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Baby Henke #2

We’re expecting! Baby Henke #2 will be making his or her appearance sometime around February 28th, 2014. We are very excited to meet this sweet baby and welcome it to our family.

I went to the doctor five weeks ago and found out. Actually, I had been feeling really tired and was taking naps almost everyday while Micaiah was napping. I blamed it on the heat but Jared said, “I think you’re pregnant.” That Jared, he’s so intuitive. 🙂 So we went to the same clinic where Micaiah was born and sure enough, I got the big “Omedetou” or Congratulations and was sent on my way.

I’m so curious about being pregnant in America since I’ve never experienced it but in Japan they have you go to the clinic/hospital every two weeks during your first trimester.  Today was my third time to go. It’s nice because each time you have an ultrasound so I’ve already seen this little one three times. I saw it’s heartbeat first at six weeks (amazing!) and then today, at 10 weeks, the baby was really active during the ultrasound and he* even put his thumb in his mouth!

(*From now on I will refer to the baby as a “he” until proven otherwise) 🙂

Babies are seriously miracles and blessings from God. As I’m just going about my everyday tasks God is knitting together this beautiful baby inside me. If you actually take the time to think about it the whole thing it will blow your mind.

Although we are very excited I can’t help but be a little nervous about having two kiddo’s running around. I feel like I’m too young. Our parents are the ones with two kids, not us. Thankfully though I have some amazing mom friends that have multiple kids and are wonderful examples and encourage me to know that I too can have more than one child and be okay. Not to mention our parents, families throughout the centuries, etc. By God’s grace we’ll do our best and have a lot of fun along the way. 🙂

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Happy Day

The first song we sang at church today was “Happy Day” by Tim Hughes. Do you know that one? “Oh Happy Day Happy Day you washed my sin away.” It was a great start to the morning and described today perfectly. It was a happy day.

Uki's Baptism

Uki’s Baptism

Meet Uki, your new brother in Christ. Today is his birthday. His Christian birthday that is. Today he received new life in Jesus. I met Uki last January, his first time to step through the doors of Mustard Seed Christian Church Nagoya. Even before that day God had already been moving in his life. Uki’s best friend and roommate in college, Atsushi, accepted Christ and was baptized in our bathtub on March 11th, 2012. After Atsushi’s baptism he felt the desire to be sharing with his friends about how Jesus had transformed his life and how he could change their lives too. So Atsushi brought Uki to church. A guy named Yuuhei brought Atushi to church. Yuuhei brought Atsushi who brought Uki and all three of these men are now Christians. Christians living in a country with very very few other Christians. What are these men going to do for Jesus here? I don’t know… but I can’t wait to find out! Pray with me that God would use them in a powerful way to bring many more people into the loving arms of Christ. Pray that Uki would grow into a strong, bold, passionate disciple of Jesus desiring to share the Good News with others. Also, ask God to protect him from the attacks of the evil one who desires to snatch this newfound faith in Christ away from him. Thank you God for Uki and his decision to follow Jesus!

Welcome to the family!

Oh Happy Day. Jesus has washed my sin away. Jared and I wouldn’t be here in Japan if it wasn’t for Jesus. If we didn’t believe whole-heartedly that He is our Savior and the Savior of the world we would have stayed at home. What an amazing God we serve. We thank God for days like today, to see and celebrate one soul who was lost and now is found. Praise God for His mercy and grace, for never giving up on us, for being a God who is patient with us not wanting anyone to perish but all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

God, please continue moving in Japan. Keep changing heart and lives. Your Kingdom come here Lord we pray. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Day at the Farm/愛知牧場

It’s funny to think I just spent half a day visiting a farm. Jared and I both grew up around people who had farms and for many of our friends it was their livelihood. In Japan visiting a farm (at least if you live in the city) is a unique experience. You have to travel outside the city to see one and then to get to pet a cow… that is pretty cool! They have all kinds of “experiences” you can do at the farm from potato digging, to milking a cow, to learning how to make butter. The smell of the farm sure made me miss Kansas!

Aichi Bokujyo (愛知牧場) was where we went and it’s in the city of Nisshin right outside of Nagoya. We had the time so we took “the low roads” and it took us about 50 minutes to get there. It was a nice little trip though and the best part was: it was free! But when you get there of course you want to feed all the animals so we spent about 500yen ($5) buying food and it costs a whopping 200yen ($2) to get in the petting zoo but overall it was still a cheap, fun-filled family outing at the farm! Micaiah did surprisingly well feeding and petting all the animals. He was a bit scared of the horses but I don’t blame him… those things are big! My favorite part were the Mara’s or I guess in English we call them the “Patagonian mara”. Are there Mara’s in America? I don’t think I had ever seen one before today. Anyway, they are so cute and fun. They were really friendly, too. Jared’s favorite was the goats and Micaiah loved the guinea pigs.

