us as we pray about where God would have us begin planting a church. We are still praying about possibly planting an international church here in the West Makuhari area. Pray for God to give us wisdom as we seek His guidance for next steps to take once my full-time Japanese language studies are finished.

Please pray the Christians here will understand the importance of the Gospel, which brings unity and power in living our everyday lives and the importance of the church as a community (not a building or meeting) of believers who are working together with the various gifts God has given each person to make Jesus famous. This is so very important.

Here’s a link to our video about the need in Japan and here’s a link to our website. You can become a support partner on our website by clicking on the “support” button (or just click hereand signing up with a monthly pledge. If you would like to increase your monthly pledge amount, the easiest way is to call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can adjust your pledge amount over the phone. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

In Japan, all the kids wear these leather backpacks called, “randoseru.” They’re expensive, but they are supposed to last all 6 years of elementary. This bag is a gift from Nozomi’s parents.

Everywhere you go in Japan you will see little shrines and worship spots where people make offerings to spirits of rocks or trees or statues. But the God we worship didn’t just make the rocks and trees, He made the spirits too. There is no god beside Him.

Vision and Reflection

The city of Tokyo is massive, the largest metropolitan area in the history of the world. So many millions who have never heard the good news of the Gospel. Pray for us as we reach Japan with the Gospel. With God all things are possible.

Thank you for your prayers for my speaking opportunities. I spoke for the first time in Japanese this past week, giving my testimony twice and giving a 10 minute devotional. I also unexpectedly taught a class about heaven for 50 minutes in Japanese without notes! All these opportunities went very well. God is good. He hears your prayers.

Pray for me as I continue in my Japanese studies. God is helping me learn Japanese. Pray for me as my next step will be to prepare a sermon in Japanese.

Keep praying for the kids. Their greatest need is for God to use the Gospel in their hearts. They need a relationship with God.

Kensei hasn’t had any progress with his eyes since the last visit. We ordered his new glasses. The doctors seem to think the only option for him is surgery. We need to find out the success rate of this surgery. I do not think his particular case can be fixed by surgery.

We are still praying for Gospel-centered Christian friends and fellowship. We miss our community of believing friends in the US. It was such a blessing to have two families from our LifeGroup come to visit us for about two weeks. I have come to believe that being part of a community who loves and encourages, prays and cares for one another is so important for any Christian to effectively grow and mature in their faith.

We are still praying about possibly planting an international church here in the West Makuhari area. Pray for God to give us wisdom as we seek His guidance for next steps to take once my full-time Japanese language studies are finished.

Please pray the Christians here will understand the importance of the Gospel, which brings unity and power in living our everyday lives.

Here’s a link to our video about the need in Japan and here’s a link to our website. You can become a support partner on our website by clicking on the “support” button (or just click hereand signing up with a monthly pledge. If you would like to increase your monthly pledge amount, the easiest way is to call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can adjust your pledge amount over the phone. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

It was a heatwave here, but we still braved the heat with our friends and explored some sights in Tokyo.

It’s been a huge blessing having Maki back from college in the States. The kids love her so much, I know they will be sad when she leaves for her final year of school. We love her for who she is and who God is making her into. She is a selfless servant and we’ll all miss her help and her encouragement.

 

 

 

Gospel Opportunity

For our anniversary, originally we planned to eat at Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar because, chocolate. But when we arrived the line was way too long so we walked around and found this Hawaiian Burger shop, Kua ‘Aina. Delicious.

Thank you for your prayers for Miss Martha Cochran’s funeral. It was a blessing to be a part in the rejoicing of her home-going. It was my first Japanese funeral bone ceremony, a jarring event for me. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. Even in death the community mindset of the Japanese culture is clearly pictured.

Nozomi and I have multiple opportunities this summer to publicly teach the truth of the Gospel. Please pray for wisdom and grace to teach the Christians and non-Christians the glorious Gospel and the hope and strength it brings to our everyday lives.

Nozomi and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. Thanks to Momoko and Maki watching our kids, we were able to go out on a date for the first time alone since we’ve been in Japan. We hope to go out together more regularly from now on.

