It all happened on Monday morning. Kayo and I had been in a relationship for a day under a year. We went to the park that morning to spend some time together, so I went out and picked up some things for breakfast. After we ate breakfast I gave her a box, it looked like a chocolates box. After she opened it and found no ring in the ring case, I pulled the ring out of an envelope and proposed. She said yes! We're engaged!
We're very excited to see what God has planned for us, and how He wants to use us together. For all of you who have been praying for us, we are very thankful for your prayers. Praise the Lord!
Here it is! The debut release "Welcome to the Ai Land" by Hakugaijin. (Ai means love in Japanese, so it's a play on words with island.) In the picture, you see, from right to left, Tim, Ayu, Hannah, Daniel, Rob, and myself.
After 2 months of talking to the immigration office, sending them information, answering their
questions, etc., I received the postcard in the mail Tuesday night that told me to buy a revenue stamp and go to the Naha Immigration office to pick up my visa renewal. When I got there yesterday, as the lady was putting the renewal sticker in my passport, I noticed that it was a different color that the last one that I had. What did that differnet color mean? 3 years!
I had applied for a 3 year visa, but I figured that I would only get another 1 year, because 3 year visas are a bit harder to get, and I hadn't turned in any FBI background check information.
But God has provided me a 3 year visa, and I am very thankful!
In other news...
Check out http://cts.ti-da.net/. It is the blog site for CTS (Creative Tact Service), the company that is producing our band's (Hakugaijin) album. The album comes out April 15th. Take a look at the right side bar and there is a little promo video and you can hear clips of the songs on the album.
We had a great trip to Tonaki Island this past weekend. It was just Yoshua and myself who went on the trip this time. Our plan was to visit Tonaki and then visit Kume Island the next day. However, the Holy Spirit kept us from going to Kume Island rather unexpectantly.
We got to Tonaki on Friday. The skies were clear, the water smooth, and the surrounding islands very visible on the horizon. We pulled into port, said hi to Izuru-san, jumped in the minshuku (hostel) van and got our bags into our room. After that, we did a little exploring and hiking around the northern point of the island (hoping to see some whales). After eating lunch at the Fukugi Shokudo, we wandered around some more, taking video and pictures and talking to a few locals here and there. The village was rather empty feeling because the school had taken a trip to Naha for the weekend, so there were no kids running around and I assume that some parents went as well as the teachers. That evening we met up with Izuru-san and ate dinner with him at his house. Following dinner we had a time of worship, Bible study and discussion, and prayer. The next morning, we met at the beach at 6am and hiked up a small ways to a pavillion on the side of one of the mountains. Up there we had a Bible devotion and prayer time together.
The plan for the rest of the day was to jump on the ferry at 11am and head to Kume Island and visit Yoshua's friends, as well as go to the church service Sunday morning. However, while we were eating breakfast at the minshuku, the owner came in and told us that the ocean waves were 4 meters high and that the ferry would not be coming to the island today. Suddenly, we had a problem. We were stuck. We finished up breakfast and went back to the room to talk about what to do. We'll, when you're stuck on an island, you can't really leave, so that was a short discussion, but we realized that we might not have enough money to stay at the minshuku and still get home. The pastor on Kume Island was going to let us stay at the church, so we didn't have the full amount of money needed to stay another night at a minshuku. We prayed and then we emptied out our pockets and bags of any money that we had, and then counted it up. We had enough for the minshuku and the boat ride home, and a little to spare that would allow us to buy lunch if we needed.
As the day continued, we ended up helping Izuru-san's mom in their field for a little while. She was very nice and gave us a lot of fresh veggies to take back home. After eating lunch outside Izuru-sans house, Yoshua and I kicked back for a while and then ate dinner at their house that night. The next morning we were up at 6am and met with Izuru-san again. We were a little concerned that the waves would be too strong for the boat to come again that morning, but we figured that if that's what God wanted, he would take care of everything. As it turned out, the waves were only 3 meters high and the boat did pull into port and we were able to return to Ginowan.
It was a very eventful trip. We were able to build stronger relationships with Izuru-san, as well as with his mom during this trip. Also, it seems that there may be an open door for us to rent a house out there for missions trips and for ministry. That's a very exciting thing, as renting a room at the minshuku is 4000yen/person/night, over $40/person/night. We heard that renting a house out there is very inexpensive because there is not a lot of people moving to the island; most are moving away from it. So please pray about this opportunity. It would be great to be able to go out for a week or more a month rather than spuratically like it has been. Also, please pray for Izuru-san, as being the only Christian there can be a lonely thing. Please pray that God would bring a harvest on that island.
Hey all. The Calvary Chapel Ginowan podcast is now up and running. We will be podcasting the Sunday morning messages with Pastor Tim, in Japanese and English. If you would like to check it out, search for "Calvary Chapel Ginowan" in iTunes podcasts, or if you don't have iTunes, go to: http://www.reachokinawa.com/CCGPodcast/podcast.xml
Here is the crew from the November Tonaki trip. It was a great time. As you can see, some kids who live on the island wanted to jump into the picture. Through the outreaches we did, we ended up making friends with about a dozen kids. We were also able to share the Gospel with a few adults that came. Thanks for your prayers; it was a great weekend.
I am working on a trip for the last weekend of January with Yoshua, the guy that went with me to Tonaki on the first trip we took, back in June. We are hoping to go to Tonaki again this month, but we also want to take a day and visit Kume Island. We want to meet some of the Christians on that island and if possible go to the church there.
Kume Island has around 10,000 people on it; a bit more than the 400 people on Tonaki. I'm currently praying about whether God wants
to use Kume as a kind of ministry hub for the islands west of the main Okinawa island.
You can see in the top map picture where Tonaki is. Kume is on in the bottom map. It is on the same ferry line and only about an hour away from Tonaki.
Please pray for this upcoming trip. We desire to see a harvest in the islands, but we also recognize that some spiritual preparation may be required first. Please pray that God would guide the trip, the encounters, and the vision in this area; and that we would be obedient to his direction.