Happy, happy New Year! I’ve actually been away from Ishinomaki for quite a while due to family issues, but I am very excited to be heading back next week. Being away has given me time to reflect on what a joy and honor it is for us to actually live and work among the people of Ishinomaki, and I find myself giddy with excitement to be returning to our friends and co-workers…and to speak Japanese again 24-7!

It’ll be so good to return to familiar faces and see those whose lives are being touched by Christians who love Jesus Christ and want to spread His love to the hurting people of Ishinomaki.

A smiling face at the weekly community event

Missionary friends and neighbors from Watanoha, Ishinomaki

Singing Japanese praise songs on a Sunday morning

Prayer/ sharing time

Some of our wonderful new friends/ co-workers

There is much I could say as I look forward to a new year, but I will simply dwell on one verse, Psalm 133:1: Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! In Ishinomaki, God has raised up a very special community of believers, both Japanese and foreign, from all over the globe. For the most part, this community of God is striving to “stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” through teamwork, prayer, and supporting one another regardless of denominational affiliation. I’ve never seen anything quite like this community, and it’s amazing to see how God is blessing these efforts to promote unity. He’s not just blessing our group, but He’s drawing His lost sheep into this community day by day, week by week. Personally speaking, I am learning (and relearning) much from this amazing community about fellowship, hospitality, love, kindness, and the willingness to help. Pray for our community – we’re far from perfect! I feel so lucky and blessed to actually be a part of this Ishinomaki community – we laugh together, eat together, work together, cry together, pray together…all because we love Jesus and the Japanese.

Readers, my hope is that this blog will continue to encourage many with how God is at work in Japan, since we have the opportunity of documenting firsthand the miraculous ways we’ve seen Him drawing people to Himself. I look forward to another year of blogging to God’s glory!

John 13:34-35 “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”