Jeff and Malia Walker
Happy New Year!
Happy New Year! We pray that you and your family had a very merry (and safe) Christmas. Ours was even a white one!
2021 - Ups and Downs
As we entered Year 2 of the pandemic, we all hoped that life would get back to "normal" in 2021. Vaccines were rolling out, and there was hope that the end of the tunnel was in sight. We began the year at 70% support, which allowed us to apply for our Certificates of Eligibility. This was the first step in the visa application process, and they got approved in April. Later in the spring we were blessed to reach full financial support, three years into our support raising journey. Thank you to all of our partners in ministry, without whom none of this would be possible!
We were anticipating moving to Japan in the summer. However, Japan's borders remained closed. Through states of emergencies, the Tokyo Olympics took place without spectators. As fall approached and the borders were still closed, we realized the kids would need to start the school year in the States after all. Mason started 3rd grade, and Kaili started kindergarten. Then in November, we got the news we had been waiting for: Japan's borders were reopening! We (including our teammates in Japan) worked hard to get all the necessary documents in order, especially the new screening certificate. That newly required document finally arrived around Thanksgiving, and we rejoiced as we prepared to go to the consulate in Seattle to apply for our visas and buy plane tickets.
Then omicron happened. Japan immediately closed its borders again at the end of November before we could even go to the consulate, and we were left waiting...again. While that sudden turn of events was very disheartening, we were thankful to spend another holiday season with family and friends in the States. Japan would have to wait until 2022.
2022 - A Hopeful Look Ahead
As the new year begins, Japan again has an entry ban in place due to a new COVID variant. However, last year Japan didn't even start its vaccination campaign until February 2021. But now they are more vaccinated than the U.S. When Japan closed its borders again at the end of November 2021, it was initially only until December 30--if omicron wasn't as bad as they were fearing. However, as questions about omicron still abound, Japan has extended that until at least the end of February. We are still hopeful that, with omicron appearing to be less severe and as boosters roll out in Japan, that they will decide to reopen their borders again soon. But the earliest that could happen is March. It's easy to grow impatient in the waiting. But we also know God is in control, as He always is, and it's all in His perfect timing. So we cling to His promises. And we look ahead into the new year with cautious optimism, hopeful that we will shortly be able to make the move to Japan to bear witness to Jesus.
Lighthouse Christian Church had a special time of prayer on December 5th, and these prayer cards were written for us. We feel so blessed to be covered in so many prayers! Thank you!
"What made last year special?"
Jeff: "We were very humbled to reach 100% financial support last year. Being able to travel to Hawaii to visit family, our first trip since the pandemic began, was also very special."
Malia: "Last year was very unique but particularly special as we had the chance to spend some special time living with friends and family. In a time of goodbyes, we had great opportunities to make new memories."
Mason: "It was special because I got to celebrate my birthday at the pool, we got to go on a family trip to Hawaii, and it snowed on Christmas. We also got to move back to our house and stay here longer."
Kaili: "It was special because I got to go to kindergarten. Also, it snowed on Christmas. I also had a special sleepover birthday party."
As we continue to await Japan's borders opening, Jeff has been working per diem as a pharmacist still. While still at his old job, he has started with a new staffing agency to get some more per diem pharmacist hours in the new year.
Please pray for Japan's COVID situation and for the borders to open soon, all in God's timing.
Please pray for our informal Japanese language studies while we are still in the States.
Praise God for new supporters! Please pray for our continued partnership development. We have $204/month left to raise following a couple budget increases.
Fun in the snow! It was a white Christmas.
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