Pray for me as I continue in my Japanese studies. I’ve been able to communicate with others much better lately. I just finished my Japanese testimony and will be sharing it multiple times this summer. Pray as I also prepare a short 10 minute devotional in Japanese for one of those same opportunities.

Keep praying for the kids. They are still struggling and pushing back against us lately. I’m not sure what to do at times but pray. Only God can change their hearts and give them peace.

Taishi and Emi just participated in their first piano recital! They both did really well and didn’t seem to get nervous at all. They both love playing the piano and we have to ask them to stop playing at times.

Kensei hasn’t had any progress with his eyes since the last visit. Part of the problem is he’s been battling with us about wearing his patches for 30 minutes a day. Pray there will be progress the next time we visit so we don’t need surgery. Also, we need to get him new glasses.

We are still praying for Gospel-centered Christian friends and fellowship. We miss our community of believing friends in the US. Being away from them, I have come to believe even more strongly that being part of a community who loves and encourages, prays and cares for one another is so important for any Christian to effectively grow and mature in their faith.

We are still praying about possibly planting an international church here in the West Makuhari area. We have no plans to be actively working toward any church plants until I can finish my Japanese language training. However, building relationships with those God has placed in our lives can be done. We already are meeting and connecting with neighbors, inviting some to our house for dinner.

Continue to pray for Christian unity here in Japan. The body of Christ is so divided here over preferences and traditions when it should be united over doctrine. Most Christians do not understand that we are the Church, not a building or meeting. Many think the Gospel is a get-out-of-hell-free ticket and fail to realize it is so much more. The Gospel is the power of God for the believer to live every day in the light. Please pray the Christians here will understand the importance of this and the significance of this for our everyday lives.

If you haven’t already, take 7 minutes to watch our video about the need in Japan. If you would like to partner with us, please click on the “support” button or click here and sign up with a monthly pledge. If you would like to increase your monthly pledge amount, the easiest way is to call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can adjust your pledge amount over the phone. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

Got to visit Taishi’s class for a parent open house day. His class is large, 40 kids, I think. No AC in the building. Pray for him.

Nozomi’s been visiting her ~100 year old grandfather regularly at the nursing home. Pray for him; we’re not sure if he’s saved.

Joy, Sorrow, Hope

This is a picture of when we visited Miss Cochran in January with the whole family. God worked it out for my brother-in-law Atsushi, Nozomi and me to visit her the day before she passed away. She couldn’t respond to us, but we sang Amazing Grace in Japanese and English. Then Atsushi prayed in Japanese and I prayed in English with her. She was greatly loved.

We started off May with “golden week” (the first week of May when many companies have off work because of multiple national holidays). We enjoyed time with family, visiting various places in Japan with my brother, who paid us a visit. It was refreshing spending time with my brother, although I do think I ate too much ramen.

We are ending May with the funeral of a dear fellow missionary who has been serving in Japan for about 47 years. Miss Martha Cochran taught Nozomi how to play piano among many other things. She was a kind, gracious friend to me. She suffered the last 3 years with ALS but even in her suffering she was encouraging those around her. Her pain is now gone. Her suffering is over. She finished her part of the race. Now she waits for the rest of us to finish ours. We will miss her very much.

We’re starting to get used to life in Japan a little. Please continue to pray for us in this area.

Pray for the kids. They are still struggling and pushing back against us lately. Pray for God to give Nozomi and me wisdom to show grace and love to each other and to the kids as they are still struggling with such a huge life-change.

Taishi just participated in his first undokai (Japanese field day)! His team, the red team, won the day’s festivities. Thank you for your prayers for him to do his best in school and to show Jesus’ love to friends (and siblings).

Keep praying for Kensei’s eye problem. We have a follow-up visit in June to check if Kensei has had any progress. All the doctors we’ve visited in Japan mentioned Kensei will most-likely need surgery.

We are still praying for Gospel-centered Christian friends and fellowship.

Pray for me as I continue in my Japanese studies. I finished my first textbook last week! God is good! I am now a little over halfway finished writing my testimony in Japanese as well. I’m definitely past the level I was previously and learning something new every day.

