We arrived back in Germany last evening after a very long flight from Tokyo with a layover in Bejing. We flew with Air China for the first time – the service was half-decent but let’s just say I would not heartily recommend Air China to any of my friends. 🙂 While I am very thankful to be back in our own place and not be living out of our suitcases, we are very eager to be back in Japan again soon!

Today I’ve been spending the day unpacking, cooking, cleaning, and listening to music, all the while enjoying the beauty of springtime and the sound of the birds chirping outside. I am so thankful that I feel like my heart could burst with joy – I thank God for a wonderful time in Japan and we look forward to a busy and exciting season of preparation for our return to Tohoku on July 25th.

A quick story from Tohoku – this is my friend Yukari. We’re about the same age and I hope and pray she’ll be my first real friend in Ishinomaki, the kind to hang out with regularly and make lots of fun memories. We met on Easter Sunday because I noticed that she seemed very out of place. I walked up to her and said hello and she quickly informed me, “I don’t know anyone here. I came by myself and I am really scared to be a crowd of strangers.” For the rest of the day, I tried my best to keep my eye on her and chat with her as much as I was able. Later on, as we talked a bit more, she started sharing some of her problems and then burst into tears. Like an angel, another foreign Christian lady came to us and took Yukari by the hand, lovingly and gently talking with her for a long time in fluent Japanese. After we prayed together, I asked Yukari if she’d like to have lunch together a few days later. We went out for sushi and she shared with me what happened last March 11th – she barely survived the tsunami by fleeing to the second floor of the local supermarket for three days. While the lives of her family members were spared, she is now living in temporary housing, unemployed, and greatly struggling. She is a new Christian, and told me over and over how thankful she is to Jesus for his love and mercy towards her. In Japanese she said over and over, “Iesu-sama no koto ga daisuki.” Yukari gave Matthias permission to videotape her dramatic testimony of what happened on 3/11 and I hope once we get subtitles into the video I can post it on this blog. I am so eager to get back to Ishinomaki to love and serve folks just like her.