Days till our departure are melting into mere hours. We fly out of the U.S. in five days, concluding what has been an exceptional, fulfilling, and mind-boggling 8-month furlough. For you numbers-lovers, we made 2 trips to Virginia, 4 trips to the Gulf coast and 6 total into Alabama, 1 trip each to South Carolina and Texas, and 10,000 miles added onto the trusty Manna van's odometer. We've spoken at 5 conferences and at least 18 churches, some on multiple occasions.
For the event-trackers, we've packed in a college graduation, a wedding, a week of summer camp (kids) and beach vacation (parents), 2 medical emergency trips, Creation Museum visit, a thorough ADHD/ medication/Occupational Therapy assessment, a semester of middle school, Seminary, Japanese language study, root canals and crowned teeth, new glasses for children, a 12.5 acre land purchase...you get the picture. The pace has been dizzying as we have compressed seeming years of activity into a handful of months.
December fell into a category all its own. We'd expected to spend December resting leisurely with family during the holidays, but God used an untimely death to interrupt our plans. That will have to be saved for another post.
December also found us sorting, packing and purging for the move. By mid-December we'd separated out two suitcases apiece of clothing and essentials, then packed the lion's share to be shipped in a crate to Japan, to be seen sometime in March. Movers came to the house and picked up boxes containing everything from bed linens to kitchen utensils to spices and bathroom towels, things we bought to replace the household furnishings we'd abandoned when we left China. The movers then drove to a furniture store that warehoused our future home, rumbling off hours later with beds, tables, dressers, living room chair, couch, and media cabinets.
God amazed us with His provision. We began our furlough with an "empty" 1000 cubic foot crate and a promise for its contents to be shipped to Japan. The burden fell on us to fill the crate during our 8 months in the U.S. It has been a thrill to watch God, our provider, come through for us to the degree that we were actually concerned about our belongings exceeding the 1000 cu. foot allowance!
Is this not a testimony to God showing up in a challenging circumstance? This is also a moving testimony of God answering prayers that many of you have lifted on our behalf, because you appreciate the challenges we faced in starting over, yet again. To those who provided materially for our move, we are humbled and grateful. From our hearts, we thank you and praise God for you!