Rob & Kathryn
It has only been two weeks since our previous update (see below), but with current events wreaking havoc with all of our well-laid plans, we thought a quick update would be helpful.
Quite a few have asked us how Covid-19 is affecting our plan to return to Japan at the end of April. Of course, just like everyone, we are dealing with a brand new, anxious reality.
New prayer requests:
1. Our return to Japan will be delayed. Our Waterloo apartment lease ends April 30, but we have extended until May 31. Tentatively we are delaying our return to Japan one month, hoping things have settled down with Covid-19 to allow for a May 31 return to Japan.
2. Grady and Brittany will still get married in late April, but it will be a small ceremony including immediate family only. Their wedding has been canceled.
3. Finances. When we left Japan last year we gave up our apartment and stored our stuff. Extending our stay in Canada a month or two will not make much difference financially. That said, as many Canadians begin to feel a money pinch because of job loss and lost business, we may feel that as well. We have had a couple of churches tell us even before Covid-19 that they will have to reduce/cancel our support. We understand that and have confidence that “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of HIS glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) We are so grateful for the churches and individual supporters that have enabled us to work in Japan all these years. Today, it is exactly 26 years ago that we arrived in Japan to begin language study! Thanks to all who have sacrificed so much for so long.
4. All our church speaking dates are canceled. Kathryn and I hope to use the extra time knocking some of the rust off our Japanese language, looking forward to returning to a new evangelism/discipleship ministry north of Tokyo.
Thank you for your concern and prayers. Please feel free to contact us!
Keep holding onto Jesus, and please keep safe from a distance.
Rob & Kathryn,
Update from March 3, 2020
PREPARING FOR A RETURN TO JAPAN Greetings! We continue to visit churches most Sundays for deputation, but we spend time in Toronto when we can to visit with Tess and Jacob and they have also made time for runs to Waterloo as well. Grady and Brittany are really busy with school, work, and wedding planning in Ottawa, but we have had many days to spend with them as well. Living with Julia this past year in Waterloo has been a joy we won’t soon forget.
We will return to Japan in May, and will miss Canada, but we have the memories of the time we have been able to spend with our grown-up kids this past year; Our supporting churches, family, and friends as well! We want to return to Tokyo in May, but what about the Coronavirus’ impact on Japan you might ask us? Japan has canceled all public schools for the month of March, and the virus is a real concern in Japan with the Tokyo Olympics approaching. We will adhere to the Canadian Travel Advisory advice, as we did when we chose to remain in Japan during the triple disaster in March of 2011. https://travel.gc.ca/ is the website.
That said, we are confident in God’s watchful care over us and you. Recently we have been reading 1 Thessalonians 5, and in Paul’s final instructions he writes something wonderful: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it Brothers and sisters, pray for us. Notice the last part in bold. “Brothers and sisters, pray for us.” That is a beautiful coupling of God promising to care for us with a reminder of our need to ask Him to do so!
Below is an updated schedule, and just two prayer requests for those who are partnering with us in prayer. If you want more detail for prayer, please let us know. Also, consider this a personal invitation to visit if we haven’t managed to see you already! We still have until the end of April to get together. Rob and Kathryn.
1. By the end of April, we will need to have made preparations to leave Waterloo and have a plan in place to move to a new apartment in Tokyo.
2. Pray for a new ministry in Tokyo centred on Evangelism and discipling amongst an unchurched Japanese community. Pray as we seek God’s leading us to “people of peace”, Japanese OPEN to Jesus, and INFLUENTIAL in their family/social circles. (Luke 10:6. “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him”.)
Mar 1: AM Thistletown Baptist, Etobicoke
Mar 1: PM Stoney Creek Baptist, London
Mar 8: AM Thistletown Baptist, Etobicoke
Mar 17: AM New Life Fellowship, Innisfil
Mar 22: AM Flamborough Baptist greeting
Apr 3,4: Sault Ste. Marie/Echo Bay Men’s retreat
Apr 5: First Baptist, Elliot Lake
Apr 10-15: Timmins
Apr 19: Alta Vista Baptist, Ottawa
Apr 25: Grady Fleming and Brittany Lewis wedding!