Tuesday, November 21, 2006

We're Here!

Hello, everyone! By God’s grace we arrived last night in Japan. I’ll let Shannon fill you in on the all the details of the trip:

The flight was fourteen hours. Most of it went well. It was nice to have time to focus on the kids, playing and talking with them. Emma and I designed quilt squares on paper and colored them in. I taught her how to play Hangman. They listened to books on tape. Josh and Joshua Quinn drew together. Sono gave us stretching classes in the back of the plane. We had this “half way” moment of triumph where we looked at each other and said, “That wasn’t so bad.” Famous last words!

By around 11pm east coast time, we were all getting pretty tired, but the kids were amazing, considering the exhaustion. Around 12 pm both Emma and Joshua Quinn finally lost the battle and fell asleep for a couple of hours. And at about 2:30 a.m. Maryland time, the plane finally landed. We were greeted by two wonderful Japanese women, Eri (which means “mercy”) and Yoshi, who took excellent care of us. However, by this time Josh was suffering from a serious migraine that began on the airplane about 7 hours into the flight. By the time we took the train to Tokyo, he was pale beyond what I had seen before.

With thankfulness to God for our safe journey, we arrived at the missions house (a cozy little hotel run by a missions organization) around 8:45 am (EST). It took us 25 hours and 15 minutes to get here from our house in Maryland. Josh went directly to bed for being so ill, but the rest of us had some Bento box dinners before hitting the beds.

The coolest thing happened this morning. We all woke up, took showers and then we took walk to the market, which is just down the street. It was a convenience store - but VERY clean. Very organized. And NICE produce in packages too - to make a quick meal with. Super cool. The streets are very clean and narrow also. And Japanese people riding bikes and pretty gardens. The streets are so narrow that it seems funny when you wait to cross the street - and then it only takes a few paces to cross. It's neat.

As we were walking back, I looked up and saw that there was a natural food shop--a very small open-air shop, just a few blocks away from our inn here. We stopped in and were able to find Josh yogurt and some mochi (rice stuff) that he could eat. How kind of the Lord! I knew he would provide for Josh and his food.

Japan is ahead 14 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. So a quick way to figure out what time it is here in Japan simply add 2 hours to the time in Maryland and then switch the AM/PM. So, if it is 5:00 p.m. in Maryland, then it’s 7 a.m. the next day here in Japan.

Thank you for your prayers for us. It was pretty rough going for me when we arrived in Tokyo and during our subway ride, but I’m feeling much better today. Many times I was heartened by the thought, “The people of our church are praying for us!”

This morning, as I reflect on the minor inconveniences we faced, I’m reminded of the real trials believers have faced for the sake of the gospel. I read 2 Corinthians 11:24-27 today where Paul recounts being adrift at sea for a day and a night. Now that is a trial!

So I’ll take the counsel of Paul and boast in my weaknesses. If God uses me on this trip to encourage these dear people, it will only be due to his grace. We’ll keep you updated!

Here are my kiddos on their first day in Japan:

And here they are discovering Japanese toilets:


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