Ah! Gaijin da! (A foreigner!) The Japanese children run over from one end of the park to meet Rowan and Jasper. “Do you speak English? Where are you from?” The children ask, crowding around with curiosity and smiles. Our boys talk in English and I translate for everyone. Before we know it, everyone is playing tag and hide-and-seek, including me!
The story above has repeated itself many times during our first few days here in Sapporo. A particularly encouraging story is Ellen’s new friend Rikka. We met her and her twin boys at a park on our first day here, and she wants to meet regularly with Ellen as English/Japanese conversation partners.
In the midst of these opportunities, we are working hard as a family to transition well to life in Japan. The boys seem understandably unsettled by the many changes, so we strive to discover new fun things they can enjoy here. So much has transpired it’s hard to condense into a post but I’m attempting it anyway!
We boarded our plane at 7am on May 12th out of Austin, a last minute change due to weather conditions. During the 12 hour flight, the kids spilled a full cup of milk on an angry neighbor and pulled off my wedding ring. Of course it rolled off into oblivion. Thankfully a kind passenger found and returned it, and the rest of the flight the boys enjoyed a much higher dosage of TV than allowed in our home.
WEEK 1: TOKYO
Jet lag hit us hard so our first week was in recovery mode. My parents (Mike & Rowena) took us to many fun family places and helped with the boys. Being up from 12am – 5am with Jasper really does a number on your Circadian rhythm!
We celebrated Mother’s day and my mom’s 60th birthday together at a wonderful park.
On Thursday we journeyed to Yokohama to see the area and tour a few potential homes for rent. We were very impressed with how well-planned Tsuzuki Ku (ward) is. It has green belts running all throughout, making it easy to travel the area walking/biking.
As Heike Messer gave us a tour of the area, Ellen and I both felt a strong sense that this area is like home to us. It was encouraging to sense the presence of the Lord with us and filling us with joy to live and serve him in this area. Praise God. What better way to serve the Lord than in a spirit of gladness and joy! Heike was such a wonderful host and even took us to the nearby Ferris wheel, which made Rowan’s day! We saw many parks and lots of opportunities for ministry once we officially move.
WEEK 2: SAPPORO
Once again we took to the air. This time to Sapporo where we spent the first few days adjusting and then began language school. We continue to study Japanese, meet people at parks, and help our boys adjust to these many moves.
Many things to pray for:
- For our family to adjust well to life in Japan. Especially Rowan and Jasper as they miss Texas and yet look forward to life in Yokohama.
- For Ellen and the boys to learn Japanese quickly.
- For Ellen’s new friend to know the Lord.
- For our new home in Yokohama. We found a wonderful townhome only 3min walk from our team leaders (Armin & Heike Messer), and 10min walk from the church/train station. Please pray for God to provide, as it is very common for foreigners to be turned down in rental applications.
So excited to be back in Japan,
Patrick & Ellen