2021

Rebekah Dugan Photography

Happy New Year! I think it’s safe to say this statement will resonate with many- this year has not been what anyone expected. Who knew pandemic would strike halfway through our first year abroad? Just as we began to settle in, we were ordered in. Though we are grateful for how Japan has handled this pandemic. We’ve increased our prayers for America as well as our prayers for the world as a whole.

Christians, I wanted to encourage you in reminding you that our goals as the body of Christ remain the same. We are still here to share the gospel. We are not called to fear, but to shine a light for Jesus. Maybe this current season of darkness in the world can be used for good in that way? Our lights will appear even brighter in contrast, right? Our strength is not the strength of this world, nor the strength of men. We find strength in something much deeper, transcending time and circumstance. Our strength is in God Almighty. As is our peace. We are to have peace that surpasses all understanding. Only in the good times? If that were true it would be within understanding, not surpassing it. No, even in times like these we are to have peace. Will our hearts still ache for the world? Of course. Will we shed tears as we are continually separated from those we love and for what we wish life to be? Often, I’m sure. But our peace is foundational. Unshakeable. We aren’t to be unfeeling, unmoved by these events, but we are not to be afraid of them. 

Our purpose is higher than survival, than being comfortable. Our purpose is to share His love. To bring His hope to as many as we can. What better time? When has hope been more needed in our generation than right this very minute? We pray that Christians won’t shrink back in fear, nor allow themselves to become tainted with bitterness by these events- but that they will make every effort to spread hope through them. We pray that the hope and peace that surrounds us is so unmoving that people just have to ask. How? 

Jesus. 

My heart is pointed Heavenward as I am full of thoughts of Him, I find that the sorrow of losing my “normal life” is lessened when I see Him clearly. To see Him face to face, I can only imagine. In the meantime, you better believe I plan on being useful here. Sharing as much joy as humanly possible, as Godly possible- and of having the honor of introducing others to the Savior of the world. We, as Christians, have a job to do. In America, in Japan, in the entire world. Yes, we should mourn the loss of life as we knew it before all that has happened. Mourn it, it will be truly treasured in my memories always.

But our mission remains.

As for practically, our family is well. January 7th 2021 Archer out of the blue told me he wanted Jesus to live in his heart. Under the warmth of our Kotatsu, Matthew and I led him in prayer as Archer asked Jesus into his life. I have no words to describe the joy in mine.

As for language studies, Mia and Archer are growing more confident in Japanese. Archer doesn’t even realize how much he knows, it just slips out here and there. As for me…. I’ve succeeded in becoming un-fluent in English instead of fluent in Japanese. A couple of bilingual friends here have mentioned that happening to them as well. I suppose since Japanese is spoken backwards… A simple sentence like “Where’s the puppy?” in Japanese when translated literally is “Puppy is where?”. So I speak a mix of broken Japanese and backward English… but I’m still choosing to see it as progress in some form or another. 

We are hoping to return this summer. We have yet to purchase tickets due to many factors that we’re taking into account and prayer. So your prayers that we can in fact return and see all of you again would be appreciated!

Know our hearts ache for you all and we have tears of joy just imaging seeing you all again. Until then, be found always on mission for Christ, ready any moment to give an account of that hope that still lives in you. That hope still lives in you.

– K

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