It's been an exciting turn of the year for us over here in Yokohama! Kari and I had a nice break over Christmas--we rested, had some new friends over to eat, and just let our brains settle for a while. And while I'm on the topic of studying, we want to share how excited we are that we just finished our second big test in our Japanese class, and are now in our second book! Yippee! It feels like a huge milestone to be in an "intermediate" book finally!
In fact, we're starting to run into some different language problems nowadays. We've discovered that we know enough simple sentence patterns that people are starting to assume that we automatically know everything they're saying. We have to keep reminding people, "nihongo ga mada amari wakarimasen!" (We don't yet understand Japanese that well yet!)
Another change is that, since we've started to feel more secure with our study routine, we've been getting more involved in some low-key church ministry. I've started teaching the 6-8 year old Sunday school class at Yokohama Union Church (YUC) and Kari and I have been participating more in the worship services in various ways. Since YUC is an international church, which happens to have many Japanese people attending also, it's been a great place to worship while we've been making the transition into Japanese culture. Isn't it such a blessing to know that God is working in people's hearts all over the world?! Some times when I look at the faces around the church it just blows my mind that God is so faithful to keep the Jesus' story alive among us with all our differences and after all of our history...
A quick kid's story and I'll sign off for this month:
Adam is getting very good with chopsticks. We ate at the cafeteria at a local park about two weeks ago, and we were the only foreigners there. One kid at another table who was staring at Adam said "mama! gaijin wa ohashi tsukau yo!" (Wow, that foreign kid is using chopsticks!) You gotta like that!
Please keep on praying for us as we continue to work hard on our studies, and for the kids as they continue to adjust to friends speaking a language they don't understand. We know your prayers are our strength.Peace to all,