Friday, June 20, 2014

The Journey Begins- Part 2

Well, it’s 4:00am…again. And we are awake…again. The sun still starts to come up at 4:00 in the morning. Last night was a better night of sleep, but we did go to bed at 7:30pm. We literally could not go any longer. We had an incredible first day. We explored our new city as a family and loved it. There was a lot of walking, and we got to ride our first train! The kids loved it! We discovered our new favorite food item as a family. Onigiri. It is a ball of sticky rice with fish in the middle. It is money. Oh, and we live right next to the most beautiful park in the city. It is like the Dallas Arboretum for free.

Our big “day one” event was that we registered at the local wards office, and found out the Japanese government will give us money just for having children! For real. It is an incentive for people to have more kids (the population is in decline), and it applies to anyone living in Japan. And that is us! So, we will be receiving $100 a month for Hannah, another $100 a month for Abigail, and since Josiah is so cute, he comes in at $150 a month. What an unexpected blessing for our family! This will allow us to have something like a Japanese language tutor for the kids, or even start an adoption fund (we have plans/dreams to adopt from Japan). We know The Lord has provided this for us to be more effective ministers of the Gospel as a family in Japan.

So back to our travel story. I promise to make part 2 shorter. We ended with the wonderful and unexpected news that our largest carry-ons would be checked from Dallas to Nagoya. So we boarded our first flight to Detroit with ease. After having a good cry, the kids were amazing. For 2 hours, they modeled the perfect travelling children. People around us were amazed. The girls were so excited. Abigail kept smiling and waving at everyone, telling them that we are moving to Japan. I think they thought that the first flight was the flight to Japan. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that we were just going to Detroit. And that we had another plane ride that was going to be about 10.5 hours longer than the first.

Detroit layover was easy, and we boarded our long flight to Nagoya. Katharine and Josiah sat in “Economy Comfort,” while myself and the girls were towards the back of the plane. We wanted Josiah to have more room to move around and for the girls to not wake up Josiah if he slept (and vice versa). Katharine and I thought it would be better if we divided forces. For the most part it worked out great. Josiah slept some, and Katharine was able to give him her full attention. To my knowledge, he didn’t fuss loud one time.

The girls were great. They watched movies 10 of the 12 hours of the flight. Abigail watched Frozen 3 times. Hannah loved the new Lego movie. They eventually fell asleep, so I tried to rest then as well. With my headphones playing classical music, I thought I heard crying…I looked over and saw the most terrible look on Hannah’s face and her crying. I saw her mouth moving but couldn’t hear her. I took off my headphones and I heard a loud and resounding, “I threw up!!” Sure enough she had regurgitated airplane food all over herself. That was fun for me. I taught her about airplane sickness bags and for the next hour she held the bag in front of her face. She eventually fell asleep again and the bag fell to the floor.

And then she woke up again. And the vomit started flowing again. I frantically grabbed the bag on the floor and shoved it to her face. It was too late. Most of it got on my arm and her shirt. This time she was too tired to cry. She just sat there miserably. When she fell asleep, she would throw up. So, the last 4 hours of the flight, I was on vomit watch, trying to keep her awake. Fun times.

That was the only challenging part. We felt so blessed and had an amazing flight. Nobody fussed, threw a fit, or had a panic attack. I consider that a win.

We landed in Nagoya, got off the plane, and the very first person we saw was an airplane employee. Abigail walked over, smiled, and said “Konichiwa.” The lady smiled ear to ear, and then Hannah, with dried stinky vomit crusted all over herself came over and greeted her in Japanese as well. It was amazing. They had a moment of trying to talk in English while she spoke Japanese. I just stood back and smiled, knowing we were exactly where we are supposed to be.

All our bags made it, we had no less than 8 Japanese people help us with our bags. We were met by a couple of our fellow missionaries and somehow we got it all loaded in a van. We enjoyed driving to our new apartment from the airport as the sun set. Exhausted, we already started dreaming of what life would be like in our new home.

We made it to our apartment, and rode the elevator all the way up to the 17th floor. Our team members made sure we had mattresses, goodies, and some other basic necessities. I immediately went out to our balcony and stared at the sun setting over our new city. It was beautiful. What a blessing that God has put us in an apartment where we can see our city to pray over it daily.

The next thing I knew, we had 5 CBI Interns carrying our luggage up to our apartment. We were told to relax, and they got it all up to us. That was a huge blessing.

So here we are. Mattresses on the floor. Suitcases everywhere. Wondering and dreaming of what life holds in store for us. The girls are so excited and already talking about going to Japanese school. Katharine and I cannot wait to start language learning and settling in. No doubt that God has brought our family here. As a family we are excited to be missionaries in Japan. All of us. We are eager and ready.

And Abigail just came in dressed and said, “I am ready for school…Daddy take me to Japanese school.”

Lord, thank you for allowing our family to be a part of what you are doing in Japan.


  1. It's great to hear more about your journey! Poor Hannah! I'm glad that no one else was sick though. It sounds as if you all are settling in well...

    Not sure if this is the right place to do this or not (you can correct me if I'm wrong), but I wanted to update you a little on Laura and I's job hunting process. Laura has an interview at a charter school on Monday for a part-time gig that she is excited about. I spoke with Sara at Mission East earlier this week and had a positive, but not yet definitive conversation about the position there... Still hopeful and waiting to hear back about it. If it works out, I will likely start part-time sometime mid-summer and transition into a full-time position as they have space near the end of the summer. Anyway, it's hard to believe you guys are actually in Nagoya now - after all the planning, talking, and praying about it for the past months! Laura and I have been praying for you all and will continue to. We are so thankful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to be a part of what your family is doing there. Excited to see what happens next! Love ya'll.

  2. This makes me that much more anxious to be there alongside you guys!!!! Such a great update.

  3. So great to read this! Thanks for the updates, keep them coming! We love you guys. (p.s. this is laura, not ryan)

  4. Awesome update! Welcome to Japan! And yes, the onigiri is so money.

  5. Praise the Lord for all his blessings, especially his "calling" and preparing every single person in your family for this adventure with him! Miss you guys so much, but so glad to know you are where you are suppose to be! Love you bro!