January 2011

Happy New Year!

A wonderful New Year to you all! I hope you all can look on 2010 with fondness and look forward to 2011 with excitement. Certainly for myself, I look forward to quite the ride this coming year. May God reveal Himself and His plans for you this coming year. And even if you have no idea where you’re going, I pray you find wonder and joy in knowing that you are going somewhere with God (even if you do not know it yet).

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Updates

Shortly after I sent my initial support letter in October, I got a formal invitation to join one of the Pioneers teams in Japan, and my placement with them is now all formalized. And so, for those of you who have not heard, I’ll be joining the Murray’s and the Oh’s in Hiroshima, Japan.

The Murrays have been in Hiroshima since 2007, and the Ohs arrived about two months ago! Whew, talk about a crazy end-of-the-year. The team works with some local Japanese churches with the vision is to reach their city and country by starting a vital church-planting movement the likes of which have never been seen.  It’s a pretty crazy-cool thing to be a part of God’s work in Japan, and I hope you reading this are excited too. Your support makes you a very real part of missions, and I will definitely be relying on your prayers during the next few years.

I joined my family in Seattle for the holidays but I’ll be returning to Philly from Jan 14 – Feb 1 to finish packing up my stuff, meet up with people, and wrap up a million other loose ends. I will then be in Seattle until I leave for Japan.

It’s rather bittersweet to be leaving Philly which has been my home for the last seven years. And though I am rather too excited to be terribly sad, I am definitely going to miss the cheesesteaks and the Phillies and the harrowing bike-rides through Center City. But most of all I will miss the community of believers and friends I have. I will definitely be praying for you all. And of course, this is not the end. I am not sure when I’ll be back in the States during my time in Japan, but I’ll certainly make a trip to Philly when I am.

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Support

Raising support has been one of the most interesting, challenging, and encouraging things I have ever done. Knowing that so many of you will be giving to Pioneers for the mission work in Japan has really made me think about the way I live my life and spend my time, money, and resources.

Raising support reminds me that my life is not my own. My life belongs to God, the Japanese, my family, my church, my supporters, my team… The list seems to go on and on before getting to me. I am not at the bottom, but as time passes I certainly am making my way down. It is kind of scary and something I am struggling to reconcile myself with – the lack of control over not just my life but the way I think and live.

I have also been so touched by the outrageous generosity shown by many of you. Touched, and challenged – not only to give with the same sacrificial abandon many have demonstrated for missions, but also to live in a way that displays proper stewardship of the money and prayers people have lifted up for me.

So I want to thank you all for your love and encouragement. Thus far God has provided about 15% of my monthly goal and 30% of my initial departure expenses. As you plan your expenses for 2011, I pray you will make room for missions; and you will make some room in your missions support for Pioneers and me. You can give online here, account #111519. And you can find more information about donating and support on my blog.

A couple notes to some questions I get a lot. There is no “too late” to support me financially. Whether you give now or six months after I get to Japan your support will be most heartily and thankfully welcomed. 10-12% of your donation will go to administrative expenses for Pioneers, and the rest will be used to support me and our ministry in Japan. You should also get a receipt for your donation 2-3 weeks after it has been made.  Do let me know if you have any more questions.

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Chucking Bowls

I realized if I tried to write about every single thing I’m feeling, experiencing, learning, etc before and while I’m in Japan, no one is ever going to read these updates because they will each be about 5 million pages long. So I decided to start a blog with more frequent updates about day to day life. I’ll still send these updates, probably once a month once I get to Japan, but I’ll have more frequent posts on my blog for those of you who are interested. And the blog will probably hold a lot of random stuff too.

The title comes from verse Luke 11:33, “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl…” I want to chuck the bowls that cover my lamp, thus as I live in Japan I will hopefully be “Chucking Bowls.” See? It’s quite clever, if I do say so myself. Haha, please do drop by and say hi!

Find the blog at https://chuckingbowls.wordpress.com/ or click the title “Chucking Blowls” above.

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Until Next Time

To those of you who made it to the bottom of this email, thanks! I have got some prayer requests on the sidebar to your left. And please please let me know how I can be praying for you. Any replies to this email will come directly to me.

Again, thankyouthankyouthankyou for your support.  “…And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'” (Romans 14-15).  I am certainly blessed in the going.  I pray you are blessed in the sending.
God bless you and yours in the New Year!

Jessica

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