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Micaiah and the Mara

We always love to explore Nagoya and we hope to go back to the farm again someday!

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New vision: Same Blog

Hello there… it’s been a while but I’m glad to be back.

It’s been a busy past few months since I wrote. So much has happened and I’d be happy to fill you all in…. one post at a time. For now though I’d like to share with you a new vision for this blog. Four weeks ago I started doing an online bible study/book reading with a group of ladies from a church in Arkansas. It’s my teammate Lyndsey’s home church and when she asked if I would like to join I was hesitant at first since I wouldn’t know anyone but her but I’m so glad I joined it. It’s through GoodMorningGirls.org and ladies from all over the world are studying the book “Anything” by Jennie Allen together. Each day we have scripture to read and for our group (since it’s all on-line) we post our reflections on the scripture, prayers we’re praying, etc. in a private Facebook group. If I was still in America I don’t think I would necessarily be interested in this on-line sort of Bible Study thing but living overseas and not really having any older women in our church to receive advice from and study scripture with it’s been a huge blessing. I love reading what the other ladies have to say and hearing their perspective on what God is sharing with them through his word. Along with daily bible reading and journaling we also read two chapters of the book a week. Last week the theme was “Dreaming To The Glory of God” and one of the challenges was to write out a dream you have and pray over it that day. I thought really hard about the question, as I really haven’t given much thought to my “dreams” lately, and one of the dreams that I wrote down in my journal was “Share with people about life and ministry in Japan.”

In the past I haven’t really been good about blogging and I think part of it was that I didn’t really have any direction in what I wanted to blog about. Living in Japan is so incredibly interesting and there are many things that I want to share with you all… but I don’t. I let myself think that I don’t have enough time to write, I don’t have any pictures to share, blah blah blah. But the truth is I love to write and am overjoyed whenever Jared and I have the opportunity to share with anyone who will listen about what we are doing over here and how God is moving through the churches that by His grace have been planted and are growing.

Everyone has a story to tell and every person’s life is unique and interesting. I want to do better with sharing with you all about my life as a Christ follower/wife to a church planter/mother of a toddler/crazy foreigner living in Japan.

I hope that God speaks through me to encourage you. For those of you who know Jesus intimately to those who don’t even believe in His existence… I want to write to share with you and encourage you. I don’t want to be afraid about sharing about the love of Christ… He’s changed my life and I want you to know He can change your’s too.

So here I go… tomorrow is July 1st. Be ready to find posts on here ranging anywhere from something God is teaching me to telling my mom friend that Micaiah’s naps are a year and a half long (I have so many Japanese mis-hap stories… you wouldn’t believe!) Can’t wait to share with you all! Thanks for reading!

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First Sunday in Imaike

This past Sunday (March 17th) we had our first church service at the new building. It was awesome. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions I felt after stepping off the elevator into the burnt orange lobby with doors that opened up into a large room that is our worship center. Three and a half years ago I remember walking up a spiral staircase into a small dark room that was the party room of a sports bar and not even caring that it smelled like smoke and alcohol… all I remember was being excited that a new church was starting in a city that had 9 million people and that less than 1% of them knew Jesus. One more church would provide one more chance for someone to hear the Gospel preached in their native tongue and give them one more opportunity to put their faith in Jesus. It is a powerful message and the best part of it is that it’s true! Mustard Seed Christian Church Nagoya has been committed to sharing that message from God’s word week after week for three and a half  years now. Seeing the transformation in the lives of those that God has touched through our church is humbling and amazing to have seen and been a part of.  I love God’s global church. To be a part of a church family  that has people from all over the world is wonderful. Weekly I feel like I get a glimpse of what heaven will be like. Singing songs in Japanese and in English we get a double dose of the meaning and depth of the words that are being sung to God. God, the creator of all the languages of the world, deserves all the praise, in every language at all times forever and ever.

Strikers Sports Bar

Strikers Sports Bar

Studio Nexx

Studio Nexx

I wish I could take you all on a virtual tour of our new place… maybe I’ll work on making that happen! But to see how our locations have changed and progressed over the years is so exciting. God’s church is growing and we are thankful to have you all alongside of us.

Some of my observations from our first Sunday were:

-The worship feels more intimate in this new space. At the dance studio the ceilings were really high and with them being lower here you can actually hear people singing. It felt like everyone was more connected during worship time.

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-From the 7th floor we have an outstanding view of the city and all the people that are walking around Imaike at all times. All you have to do is simply look out the window and see that “the harvest is plentiful.”

