Proverbs 16:9

It is interesting for me to look back and see the way the Lord has gotten us to where we are today. It gives me peace about where we are to know at some point, I will look back on where ever I am, whether I can see the Lord’s leading in the situation or not, knowing that one day I will see his fingerprints even in the small things.   When Ryan (My first husband) was still alive there was a time right before his death that he felt just burdened to go to Northern Canada and to make a considerable amount of money. I didn’t understand this desire in him because everything before this had shown me that he had no desire to leave my side for any reason.  So, he went for one month, one time, two weeks before his death. He left me with more money then I had ever seen because this sacrifice. Fast forward a year, Jeff and I were planning to go on a honeymoon. I had told Jeff “I want to take you on an international honeymoon.” He had never been out of North America. I had been holding onto the nest egg Ryan had left me, I felt that this trip was the reason I had the money.  It was this trip that lit a fire for the Japanese people in both of our hearts. It was not until a year later that we got the call to be missionaries over there. I look back and can see how God used Ryan to get Jeff and I over to Japan. It’s neat to think about the impact Ryan has had in us becoming missionaries.

For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

On Tuesday nights we have the great opportunity to serve with an organization called Firefighters for Christ. It is a highlight of our week and a huge blessing in our lives. If you are not familiar with the ministry, people from across the US and around the world order CDs and DVDs and we ship them to them free of charge. Jeff and I start each week filling orders and packaging them for shipment, then we help put labels on the CDs and package them. Then we all share a meal and have a bible study to end the night. The man that oversees the ministry, Pastor Steve, always tells us we’re already missionaries because we’re helping to reach people all over the world. Getting the chance to pray for fledgling believers by name who live in closed countries is incredibly encouraging.

A few of our friends at Firefighters for Christ.

For Halloween, the church hosted several trick-or-treat locations around town. We helped with one of the locations, on a very busy street that saw 1200-1500 kids come by in the three hours we were there. We manned the cotton candy machine while other people handed out candy and tracts, gave out popcorn and hotdogs, helped with the bounce house, or did street witnessing. It was a little bit of light on a very dark night, but every kid that wanted cotton candy (all of them) were told that Jesus loves them and all you can do it plant the seeds.

Ready to join the circus.

Thank you to you all for praying about my job opportunities. I took the job at the coffee shop and also ended up getting a job at a flower shop as well. Praise the Lord.

Sorry that this update is a little late, but we have big news to share for the future. In the next several months we are going to go on a vision trip to Japan, and attend a missions and church planting school in Mexico. We will pass on more info about the dates of the vision trip next update, and the school in Mexico is in July and August.

Prayer requests:

– Please pray for our vision trip to Japan. That the Lord would speak clearly to us and give us direction.

– Pray that the Lord will provide financially for the two trips we have coming up in the next eight months.

– Alishia is feeling a bit homesick without snow for Christmas, pray for her comfort.

Settling In

Persimmons, common in Japan, growing in Yorba Linda

When we moved down to Orange County a little over a month now, we were stepping out on faith.  We arrived in Yorba Linda without a place to stay or jobs, and God provided both for us in short order. Our first day in town we attended one of the Life Groups that meet in the homes of several members of the church. No sooner had we met everyone there that one of our fellow interns, Jim, had offered to let us stay with him at his house! The next day Alishia and I went job hunting, and I applied for a bakery position at a Japanese grocery store up the street from the church. They said that it would take 1 to 2 weeks to process the application, but I got a call back two days later to schedule an interview. At the interview the they said that I would hear within ten days if I got the job or not, this time they called the next day and I started the next Monday. Alishia put in applications at a few places in town and was able to secure work at both a coffee shop and a memory care unit that connected to a retirement home here in town. Please pray for her as she decides which of the two jobs to take, or for strength if she decides to do both.

Japanese white bread made by Jeff

At our initial trip to the Japanese grocery store, while I was filling out an application, Alishia met a Christian Japanese woman named Hiroko. They hit it off right away and exchanged phone numbers. The next week, Hiroko asked us to drive her up to the mountains north of here to a time share she has. Since I had not started work yet we happily agreed and it was a pleasure to spend the weekend with her and her friends (missionaries from the Philippines, serving in San Diego).

