Our Thanksgiving weekend was filled with ups and downs. We are thankful for the time that we got to spend with family. We missed out on some other gatherings when our family got a little sick, though (not COVID). Then our examination certificates (shina sumi sho) got approved over the weekend as well! A huge thanks goes out to our JVENTURE teammates in Japan who worked tirelessly to get the applications submitted and comply with all of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs' requested edits. Yesterday we had a Zoom planning meeting with our Japan team and fellow appointees waiting to enter Japan like us (4 other units). We were busy making plans to depart for Japan in either mid-December or early January.
All seemed to moving full-steam ahead. Then, a few hours after our meeting on Sunday night we got the news: Japan was closing its borders...again. Effective November 30, Japan has decided to close its borders to foreigners for at least one month while the world assesses the impact of the omicron variant of COVID. We went from the high of getting our certificates approved (the last step before we could submit our visa applications with the Consulate) to the low of having the borders shut once again, a mere 3 weeks after they had reopened. We knew this was a possibility, but it was still shocking at the speed at which this all developed. We are disappointed and frustrated that there is yet again another road block for our move to Japan. But we once again lean into God's Word and His promises.
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."
~ 1 Peter 5:6-11
Praise God that our examination certificates came back before the borders closed again. We pray this helps put us in a position to move as soon as possible once the borders reopen.
Though we are disappointed by the border closing again, we are thankful that we get to spend Christmas in the States with friends and family.
Our kids will get their 2nd doses of the COVID vaccine tomorrow. They did great with the 1st dose! Jeff and Malia were also able to get their boosters.
Please pray for Japan's borders to reopen quickly. It seems the earliest this might happen is January. Please pray that the omicron variant isn't as bad as people are fearing, and that it will be contained. Please pray for people to find hope in Jesus, and not sit in fear from the virus.
Even though we're currently at 100% financial support, we aim to continue partnership development. This is because we've been told that two budget line items are increasing in the new year: our health insurance, and our pooled housing costs. This will result in $279/month for us to raise. This does not affect our departure clearance. Please pray for our continued partnership development.
We would love to hear from you, whether it be to share your prayer requests or to simply catch up. Please know that we think of you and pray for you often.
Thanks and blessings,
Jeff, Malia, Mason & Kaili