We are still praying for wisdom to know if God would want us to get involved in planting an international church here in the KaihinMakuhari area, while I’m studying Japanese. We can definitely see a need in the area for a Gospel-centered international community of believers (church) with an eternity-focus. As far as we know there are none in the area.

Continue to pray for Christian unity here in Japan. The body of Christ is so divided here over preferences and traditions when it should be united over doctrine. Most Christians do not understand that we are the Church, not a building or meeting. Many think the Gospel is a get-out-of-hell-free ticket and fail to realize it is so much more. The Gospel is the power of God for the believer to live every day in the light. Please pray the Christians here will understand the importance of this and the significance of this for our everyday lives.

We went with Justin and my sister-in-law’s family to Fuji Safari Park over the holiday. The kids love spending time with their uncle.

Justin wanted to try one of only two Michelin Star ramen shops in Tokyo. I was happy to go with him. Nothing like a Michelin Star meal for the price of a Five Guys burger.

Blast From the Past

Harvest Baptist Church in Guam asked us to take part in their annual missions conference. The church lovingly encouraged us with blessing upon blessing. We look forward to seeing our brothers and sisters again.

 

We just returned from Guam last week. We were blessed in many ways during our week there. It seemed everywhere we turned we met friends or acquaintances from our past. I was particularly surprised to see F.G. Homsher who was in my prayer group my freshman year at Pensacola. It has been over 20 years since I transferred from Pensacola to Northland. It was great to catch up and hear about his work in a closed country (not sure if I can say where online). I wish I could name all the familiar faces we saw at Harvest from Northland, including Pastor Herron and Pastor Baldwin. It’s amazing how God weaves our lives together. I met another familiar face from Northland named Aaron Engelhardt and found out his wife Nina and Nozomi were both officers of the same society together in college.

We shared our vision for Japan with the church people. Nozomi and I were both able to speak to some Bible college classes as well. It was great to share our hearts for church planting and our hurts in the middle of culture shock.

We met my grandmother’s sister, Haruko, and her grand-daughter for the first time. We were also able to just hang out with old friends and get to know new friends. Because of the kindness of some of those friends Nozomi and I were even able to go on a double date without the kids (well, we still took the baby). It was nice to go to the beach when coming from 40 degree (5 degree Celsius) weather in Japan. But most of all it was great to pray and worship with the church family in Guam.

We return to Japan feeling refreshed and ready to work for the Kingdom of our Lord, Jesus. The preaching was great. The fellowship was great. It was a very refreshing trip. Thank you for your prayers!

On the drive home from the airport we found out Nozomi’s unsaved uncle passed away. It was somewhat unexpected. God gave us opportunities to show our love and support to Nozomi’s unsaved aunt and cousin by attending the viewing (they didn’t want to have a funeral service). We hope God gives us an opportunity to share the Gospel with them in the future. God gave us a sobering reminder of the vapor of this life. May we all live with eternity in mind.

Please pray for our family as we are still adjusting to Japanese culture. I hear this takes a while, so a little progress is very good!

Pray for the kids as they still miss their Grammy and Pop Pop, and their other family and friends in the USA. Pray for God to give Nozomi and me wisdom to show grace and love to them as they struggle with such a huge change.

Kensei started noticing his eye problem in the mirror. He also started noticing when other kids say “What’s wrong with his eyes?” Pray God will provide a good eye doctor who can help Kensei through therapy.

Taishi got a 100% on his kanji test the other day! Thank you for your prayers as he seeks to do his best in school and to show Jesus’ love to friends (and siblings).

Pray for Nozomi as she adjusts to a new culture. We met a missionary couple recently. The Japanese wife mentioned she had similar struggles as Nozomi. She lived in Australia for about 15 years before coming back to Japan with her family. We hope to meet back up with them in the future for fellowship as it seems they have gone through very similar cultural struggles as we are.

Pray for me as I continue in my Japanese studies. I am currently working on sharing my testimony in Japanese. Pray for more opportunities to practice Japanese and to connect with Japanese men, both believers and unbelievers, to build relationships and to explain the hope of the Gospel.

Pray for like-minded partners.

Pray for Christian unity here in Japan.

