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The Vanning Family Update
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We're just about ready to take the family out for a walk.

May 2020 Update

Safe and Sound in Japan

<<Salutation>>

We continue praying for you during this time of pandemic and panic. We have you in our hearts as we deal with the inconvenience here in Japan, knowing that you are probably experiencing the same limitations as we are, maybe even worse. We pray God will keep your hearts and minds safe and sound in the knowledge of his sovereign grace over all things, even the spread of a virus.

Thank you for praying for us concerning the outbreak here in Japan. Since we last wrote, the situation has gotten much worse here. The government has declared a state of emergency and requested gatherings of all kinds to cease. The total number of cases here has grown to more than South Korea's. We still have trouble finding masks here, so we all have homemade masks now. (We ran out of straps for my mask, so I'm still using disposable ones, as you can see in the picture.)

Although Japan hasn't placed anyone on mandatory lockdown, we've been asked to minimize going out as best we can. When the weather is nice we still have been going on walks or to nearby parks with the kids to get their energy out and to get them out in the sun. We try to limit our activities to open outdoor places. Recently all public parking lots have been closed and roped off. This limits where we can take the family to places within walking distance. But we are happy to all be safe and healthy. That is such a blessing at this time.

Pray for our neighbors, the Yamadas, who live below us. Having 5 children quietly couped up in our small 89 square meter (950 square foot) apartment has been difficult. Mr. Yamada has had to work from home and we've unknowingly been too loud during the day for him and his wife, as you probably can imagine. He came up to our place very angry, yelling about how we're driving him crazy. Nozomi responded to his complaints with grace but with strength and we were able to humbly display the Gospel to him and his wife. In doing so, Nozomi shared why we are here in Japan, to plant churches. Maybe through this encounter, God will allow us to build a closer relationship with them. We will try harder to give them peace and quiet in their home, but their greatest need is peace and quiet in their hearts. We would love to see them come to Christ. That is our prayer. 

My Japanese lessons have all moved to Zoom. The transition hasn't been too difficult and it's such a blessing to continue studying Japanese despite our quarantine situation. My Japanese is still improving, thank God.

We have also switched worship meetings to online meetings with the members of the church we are helping. The format has been much different, but it is so nice to continue to see each other's faces and to worship together. We've also made available weekly prayer small groups via Zoom to help encourage each other during this time.

I will translate this Sunday for the second time from Japanese to English in our online worship meeting. I in no way feel confident translating yet. But God and the people of the international church in Oyumino have been graciously encouraging me. 

Keep praying for God to save our kids.  Pray Nozomi and I can graciously and consistently use opportunities to be ambassadors of Christ to our children. This prayer is definitely needed during this time as we are constantly with all the children 24/7. 

Keep praying for Kensei's eyes. They haven't gotten any better since the last update, but they haven't gotten worse either. That's a blessing. 

God is answering your prayers for Gospel-centered Christian friends and fellowship. He has been slowly providing these friends, though they all might be multi-denominational. In a country where only 0.3% of the population are professing evangelical Christians, it seems inevitable that some of our Christian friends are from other denominations. It glorifies God as we all work together for the glory of our King here in Japan. Continue to pray for church-planting partners as well. 

You and your love and care for us are a great blessing to us. We are so honored to be working together with you to take the Gospel to the millions of lost in Japan. If you have any questions about what we are doing in Japan, or about partnering with us financially please do not hesitate to email me by replying to this email.

Love,
Jared
The small park next to our building complex is full of cherry blossom trees. I love taking pictures of cherry blossoms in full bloom. Here's one of my favorites for this year.
It's nice to live walking distance from the ocean (even if the water's polluted near us). The kids wanted to try to dig for clams. We probably should have researched a little more on how before we went, because we didn't catch any. But we had fun and enjoyed God's beautiful creation. 
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