We were given the opportunity to attend a benefit gala for Voice of the Refugees with the other interns and the pastor we serve under and his wife. It was a great night meeting people and learning about this amazing ministry that serves refugees in southern California. They provide ESL classes for children and adults, as well as helping fill out paperwork, provide food or household items to the needy families, and even teach driving lessons. They share the gospel with families who have been displaced with literally nothing left. No home, no job, no possessions, they have even left their families behind. We were very blessed to be able to attend the event and are looking forward to the chance to work with this ministry in the next year.

At the Voice of the Refugees gala.

This past week we were able to find a permanent place to live near Yorba Linda. With help from our Life Group we were able to meet a couple that had a room to rent. They often rent a room to young people in bible school and call themselves a ‘finishing house’, as kids spend a season with them and then head out to the mission field.

Thank you all for your prayers. Please continue to pray for:

  • An opportunity to minister to the Japanese population in Yorba Linda
  • When to take a scouting trip to Japan, and what ministries to visit on the trip
  • And again wisdom for Alishia as she weighs her employment opportunities  

Walking by Faith

The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet
you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

As you may know, Alishia and I have felt called to serve the Lord in Japan for two years now. That calling has led us to change churches, move to California for training, and ultimately intern here with Saving Grace World Missions in Yorba Linda, California. You may also know that we spent last semester at the Calvary Bible Institute in Yucca Valley, California getting general bible and ministry training. While there, we had a missions class the first and last Friday of each month, which is where we met Rob Douglass, a veteran missionary in Africa and Asia, and Pastor Trent Douglass, the head pastor of a sending church in Orange County. We were two of only a few students in our class that felt called to overseas missions at that time, so we instantly connected with the Douglass brothers and looked forward to our twice a month class with them most of all. They were experienced in not only being and sending missionaries, but in training others in how to be and send missionaries as well. They taught us foundational elements of what it takes to be a cross-cultural missionary; how to not offend your host nation, what to do in awkward cultural misunderstandings, and how to preach the gospel in non-western cultures for example. While we were thankful for the general training we were getting, we longed for more of this specific training and wished we could be part of a school that focused on missions first and foremost. We started praying for an opportunity to be mentored by these men, and another of our teachers as well. In our hearts, these three seemed the reason God had brought us down to California.

Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

2 Thessalonians 3:5

Summer came and we went home to Montana to reassess how the Lord was leading us. We stayed in contact with everyone down in orange county. Pastor Trent and Rob were doing a school of missions in Mexico for the summer and we wanted to be a part of it. However, due to a lack of funds and prior commitments we felt like that door was closed to us. We continued to pray about being a part of their church however, and we talked with the pastor and elders at our church in Whitefish (Calvary Chapel Whitefish). We felt the Lord telling us to move onto Saving Grace from CBI, but I wasn’t faithful enough to commit one way or the other. I needed a sign or a door to close, but none came. Finally, at the end of August we decided just to commit to Saving Grace and let CBI know we wouldn’t be returning, it was then that the Lord moved on the situation.  We let Pastor Trent know of our decision, and he let us know that we could be a part of a brand-new internship that stemmed out of the school down in Mexico. Praise God, HE is faithful!! What a blessing, we didn’t even know it was an option and now we had the opportunity to continue our training in a missions focused church. The internship is designed specifically to equip and prepare the saints to have the knowledge, spiritual maturity, the know how to church plant, and to build a team around us (that’s you) to be able to run the race the Lord has for us.

Back to California!

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

So here we are, in awe of all our prayers and desires being fulfilled. So thankful to be a part of this internship for the next year, and more certain then ever that the Lord will continue to move in our midst. We feel more and more called to Japan as each new chapter unfolds revealing the path the Lord has for us to walk. The Lord is so faithful to fulfill His promises and for us it seems still apparent to us that Japan is His promise and call on our Life.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Matthew 28:18-20