In 1996, Jeff answered a call to missions as an English teacher in Nagasaki and discovered Japan was the land of his dreams. He returned home to Liberty, Texas in 1998, but his heart never really left Japan. We met in 1999 and quickly realized God had brought us together with forever in mind. We were married the next year and then in 2002, we moved to Kobe, Japan on a two-year assignment. We loved our life there working with college students and young professionals. As we began to pray about our next move, God showed us that we had become comfortable in giving Him segments of our life: two years here, three years there… But He wanted everything from us – not just another couple of years – all of our tomorrows.
When we surrendered to His call of a lifetime of cross-cultural work in Japan, our hearts were flooded with an indescribable peace and we knew without a doubt that this is what He had planned for us all along. The hardest aspect of living overseas is being separated from our families, especially now that we have children. But, we have assurance that this life is God’s best for everyone affected, and it really helps to have a webcam!
Our son, Kade, is in second grade at a Japanese public school where he’s learning how to make friends and be a light in the community where God has planted us, as well as how to read and write Japanese characters and all the other things kids learn in second grade. Kade loves riding the trains and subways, learning anything he can about outer space, going to Nagoya Dragons baseball games with his dad, and playing soccer at the park with his friends.
Avenly, our daughter, is in her first year of Japanese kindergarten (it starts at age three here). She loves riding the bus to and from school and we’re thankful that she’s picking up more of the language while playing with her friends. Avenly absolutely loves to sing and dance and usually does so all day long. She is a girly-girl who is into anything frilly, lacey or jeweled and has a flare for the dramatic. We have no idea where she gets that from!
If you notice oodles of family pictures on our site, please consider them all for the grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who wish Japan and the States weren’t quite so expensively far apart. We’re all hoping one of the kids grows up to be a pilot someday so that we can see each other more often! But, we really wouldn’t give up this life for anything and cherish the fact that our kids are experiencing firsthand what Jesus meant when He said, “For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son…”.
We moved to the suburbs of Nagoya in 2005, and then in 2010 we moved again, this time into the heart of the city. Nagoya is a megacity of about 8 million people, and a great place to call “home”. Pray for us as we continue to follow the dream He gave us so long ago: to reach the people of Japan with His love. We’re still getting to know our neighbors and the downtown community, a process that can take time in Japan. Pray that God would bless these relationships and lead us to people ready to receive His truth. Most Japanese have everything they think they need, but their lives lack the Main Thing. We seek to reach out to those around us in order to help them find what (or Who) they’re missing.