If you haven’t already, take 7 minutes to watch our video about the need in Japan and visit our website here. If you would like to partner with us, please click on the “support” button or click here and sign up with a monthly pledge. If you would like to increase your monthly pledge amount, the easiest way is to call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can adjust your pledge amount over the phone. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

Nozomi shared at a ladies Bible study. I hear she did a great job.

What does an American missionary do when back in the USA? Get’s a real American burger, of course. Jason, Dan, and Yoh and our families all went out for burgers. Great time of fellowship with these friends. Hope to see them in Japan in the near future.

Yoh took the older kids and me to the beach and showed Taishi how to snorkel. Taishi wants to “punch a shark like Uncle Yoh” when he gets bigger.

Getting Settled

We had a few inches of snow, which the kids took advantage of. This is the center courtyard of our building.

Now that the holidays are over, we’re getting settled and getting used to our daily schedules here in Japan. Nozomi and I were finally able to clear some space through the boxes in our bedroom for a bed, and last week we were able to sleep in our own bed for the first time since July of last year. Our little 750 sq. ft. (69 sq. m.) flat is slowly and steadily starting to feel like our home.

God blessed me with the opportunity to share the Gospel with a Chinese junior high schooler named Sho. He was obviously searching. Both of us struggled communicating with our Japanese, and it seemed he wasn’t understanding my English very well either. Then God reminded me of an app on my phone with The Story video in multiple languages. (If you haven’t seen the video it’s excellent. You can watch it in English here and in Japanese here.) I was able to show Sho the video in Chinese. By the end of the video he was almost in tears and said, “I need that. That’s what I need.” The pastor at the church, Pastor Matsuyama, and I both had the opportunity to explain salvation to him. Please pray God provides an opportunity to follow up with him, even disciple him. Right now, he is very busy studying for entrance exams for High School, but he seems to be very interested in lifting weights, something I used to do a lot back in the day. Maybe God can provide an opportunity to disciple him through pumping iron. We’ll see what God does.

Please pray for our family as we are still adjusting to Japanese culture.

Pray for the kids as they still miss their Grammy and Pop Pop, and their other family and friends in the USA. Pray for God to give Nozomi and me wisdom to show grace and love to them as they struggle with such a huge change.

Taishi’s goal for this year is to get 100% on his Kanji (Chinese symbol alphabet) test. Please pray for him to be able to catch up with his classmates, especially in this area.

Pray for Nozomi. Since she is Japanese, she is expected to know all the little social rules and expectations here, but she has been a wife and mother the last 10 years in the USA. Pray for peace and strength as she gets used to a very different life in Japan. Having lived in the US so long God has given her some opportunities to connect with Japanese moms who are curious about the States.

Pray for me as I continue in my Japanese studies. I’m 75% of the way through my first textbook. Pray for more opportunities to practice Japanese. Pray for more opportunities to connect with Japanese men, both believers and unbelievers, to build relationships and to explain the hope of the Gospel. Pray for like-minded partners. Pray for Christian unity here in Japan.

If you haven’t already, take 7 minutes to watch our video about the need in Japan and visit our website here. If you would like to partner with us, please click on the “support” button or click here and sign up with a monthly pledge. If you would like to increase your monthly pledge amount, the easiest way is to call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can adjust your pledge amount over the phone. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

Costco is only about 5 minutes from our house. This chicken ended up being chicken salad for lunch the next day, and made a delicious chicken soup a few days later. All for about $6.45. Plus, the kids love it. Thank you, God.

 

Thank you, God, for this guy. He’s studying kanji, working hard. Praying God will give Taishi the faith to trust Him, to follow Him, and to shine the light of the Gospel in the darkness at his school and throughout Japan.

Happy New Year 2018 from Japan

We hope you had a Merry Christmas and wish you a happy New Year! It’s such a blessing to have you on our team, praying, giving to reach the lost in Japan. Thank you for loving us and helping us get to Japan last year. We are so grateful to have you in our lives.

We hope to see God do some wonderful works this year here in Japan and in our own hearts and lives. We are praying for you. I have a list of pastors and individual financial partners whom I pray for regularly. You are in our hearts and on our minds.

