Posted by: grantmiho | May 19, 2011

Moving On Up (the street)

In the next few weeks, we will be moving from the church apartment to a new place just down the street about 200 meters. I could probably hit the apartment complex from the church entrance with a 5-iron (but who would hit golf balls in the middle of a busy street?). We imagine that some of you might be concerned for us and have questions about the decisions we have needed to make recently. If we fail to address questions or thoughts you might have, please email us or post in the comments and we will try to answer you.

Why do we need to move? Due to the disasters, we had experienced nearly daily aftershocks. This caused incredible stress and would often wake Allie up in the night (which meant we were woken up too). As the church building where we live is over 40 years old and we noticed a few cracks in the sanctuary, we felt the need to have somebody come and assess the durability of the building. New buildings have to meet high earthquake safety limits, especially after the 1995 major earthquake in Kobe. A few weeks ago we found out that not only was the building unfit for future earthquakes, but termites and water damage have caused extra problems on the building structure. Our church is discerning how to fix these problems, given our limited budget. Though the building should be suitable for church services, we do not feel comfortable spending most of the day in the space, especially for the safety of Allie. With all of the other pressures, this has added an extra burden and fear. Luckily, we found a space nearby after meeting with a few real estate agents.

Enjoying a Welcome Dinner for Tommy

How did you decide on staying in Japan? For over a month, we wrestled back and forth about what to do. We enjoyed spending a week in Kobe to get away from the situation for a bit. As we were concerned primarily about Allie’s health and our safety, the thought of going back to the States for a short while seemed very alluring. At the same time, we felt a desire to remain here to serve and care for those around us in need at this present moment. The thought of halting Grant’s language study also was a factor. Ultimately, we sense it was God who helped comfort us to stay here. This came about through encouraging gifts and words from friends and supporters. Our Boston friend Tommy moving nearby to work also was a huge blessing. Not only do we appreciate having a friend and partner to serve with, but he has allowed us to purchase foreign produce for Allie (as we still try to avoid Japanese veggies and certain food products). Times of scripture reading have also provided a sense of peace and reassurance that God is with us here. Not all of our fears or concerns are alleviated, but this move will release us from some of our most pressing worries.

How have you been handling everything? That’s a tough question. Depending on the day or which of us you ask, you might get varying answers. More and more, we are doing better and managing. Awhile back we curiously looked at some stress tests, yet our circumstances never appeared (typical q’s asked about recent job transfers, divorce, death in the family, etc.). They didn’t ask if you have recently gone through a major earthquake(s), radiation concerns, national disaster, etc. