01 January, 2018

Looking forward to 2018

My New Year tradition is not to make resolutions, but to write here about what's foreseeable in the upcoming year. We have a lot of plans already in place for 2018—it will be one of significant transition.

The big "rocks" of the year are:

Our eldest son moving to Australia in February to begin university (with me accompanying him to help smooth the way, but only for a couple of weeks)

The rest of us moving to Australia (the Goodna area, near Brisbane) in late June for six months. The purpose is mainly reconnecting with supporters in Australia, but also spending time with family and friends. 

Surrounding those are lots of smaller rocks:

Conferences, retreats, workshops etc

  • OMF Japan national conference in late March in Sapporo, Hokkaido
  • Workshop in Sapporo (Wendy) in April 
  • Women's retreat early March (two nights)
  • OMF Australian national conference in Sydney in August
  • Probably others we don't yet know about
Travel internally in Australia 

  • Interstate trips to Perth and Canberra to visit churches and friends.
  • Within state trips to visit churches and supporters.
  • With our families living at least eight hour's drive apart, and none of them in Brisbane/Ipswich, that will definitely mean some driving to see them (though hopefully some might venture to come to the "big smoke" to see us too).

  • At this stage in our lives a big challenge to a big move like this is schooling. We have plans for our youngest to enrol in the second half of grade eight at the local school he was at last time and for our middle son to do online schooling (US curriculum). 
  • We're trying a home assignment half the length of our usual one. That will mean it will be more hectic than usual. I want to apologise in advance that we won't be able to spend as much time with people that we want to. This will be a new experience, I hope it works out okay (and that I don't get too stressed and unwell).
  • Goodbyes are for me the most difficult thing (a close second would be packing) about moving between countries, and there will be plenty of those this year. Probably the ones in Australia will be more difficult. In Japan at least I can say to most people: "See you in six months." At this stage we're not sure when we'll be next in Australia, but with one boy studying in Australia and another graduating from high school in June 2021, there's a high chance that we'll be back in Australia sooner than four years (even if it is only for a short time).
  • More immediately, in the next six months we have to figure/prepare out things like:
    • what we will prepare for up-front presentations at churches and the like
    • a photo album and other deputation material
    • try to get some meetings scheduled for July and August
    • schedule the bigger trips to WA and ACT.
    • I've got to sort out and hand over some significant parts of my job, in order to leave room for all the work we'll be doing in Australia. My first meeting related to that is in January!
Thankfully we don't need to pack up our house or move out. That is a huge relief. Six months is a short time to do two international moves, and being able to leave our house as is is wonderful. OMF is allowing us to keep this lease. However there are things we need to do here to prepare for our absence.

But yes, a big year and another year to learn more about throwing ourselves on God's loving mercy and kindness. I don't have a Scripture in mind yet to meditate on, though the passage I selected last time we did this (2014-2015) is still most relevant: Hebrews 12:1-3. In the coming weeks I'll be pondering the idea of selecting a different passage.

The verse on my desk Scripture calendar for Jan 1 is "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" That is a good verse to remember as we start a year that could have more rough patches in it than a usual year.

So there you go. It's a strange year coming up for us. One that will make us seem even more on the edge of ordinary than usual. I plan to continue to blog as best I can and through that continue to show the "ordinariness" of our lives that might be hard to see if you are just looking on at a distance.

Happy New Year from Tokyo!

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