Monday, June 28, 2010

Taking a little "break" before the next round...

This year Stan and I invested in season passes to Disneyland. Its not that uncommon for people who live in Southern California to take advantage of special pricing for passes, and we decided to try it out. For the past six months, we've taken one day a month to hang out at Disneyland's two parks in Anaheim. We tend to not take the time to do special things together as a couple--but this has given us a taste for date days, and we hope to carry it over to "Museum Dates" when we get back to Japan.

Twice we've had a chance to have our second daughter join us--she has a pass, and goes with friends from college for an afternoon or evening at least twice a month. Its only 20 minutes from her college--and this is their special get-away. She has learned lots of "inside stories" about Disney, has friends who work there in various jobs, and has taken a tour through the bowels of the park for a theatre set lighting course.

Last week we had our final Disney Date of this home assignment, and we asked A to join us. The previous week had been rough week--car accident, a spill that damaged her computer, struggles with a roommate--so we wanted to spend time hanging out with her at the happiest place on earth.

Here is A with her Dad in front of Mr. Potato Head at the Toy Story Midway Mania at the California Adventureland Theme Park.

Before heading across the plaza to the Disneyland park, we took a ride on the Grizzly River Run and got thoroughly soaked. Since its been cooler here than in many parts of the country, it took us a while to dry off. The best part of the ride was the young boy who sat next to A--enjoying every minute of it--while telling us that each drop or splash was his favorite part. He was so small, he kept slipping around on his seat, and grabbed onto A's knee more than once for balance!

Lines were kind of long, so we didn't do as many things as we might have wanted--but when you have annual passes you don't feel compelled to do the whole park in one day. We decided to end our visit at the Peter Pan ride, and while waiting had someone take our photo.

These are great memories! It was so helpful to spend this time together.

And now, we're apart again... Stan and one son took off for two weeks traveling in Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC and Virginia. When he gets back, we'll have two weeks before our departure to Japan.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"standing in the need of prayer"

We are supposed to be on the plane to Japan five weeks from today.

In addition to closing up our apartment--which shouldn't be too difficult but will still take time and focus--we are very involved with a number of family and extended family events and situations that could each take a great deal of effort.

I am in Tennessee with my Dad this week, having joined my siblings for a great visit last weekend. We are working together with Dad to make some plans for his future as he deals with multiple myeloma. It has been great to work together, and I've appreciated the opportunity to meet with his doctors. Still, these are challenging times emotionally for all of us as we seek God's direction and provision for the best possible care for Dad.

Stan spoke at Cornerstone Bible Church last Sunday--all four services--but heading into that was a week and a half of sicknesses. We were still wondering if he would have a voice just a day or so before. He was so sick, and I was scheduled to leave to help Dad.

We sense that there is a battle going on in the spiritual realm...

Our second daughter, who has had her car for 1 month, was in an accident on the freeway yesterday. Gratefully she is unhurt, but the car was... thankfully, we have good insurance coverage for her.

Our oldest daughter continues looking for God's direction for her future, and while there seems to be a steady stream of affirmation of her gifts and abilities, it doesn't translate into work. We are thankful that she has embraced this time for spiritual growth and discipleship, connection with her church and followers of Christ in her industry. But we wonder where she'll go when we leave next month...

While we have financial needs prior to departure, and we really want to trust God's provision, we have heard from several who need to decrease their financial involvement in our ministry.

The planner in me wants to know how the next month is going to look--but we have too many uncertainties in the schedule, particularly in the area of helping my Dad through some transitions, to block out our time. Stan and one son leave on a trip to Pennsylvania on June 25 but we haven't finished making the itinerary for that trip because we don't know what is coming after July 1...

And while the nice home back in Japan I referred to a few blogs ago remains unrented, and friends have sent photos of it inside and and out, we are not ready to commit to a contract for it. Our ministry account isn't ready to absorb the large start-up expenses, and we are hoping for something a bit closer to our church. The rental market in the area is pretty static right now.

All this to say, we could use some specially focused prayers these next days. Pray for our hearts, that we will find comfort from the Lord and assurance that He is able to take care of all our concerns. Pray for rest and physical strength for the tasks ahead. Pray that we would see and recognize God's provision in each of the areas that appear to be unmet. And pray that we would keep our eyes focused on Jesus, and on the work He calls us to do.

Thanks so much!

Sunday, June 06, 2010

An answer to prayer

Last year at this time, our second daughter was learning how to drive. Dear friends of ours were hosting her for the summer, and made it a point to help her get her license. On my prayer list since September, 2009 has been "a car for A..." She has functioned without a car over the past two school years, but it is hard to do much in Southern California without a vehicle.

This summer she is living off-campus while working on-campus in a Theatre internship. It is time to have a car... A friend at our church recommended we check with a mechanic, very near our mission office, who has cars that he buys at auction and resells.

We were able to purchase this '99 Saturn in very good condition within our budget. And while A didn't drive during the school year-- she has a good driving record as a result! ;) -- she is getting back into the hang of it. We are most thankful for this provision.

One of the challenges of being across the ocean, is when the girls need mechanical help with their vehicles. Dad just isn't around to step in--and any instructions given over the phone just don't make sense to the girls.

So here is Dad trying to give a guided tour of the car to daughter...who, if you can see, is texting...

Actually, this is the girl who would probably make it a point to learn more about how cars work. I think it was a matter of the timing of her tutoring session.

Prayer request: We need to find a mechanic in the Costa Mesa/Newport Beach area that we can introduce her to for the inevitable time where she'll need that expert service.