So obviously I have seriously fallen behind in writing a blog every day. Well, let me fill everyone in on what all has been happening around here the past couple weeks.
The beginning of March we had a surprise birthday party for Mark. It turned out great! In New Zealand it's a big event for your 30th birthday, and since Mark couldn't be with his family this for his birthday this year we decided to throw him a huge party. His birthday isn't actually until March 18th, but we had the party on March 6th because we wanted to celebrate it with Joe G. here still.
We had it planned for after the Fuse. During Super Small Group time Debbie and I went in the back and frosted one of the cakes we had for him and then right when he thought we had to all start cleaning up we shut off the lights and came in with candles lit on the cake singing Happy Birthday! It was so much fun! He was totally surprised!!!!
The rest of the party included dinner at the LiveZone, games, a couple videos that Joe and I worked on, presents, and a great speech from Mark at the end of the evening. Joe and I created a video from people from the Fuse all wishing him a Happy Birthday and we received a couple videos from his family in NZ and Joe edited them into a shorter video so we could show that as well. It was the best surprise party ever!!!
The next week, on the 11th, Joe left for the States. That was a sad day for everyone. He is seriously missed here in Japan. On the 12th, Jeff and Becky Hrubik (Debbie's parents) came for a couple weeks. They came for the inauguration of the Noborito church which was on the 14th. On the 15th, Joey and Kirk Yamaguchi left, they were also here for the inauguration. They came from Grand Junction, CO, and stayed about two weeks.
Our newest missionary arrived on the 17th. Her name is Janine and she's planning on staying at least 3-5 years. We're so glad she got here safely. She'll be taking over a lot of the administrative jobs that I do for the Fuse. Such as the team online schedule, planning meetings, taking notes during meetings, things like that.
On the 24th, Joe Motter (Mochi) is heading to the States for 2 weeks and the next day (the 25th) Kengo is also going to the States for two weeks. He's going to see a friend's wedding and to spend some time with Joe G. So for the next two weeks we are down one guitar player and one drummer.
This week for Fuse it'll be more of an acoustic feel and next week we have a special group coming in to sing so the entire band will have a week off. It'll be nice.
Amy and I bought our tickets home. We will arrive back in the States on May 4th. We land in Chicago at 4pm and then my parents are driving me home (Amy's are driving her I'm assuming). I'm starting to get excited about coming home, but at the same time I'm not. I love Japan! In a way I can't hardly remember what it's like to live in the States anymore. It'll be so weird to drive places again and not have to ride my bike, walk, or take the train. It'll be weird living in a house with more than one other person. (I have grown to love the quiet and peacefulness....well when my bird isn't being a chatter box) It'll be weird being in rooms that are as big as my entire house. It'll be weird to not have my own house anymore. It'll be weird to understand everything everyone is saying.
But I'm excited about seeing my parents again, about seeing my brothers and sisters and all my friends. I'm excited to play on the worship team again. I'm excited to go to church where there is no need for a translation. I'm excited to be able to walk 10 minutes from my house and be in the woods.
There are so many things I'm excited for that sometimes I can't decide whether I want to stay here or go home. But the most exciting thing for me is to see where God is going to use me next. I have grown to have a deep love and passion for planting churches and helping churches raise up new leaders in the church. To see people grow in their walks with God and to see how God works.