On Thursday, our group of nine Japanese pastor friends returned to Nagoya. I wasn’t expecting it but I cried after we said our goodbyes. We had spent sixteen packed days with these folks and I felt the loss very keenly.

This type of meeting was practically our daily norm! We would meet in a conference room (sometimes a house) with a church planter, pastor, or church leader and would hear a lengthy presentation about a church and then have a time of Q&A. Matthias or another veteran missionary named Marlene served as translators; it was quite a challenge to translate between the two languages. There are so many concepts and ways of thinking that are almost impossible to translate due to the cultural differences but I think Marlene and my dear husband did a great job!

We had some time for sightseeing and I am so thankful to have seen such astoundingly beautiful parts of Germany with my own eyes. Here is a statue of Bach near the Bachhaus in his birthplace of Eisenach.

The gardens at the Bachhaus

Cute, huh?

My personal highlight of the trip was going to Wartburg (where Martin Luther translated the Bible into German).

Yep, THAT door! The one where it is said that Luther nailed the 95 Theses. (One of the Japanese pastors took this photo, by the way.)

In front of the Reichstag in Berlin

The group even held a “Japan Night” event open to the public to talk about the recent tragic events in Japan.

Singing a hymn in Japanese at a church in Berlin

With our Japanese Hauskreis (small group) in Berlin

We also got to see lots of old friends in Berlin which was awesome! Here I am with my sweet Peruvian friend and her cute granddaughter. By the way, I love how affectionate and touchy-feely Latin American people can be – can you see how she’s holding my hand like a mother? It is truly a wonderful blessing to have friends all over the world and speak so many languages.

Now I am in recovery mode and enjoying some quiet time. I’ve been cleaning up the apartment, experimenting with smoothies on our new blender, and reading a lot. (By the way, a pineapple-mango-mint smoothie is one of my favorites ever!) This morning, I spent a while reading Les Misérables which is a book I’ve been meaning for read for a long time; Victor Hugo is a wonderful author but a bit on the wordy side, for sure! I’m also reading a wonderful biography about William Wilberforce by Eric Metaxas called Amazing Grace. It’s a real page turner and I will probably be finished in a few days since I cannot put it down.

Matthias and I will be traveling to at least three churches in the next few weeks to speak about Japan. Well, Matthias will be doing most of the talking since I still have a LONG way to go with my German. We hope to be back in Japan next year, but things are not set at all. We are trusting God to guide us wherever He wants us, whenever He wants.