We are still at about 96% of our estimated amount needed to live and minister in Japan. If you would still like to partner with us, please go to our website at www.vanningjapan.com and click on the “support” button or click here and sign up with a monthly pledge amount of $200, $100, $50 or $25. If the support page is confusing please call our mission board, IBMGlobal, at 603-821-5232 so they can quickly help you set up monthly support over the phone.

While at our website, if you haven’t already, take 7 minutes to watch our video about the need in Japan. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

Thank you for your love and care for us. It is an honor to be working together with you to take the Gospel to the many lost in Japan.

Love,
The Vannings

We are so thankful to have Nozomi’s family nearby. Mona, Nozomi, and I have been sick with a nasty sinus infection the last few days. We even spent New Year’s morning at the hospital to make sure Mona didn’t have pneumonia. (Glad she didn’t.) Nozomi’s sister, Ai, and her husband, Atsushi, offered to bring the three older kids with them to visit overnight with Atsushi’s parents near the beach. They enjoyed a Japanese traditional New Year’s feast which Mrs. Katsutani prepared. We are so glad they got to enjoy their first New Year’s in Japan.

One traditional Japanese dish for New Year’s is called ozohni (sounds Italian). Mrs. Katsutani’s has lots of vegetables, some fish cakes, citron, and mochi (a Japanese tightly packed rice cake). It’s a perfect soup for the winter season.

Here We Are

We enjoyed conveyor-belt sushi with Uncle Atsushi and Auntie Ai and the cousins and occupied two tables. It is such a blessing to have family here in Japan.

Today we have been in Japan for two weeks. We’ve been seeing God work in many wonderful ways since we’ve been here. He is answering your prayers for us. Thank you for praying.

I started Japanese language school this week. I’ve been taking the train and walking to school from the train station up hill both ways (at least part of the way), so it really does make sense. Keep praying that I will quickly be able to speak Japanese well.

Specific prayers were prayed for us to find like-minded Christians in the areawith whom we can share encouragement and fellowship. God is introducing us to multiple families and individuals who are a direct answer to prayer in this way. God is good and He knows exactly what we need.

Also, God provided a van for our family of 6 for less than our budgeted amount. When talking to Mr. Sato, the unsaved individual who was helping us find a van at an auction, he told us the size of van with low mileage that we wanted doesn’t fall within the amount we were using for our price limit at an auction. In passing we gave a specific amount (about $500 less than our budget) for a specific van he had been showing us and Mr. Sato just laughed. He said we would have to be really lucky to get that van in our price range at all let alone $500 less. We said if God wants us to have it we can get it. After the auction Mr. Sato called in disbelief; he was able to get the van for even less than our budget. Total cost after inspection and other fees…EXACTLY the same price we mentioned in passing!

Continue to pray for God’s grace for Nozomi and me during this stressful time, that we live out God’s love and patience to each other and to the children. My mom gave me a book called Parenting by Paul David Tripp. So far it is excellent.

Continue to pray for our children. Taishi starts Japanese public school on Wednesday the 11th. Pray he can make good friends and be a light in the darkness at his school. Pray for Emi as well. A couple days ago she was crying and mentioned how she wanted to go back to our South Carolina home. She’s feeling the pressure here as well. Kensei is his usual high-energy self and has been using the situation of us living with Nozomi’s sister to challenge us repeatedly. Even he has mentioned he wants to go to Grammy and Pop Pop’s house often.

Pray we can find the right home for us to use for God’s glory in the area. We’re looking in the same school district so Taishi doesn’t have to change schools once he starts and so he can be in the same school as his cousin. Right now our options are slim. We are leaning toward a really small 3 bedroom apartment at this time unless God provides something else quickly. It’s a tight fit for our family but would give us a great opportunity to reach out to the hundreds of families living in that 7 building complex. The apartment would be on the 7th floor of a 12 story building.

We are a little over 96% of our estimated amount needed to live and minister in Japan. If you would still like to partner with us, please go to our website at www.vanningjapan.com and click on the “support” button or click here and sign up with a monthly pledge amount of $200, $100, $50 or $25. If the support page is confusing please call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can quickly help you set up monthly support over the phone.

If you haven’t already, take 7 minutes to watch our video about the need in Japan and visit our website here. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

If you want to come visit us, apparently it might get really crowded and congested a few minutes from where we live for the summer of 2020, for some strange reason. So plan carefully.

