Can’t believe we are into the month of May. Things in Okinawa continue to roll right along. We are still praising God we are almost finished with the school year and we have still not had to close school due to COVID. Andy is finishing up his three year rotation with the elementary students. Three years ago we started in Genesis and are now we are finishing up the epistles. We are praising God because we are able to start having small concerts and gatherings at school. God is good, and we are grateful for all of your prayers!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Years
We pray that you and your family had a wonderful Christmas and a happy New years. This last Christmas holiday was extra special for our family. We had the chance to visit Sapporo, a place we called home for 8 years (from 2007 to 2015). We saw many friends, enjoyed the snow, and worshiped with our church family there.
1st semester down one to go...
This year we were indeed blessed by the Lord here in Okinawa. We are incredibly thankful that we were able to have zero covid cases at our school, and no cause to prevent us from going to school in person! Our number of students also has even increased since the pandemic. We were even able to have some school Christmas concerts this last month. Not to say we didn't have our challenges. We had to go through this first semester without being fully staffed, missing a few teachers and teachers assistants. Andy has taught algebra 2 and precalculus all semester (maybe for the rest of the year). Megan is teaching AP English. We both love teaching in the classroom, and even though it makes us a lot more busy, we enjoy getting to know the students more. Okinawa still has some guidelines for us to follow, we have to prevent large gatherings, so there are no large chapel services or sports.
This summer, like many of you, has been an unusual summer. Due to COVID restrictions, we were not able to travel for most of the summer or gather in large groups. We were able to take a small 3 day trip to Osaka at the beginning of the summer. We got to pet some deer, go to a theme park, and visit a few world heritage sites. It has been a little bit different, not bad necessarily, just different. We were able to spend lots of time together as a family. Also this summer, all three girls had an orthodontist appointment, and to our surprise, ALL THREE girls needed braces!
Time for School, well not yet...
We are so excited for school to start back up, AND to meet on campus. We were supposed to start on August 24th, however the Okinawa gov’t declared a state of emergency, preventing us from going to school. So the first day of school got moved back to the September 31st, HOWEVER a big typhoon is coming, so we have to cancel school on 8/31 and 9/1, So, Lord willing, we will have our first day of school on September 2nd!
Lots of schools are having to do online learning right now, but we are blessed to be in a position where we can come back to school. We do have to follow some social distancing guidelines to be as safe as possible. For example, checking temperatures, washing hands, spacing everyone as much as possible, not mixing classes as much as possible, and no large group gathering.
We had asked you to pray for our new teachers we had hired for the new school year. We have confirmation that immigration is working on their visas now, but the new teachers still are waiting. Please pray they are able to come soon, and pray for Andy while he is teaching High school math until they come.
-Successful start of the new school year
-New teachers able to arrive
-No new Covid outbreaks in Okinawa
-Pray for student hearts to turn to Christ
Thank you for all of your prayers and support. We have so much to be thankful for! God is so good. Praise the Lord...
-We made it through the school year.
- We were able to welcome the students back to school for the last three weeks of the school year.
- We were able to have our high school graduation, 8th grade promotion, 5th grade promotion, and kindergarten promotion. All of them were held outdoors with a limit in attendance to immediate family only. Nevertheless, the students were able to be honored on their special day.
- We are also able to continue with summer school as planned (6/22-7/10).
- Over the last month, churches have started opening up.
- A student in Eliya's 3rd grade class committed his life to Christ.
- Japan’s state of emergency was lifted, people can feel free to travel between prefectures, however Japan still has its travel ban enforced, not allowing anyone from most countries around the world in (including America) to enter the country.
Summer plans, We are planning on staying in Japan this year. Megan is going to do AP training online, Mia and Eliya will continue to do gymnastics, Naomi will continue to do soccer. We are planning on taking a three day trip to Osaka, and if time a trip to Hokkaido to visit our friends and church in Hokkaido.
Please pray for the new staff for next year, Immigration is still not processing visas; and it would be difficult to not have them to start the year.
Thank you for all of your continued prayers and support. I’m sure everyone’s life looks like it has slowed down a bit, and we are no different.
-Japan is still under a state of emergency until May 31. People are encouraged to stay home, and only go out for necessities. (Most places are still open)
-In Okinawa we just had our 7th straight day with ZERO new confirmed cases of Corona! Praise the Lord. We have had a total of 140 cases in Okinawa confirmed, many who have recovered.
-We continue to do online schooling at OSCI, but hope to go back before the school year is over.
-Churches continued to be online only, feels kind of sad not to be with people.
-Megan goes into school, however most of the staff is encouraged to work from home.
-Our family has spent a lot of time together at home. Considering the situations we feel pretty blessed. We miss being with people, but we are happy we can still enjoy nature and spend more time together.
-To make online learning for our students a little more exciting we have had virtual spirit week, where the students had the opportunity to show school spirits in a variety of ways like pajama day, talent day, mask day, etc. This coming week we will be doing virtual service week, where the students will have opportunities to serve, things like writing doctor’s letters, chalk drawing on their sidewalk to encourage their neighborhood, and take a walk and pick up trash in their neighborhood. We had to cancel service week this year because of the coronavirus, but we believe this will at least get the kids serving from home.
-Please pray for everyone who are planning on going to the states this summer. Many of our staff who are returning to the states are having a difficult time finding tickets to return.
-Please pray for new staff, Japan immigration is currently not processing any new visas, and Japan is currently not allowing anyone who are coming from most parts of the world including America and Canada.
Hello from Okinawa, we hope and pray everyone is well in these unusual days... we are in good health and spirits, spending lots of time together as a family and not in crowds, enjoying taking our puppy on walks, some jogs, and going hiking. This month we celebrated Eliya’s 9th birthday with pizza and a big dinosaur cake. Naomi has learned how to sew and have started sewing homemade masks, since all of the stores are still sold out. Mia continues to do gymnastics, with a heightened sense of precaution and despite her spring competitions being canceled. Andy and Megan have stayed busy at school.
Compared with the rest of the world. Okinawa remains relatively safe at this point. We have only had 13 people confirmed who have the virus, however with Tokyo spiking in recent days, people are feeling a little more cautious. To promote social distancing, church services moved online, events, parties, and festivals have been canceled. This month, in response to the Prime Minister of Japan's orders, we closed the OCSI campus and went to online school for two weeks. This brought some challenges as we all navigated how to continue giving our students quality education and support online. All the OCSI teachers did an amazing job, using online platforms like Google classroom and Seesaw. I (Andy) created a devotion video for all of the students and a chapel messages for the students. It was for only two weeks, and because Okinawa is at a low risk we were able to go back to school! Praise the Lord! Spring break starts tomorrow, we hope that we will be able to come back to school after spring break, but with the situation changing so fast we return to online school.
Thank you for your prayers for our family and for OCSI! Please join us in praying that through this stressful time, that Japan and our community would turn toward God and be ready to seek a relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As we approach Easter, Paul tells us this from 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “What I received I passed on to you. And it is the most important of all. Here is what it is. Christ died for our sins, just as Scripture said he would. He was buried. He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as Scripture said he would be."
Of all the things Paul has written in the New Testament, he says the resurrection is of first importance. The resurrection, the empty tomb is our hope. Paul tells us to “hold fast” to it. Hold fast to it when there is peace and prosperity and especially hold fast to it during uncertain times. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me will live forever, even if they die.” This Easter, we may not have all of the celebrations we are used to having, however, we have Christ and we have the hope of resurrection. Let's hold fast to the resurrection and be reminded of God's great love for us.
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