Hello friends! We are so thrilled to finally be writing our first newsletter from Japan. The Lord has seen us through so many challenges, and we are grateful for his provision, as well as your prayers on our behalf. That we are writing this today from Japan is evidence of his working, and that he has answered those prayers.
Our journey back to Japan went down without a hitch, although that doesn’t mean it was easy, necessarily! We said goodbye to Leslie’s family bright and early Saturday, November 28th, departing from Pensacola to Dallas, where we then boarded our flight to Japan. That flight took a little over 13 hours and landed us at Narita International Airport a little after 3 pm Sunday, November 29th. After we landed is when the fun really began. Immediately after getting off the plane, we were ushered to a testing area where all five of us provided a saliva sample. We were then moved along to a waiting area (after some paperwork), where we stayed for about an hour until our results came.
Those results were thankfully negative, and we then moved along to immigration. After another round or two of paperwork and waiting to receive our residency cards, we were finally able to get our baggage and go through customs. After that, we went and picked up our mobile wifi hotspot and shipped the big luggage to our soon-to-be house, and then headed to our hotel for the night. From landing to arriving at the hotel, it took about 3 hours or so, which was actually very good, although it was at least double the time it would normally take. From leaving our house in Florida to arriving at the hotel, it took a little less than 24 hours, which again isn’t bad considering we were traveling in a pandemic! God was with us!
After a good night’s sleep at our hotel, our sister Nao came and picked us up. Normally we would use public transportation to get home (i.e. a train), but because of COVID-19, the government has called on all incoming travelers to avoid the use of public transportation for 14 days. So, after another hour or so car ride, we arrived in Matsudo, where Nao dropped us off at the church building.
Our sister Mrs. Sanpei met us at the building and helped Leslie take care of a bunch of important paperwork for the rest of the day, including registering with the city and signing the lease for our house. Although we started quarantine upon arriving, the government allows us to take care of necessary business and do other needed activities like shopping for groceries. However, other than this, we are to remain inside – no going to restaurants, hanging out with friends, etc., and of course we are called upon to wear a mask anytime we are out. Also, we are required to answer a daily symptoms questionnaire for the first 14 days.
After that first day in Matsudo, we spent one night at an Airbnb downtown, and then the next day was able to get into our own home, which has made the rest of quarantine much more enjoyable (to the extent that it can be enjoyable), and less expensive. Getting set up has been put on hold largely because we can’t go out and shop easily. We have ordered a number of things online through Amazon and other services, but the house is still pretty sparse at the moment. Thankfully, several friends have loaned us some things to use, so we at least have warm bedding at night and other basic necessities to tide us over until quarantine ends.
As of this writing, we have about 6 days left of quarantine. On Monday, Dec. 14th, we will be able to get out of the house do other activities as we wish. Then we can really start setting things up and getting settled more fully.
This has certainly been a strange experience, but we are grateful to have completed the journey and be here, ready to get back to the work. Please continue praying for us here, that we can serve the Lord faithfully and produce much fruit for his kingdom. We can’t wait to see what God will do!
Leslie was able to put together a brief behind-the-scenes video of our journey here, starting from our early morning departure in Florida. Although we couldn’t show everything – various restrictions created obstacles throughout the journey – this should give you an idea of what it was like to travel back. Click on the image below to watch the video. We hope you enjoy it!