Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers as we have settled back into life in the US. We've been getting used to lots of new things here--school lessons in English for the kids, driving on the "wrong" side of the road, stopping at the "Dairy Depot" for chocolate malts (you can't find those in Japan!), and best of all, reuniting with family and friends.
We have been back now for about two months and we wanted to share what a blessing so many of you have been to us. After about three weeks of setting up house, getting required medical exams, registering the kids for school, and preparing for deputation, we began visiting churches. So far, we've shared formally with 9 different churches and have met together with lots of pastors, missions advocates, and church members informally, as well.
But I wanted to briefly share with you all something that happened recently which was a real encouragement to me. As many of you know, just before I became an ABC pastor, I attended a school in Prague, Czech Republic called IBTS--the International Baptist Theological Seminary. Many of you may know that IBTS had been jointly supported by American Baptists and Southern Baptists for many years (first as the Baptist Seminary at Ruschlicon, Switzerland, then after it moved to Prague, as IBTS).
While we were in Prague, Kari and I met many wonderful Southern Baptist missionaries and friends, some of whom we still communicate with today. We've always thought it was a shame that like-minded American Baptists and Southern Baptists didn't work more closely with one another...
Well, recently, Kari and I went to a SBC congregation in my hometown of Wilmington, OH and shared some of what God was doing through the chaplaincy at Kanto Gakuin in Japan. This congregation--not even related to the ABC/USA--presented us with a check for $700! That money is going toward the $15,000 it will cost to purchase of a van that we can use when we return to Yokohama in 2006.
We just wanted to share that with all of you. It was a blessing for us to be so richly impressed once again with the fact that all of us Christians, our minor differences notwithstanding, are called to be the one body of Christ. There's an amazing amount of diversity among Christian people. But there's also an amazing unity, wrought when we keep our priorities straight, and yield to the Spirit of God. We want to encourage all of you to do everything in your power to celebrate that unity in your own churches and communities, too!
Please let us know how we can serve you this year as we're back on home assignment. And if (over and above your normal giving, of course!) you or your church would also like to make a special contribution toward the costs of the van we'll be needing in 2006, please drop me and e-mail and I'll explain to you how that's possible. . .
Grace and Peace,
Dwight & Kari Davidson
Adam, Sarah, and Isaiah