-The kids class space is so much bigger, and cleaner, and the wall isn’t peeling, and there isn’t a big sink protruding into the kids play space, and it doesn’t smell bad… well, you get the picture 🙂 It’s a great space for the kids to learn and grow and enjoy and hear God’s word!

Kids Room (Studio Nexx)

Kids Room (Studio Nexx)

Kids Room (Imaike)

Kids Room (Imaike)

-The entryway/foyer was the perfect space for everyone to hang out after church and enjoy refreshments. Also this space will be open at all times so people from the church can go hang out there whenever they want. Micaiah loved running around this area before church.

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I can’t say this enough: Glory to God for providing the perfect place for MSCC Nagoya to meet for a very, very, very long time. We can’t wait to see how God uses this space to continue to grow the church and watch it thrive!

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Wow… God is good.

I’m tired and need to go to bed but I just wanted to post these two pictures really quick:

This picture was taken in July of 2010: our last Sunday meeting at Strikers Sports Bar for church. This was the staff and a few core members of MSCC.

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This picture was taken today: our last Sunday meeting at Studio Nexx for church. Again the staff and core members (as well as many seekers) at MSCC.

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Wow… God is good. I am so amazed at His goodness and His grace. God is growing His church in Japan! Continue to lift up our church as we start meeting at the new location next Sunday and that more and more people would have the opportunity to hear about the love of Jesus.

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Our walk to church

With MSCC moving to a new location in a few weeks I thought I would write about our weekly walk to church. Now that it’s pretty cold here we don’t always walk but if it’s somewhat warm out (or even if it is cold but the sun is out) we walk! Also, a few months ago I bought a “Mama Bike” we ride it to church often as well. The first time we rode it Micaiah screamed his head off the whole time and threw a fit when I made him wear his helmet. Now that he’s used to it though I think he actually enjoys going on bike rides. Other than walking or riding the bike to church we have also gone by bus, subway, train, and taken a taxi once or twice. The options are endless. We like to walk though because well… it’s good exercise, it’s fun, and it’s free.

My "Mama Bike"

My “Mama Bike”

I have really grown to enjoy our walks to church and Micaiah has too I think. His childhood will be half a world away (literally) than my childhood. His experiences are so incredibly different than mine were. It’s fun to see him enjoying these little things, like walking to church, that I never would have experienced growing up. I must say though that when I write “walking” I’m talking about me walking and pushing Micaiah in the stroller. Even though he can walk now if he were to actually WALK to church it might take us a good hour or so.

From walking out our door to the dance studio the church meets in it takes us about 35 minutes. I am an EXTREMELY slow walker but on most Sundays if we can get out the door on time it’s a nice walk and we don’t feel rushed.

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Micaiah has also learned how to wave recently and when he waves he does it with both hands. He likes to wave at everyone and everything. Other children, cars, dogs, people, the elevator door when it closes. It makes me smile. There is a lot of waving going on during our walks and because Japanese people don’t usually wave, they bow, it makes me even more happy when people wave back at him. 🙂

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Hello there!

Some of the more interesting things we’ve seen on our walks to/from church are:

-a site down the street from our house where Christians were executed during the 1600’s during the Edo Shogunate when Christianity and all things “foreign” were expelled from Japan… it turns out there is even a museum on that site dedicated to the Christians who were executed there

The sign at Ekokuji Temple

The sign at Ekokuji Temple

-a playground that was originally the site of the first dissection of a human body in Nagoya

What a creepy place to put a playground...

What a creepy place to put a playground…

-One Sunday we came upon a big ol’ dead fish laying right in the middle of the sidewalk

-We got to see the friendly neighborhood fire-fighters doing their morning work out on their exercise mats outside of the firehouse. I remember they were really nice and said “Good Morning” to us when we passed

-At that same firehouse on our way home from church once they were doing some kind of drill where they were climbing out widows and hanging by ropes (Micaiah thought that was fun!)

-One of the first times we walked to church after Micaiah was born we passed a little girl dressed in her Kimono for the 3, 5, 7 celebration (where they celebrate 3, 5, and 7 year olds) She was beautiful!

So cute!

So cute!

Other things we’ve seen:

-groups of stray cats hanging out in Matsubara Park (our neighborhood park)

-people walking large groups of dogs

-the man standing on the street corner (every Sunday morning) with his mega-phone reading things from the newspaper about the dangers of nuclear power plants

And so much more!

Sometimes I forget that we don’t live what most people would call a “normal” life. But it’s our normal… and we love it.

We have had some good times on our walks to and from church and I’m going to miss them. Now that the location is moving farther away from where we live Micaiah and I will most likely ride our bike to the subway station and then take the subway to the new church building. We are looking forward to the move though and can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead at the new place!