 

Most Japanese houses, even apartments have a tatami room. It’s a traditional style room with compacted straw mats. This is a tatami room in an apartment we looked at recently.

 

 

 

On Our Way to Japan!

One of the hardest things for us to do is leaving our church family at Hampton Park Baptist Church. We love our church. They have displayed God’s love to us in uncountable ways. We hope to reproduce communities of believers living “life by the book” in Japan, not just because the Japanese people need it, but because we need it as well. Our commissioning time was such a blessing to us. アメリカを離れる時の、辛いことの一つに、愛するハンプトンパークバプテスト教会を去ること、が挙げられます。数えられない程、神様の愛を示してくださった兄弟、姉妹を覚え、私たちも又、日本の地で、”聖書に生きる”、このコミュニティを形成していければ、と祈ります。それは、決して、日本人だけでなく、私たちも必要だからです。コミッショニング集会は、とても祝福された時となりました。

 

We left our home, our church, and our family in Greenville SC on September 13th. Right now we are in Seattle visiting my brother with my parents. Our flight for Japan leaves tomorrow morning at 5 AM PST. Please pray for us during this long trip. We will be arriving in Japan on September 20th at about 1:30 PM.

私たちは、9月13日に、住まい、教会、そして家族がいるグリーンビル、サウスカロライナ州を出発し、今、両親と共に、シアトルに住んでいる弟を訪ねているところです。明日の早朝5時に日本行きの飛行機に乗る予定ですので、長旅のためにお祈りくだされば感謝です。日本へは、9月20日午後1時半頃到着する予定です。

We needed a few hundred dollars more per month in order to leave for Japan the last time we wrote. We have now exceeded the necessary amount needed to leave and are almost at 100% of our estimated amount needed to live and minister in Japan. We are a little over 96% now.

前回のニュースレターに、日本へ出発するまで、あと数百ドルの月額サポートが必要だと書きましたが、神様のお恵みのうちに、今は、日本で生活し、伝道する上で必要な費用の、96%にまで到達しました。

If you would still like to partner with us, please go to our website at www.vanningjapan.com and click on the “support” button or click here and sign up with a monthly pledge amount of $200, $100, $50 or $25. If the support page is confusing please call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can quickly help you set up monthly support over the phone.

God answered your prayers for us as we had to work out shipping our belongings to Japan. We were afraid that once the company took everything, they would increase the quote and there would be nothing we could do. However after they took everything Yamato charged us $500 less than their original quote! What a blessing!

神様は、私たちの祈りを聞いてくださりました。家財道具を輸送するために、クロネコヤマトに見積もりを取ってもらいましたが、実際は、見積もりよりも$500安い金額となりました。大きな祝福です。

Also, your prayers were answered concerning getting our house ready to rent. God provided renters who were ready to move into the house before we even finished getting everything out of it. God is good.

また、私たちの家を貸し出すことも祈っていましたが、神様はその祈りも聞いてくださり、私たちの引越しが済む前に、テナントが与えられたのです。憐れみ深い神様に感謝します。

Continue to pray for God’s grace for Nozomi and me during this stressful time, that we live out God’s love and patience to each other and to the children.

ストレスを感じやすいこの時期に、私たち夫婦がお互いに、そして子供たちに、神様の愛と忍耐を示すことができるように、続けてお祈りください。

Continue to pray for our children as they experience a life-changing journey ahead of them, that God will show them He is all we need so we need to cling to Him. Especially pray for Taishi who is really feeling the pain of all the goodbyes. He has told Nozomi and me multiple times a day that he does not want to go to Japan for 4 or 5 years. He loves his friends and family.

大きな変化を経験している子供達が、神様に依り頼むことができるように、続けてお祈りくだされば感謝です。特に、長男の大志は、アメリカの家族と友達との別れを、悲しんでおり、何度も、4、5年も日本にいるのは嫌だ、と言っています。

If you haven’t already, take 7 minutes to watch our video about the need in Japan and visit our website here. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

 

Justin was a good tour guide taking us all over Seattle.

We had a number of loved ones who came to see us off in Greenville. 

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