Of course our trip to Japan would not have been complete if it had not included a reunion with Yoshimi san.He had married and had one son, Hironori, the same age as Timmy –and his wife, Mihoko, was pregnant with their second child! We were all amazed at the similarities in our lives. His mother lived with them in the generational family home on the island of Shikoku.
We had taken a train from Tokyo to Osaka, a ferry to Shikoku. There were delays and we found ourselves arriving very late. A hot meal was waiting for us, and we ate it sitting on the floor with our legs under a traditional low table covered with a heavy a quilt and a heater underneath. The wooden house was unheated, drafty, and chilly, even though it was springtime. We welcomed the warmth. Timmy had slept on the journey and was wide awake and ready to become acquainted with our hosts and sample the interesting foods.
We were loaned appropriate Japanese shoes as well as a light vest for me and a Japanese jacket for Dan. Timmy was given a traditional baby jacket (as well as one for our new baby, due in one month).
We felt very welcomed as we toured the fish hatchery and admired the trees that Yoshimi was carefully growing that would be used in the religious shrines.
Traditional Japanese homes have three Shinto shrines: one by the entrance of the home for the children, one for the water source–at the well or the spigot, and one in the kitchen. They also have a Buddhist shrine where they honor and worship their ancestors. They believe that if they take care of their ancestors their ancestors will take care of them. Yoshimi confessed: spiritually we are very confused people.
Problem: Not wanting to get up in the morning. Overly concerned with sleep needs. Wrestled 45 minutes with myself about getting going today. All I do is work, everything is work. There’s nothing to look forward to. Never a break—no shopping, nothing new, no treats, no movies or exciting dinners. Just drudgery. This is deep because until the last few days I’ve still had joy and managed to cope. But the extra burden with two overnight visitors in 3 days (missionaries), a one day break, and tonight Shawn and Amy, and Friday night Donna S. None of these are in themselves gruesome. God has provided the love in my heart. But I need to go do something different: be a guest, get out. I also need to get housework done and for it to be clean and orderly here. Too burdensome to be tense about someone opening the oven! I don’t even know what would help. I would feel guilty spending a cent for clothes or fancy food. I couldn’t enjoy them. We’re grubbing for daily groceries, and the last 2 months’ furnace oil bills, baby doctor, overdue power bill, phone bill. Dan needs work pants, Timmy needs rubber pants, we need birthday gifts for Megan and Connie and Jerry. I have not been receiving much in the Word. Sunday mornings I am usually called to the nursery to comfort Timmy, and Sunday nights I stay home with him.
Who can save me? Jesus Christ my Lord.
Feb 22, 1980 A radio spot: In the Christian life we are like the trapeze artist who lets go of one bar and turns mid-air for the other–God calls us to turn from our fears and make leaps of faith for Him!!
I’m hearing You, Jesus Christ my Lord!
Feb 28, 1980Springs in the Valley, Mrs. C.E. Cowman: UP!…is not the LORD gone out before thee? Judges 4:14God has guided the heroes and saints of all ages to do things which the common sense of all the community has regarded as ridiculous and mad. Have you ever taken risks for Christ? -Charles E. Cowman
Also: Had Moses failed to go, had God granted his prayer, there would have been for him…no pillar of fire…no smiting of the sea…only 40 years of desert, watching with his sheep. J.R. Miller
October 19, 1979Dan estimates we need about $6500 to settle everything here in one month, buy round-trip tickets, and go to Japan and live there for a few months.
We had begun attending the Evangelical Free Church soon after we returned from Germany. When the pastor heard of our interest in being missionaries to Japan, he suggested we visit Japan and to see what the Lord would say to us. We took that advice as directly from the Lord–that He was confirming our plan of going to Japan for a visit.
Our God story: On the corner across the street from our house was an auto repair shop. A very large (old) International Travelall truck had been parked there for sale for many weeks. We needed a new vehicle, but we also wanted to go to Japan. Dan reasoned, If I’m going to Japan I don’t need a vehicle at this time. He said to the Lord: “If that truck is there next week, I’ll buy it, and that will mean that we won’t go to Japan, that You aren’t leading us to Japan.” The next week it was GONE. We were flabbergasted!
To the best of our recollection, Dan’s dad called us within a day or two to say that he had sold a piece of property and was splitting the proceeds three ways to include himself, Dan, and his brother Aug. He wrote Dan a check for $6,000! Spoiler: As we continued our planning, we decided that we would stay 6 weeks instead of 3-4 months. That meant we had overestimated what we would need, so $6,000 was sufficient to cover all our bills and our Japanese adventure. Amazing!
Another answered prayer: I had surrendered to the Lord my desire for a second vehicle. It meant being home every day, but I knew the prayer of relinquishment–I trusted God’s goodness and could let go my desire for a vehicle die and leave it totally in His hands. Soon after I really let go of my longing, an old friend of Dan’s offered us his well-used and much loved Volkswagen–on the condition that when we were finished with it we would pass it on freely.
November 3, 1979 –It is time to relinquish Timmy to You. He has been up lately from 4-7 times every night. It is extremely challenging to emotionally let go of my little baby boy. I am so weak in this area—I cannot bear to hear him cry and do nothing about it. I remember how helpless I felt in the hospital when I heard him screaming in the ICU and I could do nothing to relieve his distress. There is such pain over this. Let me die quickly. I remember that Dan was up for hours every night with Timmy patiently walking him after his last feeding, trying to get him to sleep and then several other times when Timmy would wake up and cry.
When Timmy was 5 months old, I became pregnant with Steve.
During this period I went back to my New American Standard Bible.
Nov 18 –A child in me, a new life forming, developing, growing, becoming a person. A gift from You…thank You. Ecclesiastes 11:5 Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.
Dec 4 –Thank You that through my recent sickness (minor) You healed more of my attitude toward Timmy. I see I am afraid to love him too much. You might take him away and that space would be so empty. I’m not sure why I was thinking this way about losing Timmy. Probably very normal mother thinking.
Dec 9 –Regarding our health in Japan, my Bible reading was in the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 7
v13 And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb
v15 And the Lord will remove from you all sickness.
What about a doctor in Japan?The Lord answered:
Ps 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.