Jeff and Malia Walker
Reflect and Recharge
We continue to adjust to living in our house again for the time being. It's nice to have our own place again, but it's also not quite the same. The rooms are more bare than usual, and we are using mostly borrowed furniture from friends and family (for which we are so thankful!). We want to be mindful to not "settle in" too much. This will allow us to pack up and leave relatively quickly once we get notice that Japan's borders are opening. We've used this time to repack some of our boxes and bags for Japan (seasons have changed, and our kids have grown in 5 months!). We've also begun brushing up on our Japanese language studies some more. God has given us some time to reflect and recharge in the calm before the upcoming chaos that our move will likely entail.
Japan's current state of emergency has been extended a couple times since our last update, first until September 12, and now again until September 30. COVID cases in Japan have been coming down in recent weeks, but overall the cases are still high. Their healthcare system is overloaded to the point that hospitals don't have room and people who would normally be admitted due to COVID must instead recover at home. At the same time, the pace of vaccinations have picked up, with almost 50% of the population now fully vaccinated and 60% with at least 1 dose administered. In fact, Japan's numbers now more closely resemble the United States' vaccination percentages. As vaccinations in the U.S. have plateaued, it wouldn't be a surprise if Japan soon surpasses the U.S. in percentage of population vaccinated. If these trends in vaccinations and cases continue, the Japanese government is mulling plans to ease restrictions around November. Will this include lifting of the travel ban? We will have to wait and see.
We are almost fully supported! An increased commitment from a supporter actually took us to 100% support for a bit. Praise God! But after that we also lost some support, which leaves us with $30/month of our monthly budget left to raise. We actually hope to raise a little beyond our budget to avoid dipping below 100%.
We're so thankful for our current ministry partners who have continued to support us during this journey. For this we are incredibly blessed.
Mason has started 3rd grade, and Kaili has started kindergarten. Until recently we didn't know if the kids would be starting this school year in the States, but here we are. We're excited for them to get this opportunity before we move, both for Kaili's first experience in school here as well as Mason's adjustment back to in-person learning after 18 months away from the physical classroom.
Both kids are playing on soccer teams this fall, with Kaili playing on a sports team for the first time. We pray they have a fun and safe time!
Please continue to pray for God's provident timing with regards to the opening of Japan's borders. Please pray for us to be appreciative of the time we have here in the States and to use it wisely.
Please pray for COVID cases to come down in Japan, for wisdom for the Japanese government on how to handle the situation, for adequate vaccine supply and for administration to go smoothly, and for the entry ban to be lifted soon.
We have a planned first in-person trip to a partner church in Oregon in the coming days. Please pray for this to be a great time together!
We also request prayer for continued connections with potential partners in ministry.
Mason's first day of 3rd grade // Kaili's first day of kindergarten // Kaili at her first soccer practice // Mason getting ready to throw in the soccer ball
We would love to hear from you, whether it be to share your prayer requests or to schedule a Zoom meeting so we can catch up and share more details of our plans with you. Please know that we think of you and pray for you often.
Thanks and blessings,
Jeff, Malia, Mason & Kaili