Friday, November 28, 2014


Fall in Japan

What a great time to live in Japan. Being Texas natives, our family has never lived in a place with a true fall season. I (Matt) am currently sitting on the balcony of our 17th floor apartment, looking out over our city, and am overwhelmed with gratitude that we get to live here. The sounds of the city are becoming very familiar to us. Sirens, cars, construction, and the steady roar of what sometimes sounds like the ocean. Behind the familiar Nagoya skyline are the beautiful mountains that we get to watch the sunset over every night. Spotted throughout the city are pockets of bright yellow, orange, red, and pink. The trees are so beautiful and they stand out so well in the midst of a concrete jungle. We are a blessed family. 

City Life--Parking

Living in a truly urban environment has been a learning experience for us. Most recently, we learned how difficult it is to have a car in the city. We test drove a used 2004 Toyota Noah van for a week, with the intention of purchasing it, but unfortunately, we could not find anywhere to park it. Yes, that is correct...we did not purchase the car because there was not a place for us to park it. There are monthly lots around our building (very expensive I might add), but all of them were full. Although it was difficult to return the car, we trust in the Lord's timing. 
Goodbye Noah van, we will miss you!! It was a great week!! Back to the subway, train, & bicycle!! 

It's getting colder outside so we have to really bundle up! 
Commuting in the rain definitely makes life with three children challenging. Would you pray for a parking spot to open up near our building and for all the help we'll need to secure it in a timely manner? Having a car would really bless our family in so many ways. 

New Relationships

The Lord continues to bless our family with new relationships. While Matt's time has been dominated with language school, Katharine has been forming new friendships with other women in our apartment complex and community. Most recently, Katharine started a once a week language exchange with a few women from our building and with some moms from Abigail's school. They gather in our apartment for hours to talk, enjoy American snacks, & to exchange Japanese/English lessons. There are several toddlers roaming around & having fun as well.... 

Fun at the Zoo

Katharine, Hiroko, & the kids went to the Nagoya Zoo with several families from Abigail's school. Friendships are growing & it is so fun to see the bonds that are being formed amongst the children.

Our First Earthquake!

That's right, we experienced our first earthquake! Katharine was the only one still awake, and Matt woke up to Katharine yelling "earthquake!" It was a crazy experience, everything was shaking, and the whole apartment was swaying back and forth. It was like being on a boat. As we were preparing to wake up the children and get under the table, it stopped. We had only felt the effects of a large 6.8 earthquake in a city about 3 hours from us. What a startling reminder of the reality that we live in the Ring of Fire!! Will you please pray for Katharine as she struggles with a bit of anxiety concerning earthquakes and the expected/long overdue Tokai earthquake for our region? 

Our First Thanksgiving in Japan 

The entire Christ Bible Institute team gathered together on Thanksgiving for a potluck meal. Each family took time to share what they have to be thankful for this year, it was truly amazing to hear the testimonies that were shared! God is at work in Japan & He is using all of these families to share His love with Japanese friends & neighbors! We are blessed to call these men & women friends. It is an honor to serve God alongside them in this city! 
The Denison Forum donated their 2014 Advent Devotional written by Janet Denison to the CBI team members. We were able to pass them out to the CBI team at our Thanksgiving gathering. We are excited to walk together through this devotional celebrating the coming of our Lord & Savior!

A few days later a care package arrived from Katharine's mom full of the traditional Thanksgiving meal essentials! It was such a treat! Pumpkin pie, corn bread dressing, macaroni & cheese, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, pickled okra, and cranberry sauce!! These are items that can NOT be found in Japan! Our Thanksgiving meal was as traditional as it could be- thank you so much Dee!
We gathered together with our best friends, Chad, Hiroko, & Amilia Farmer, and celebrated all that God has done in our lives in order to bring our families here to Nagoya from Dallas/Denton. What an amazing journey! We have SO much to be thankful for!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Elkins family! Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, & support!! And thank you to Denison Forum for the cute new Christmas pjs!! 

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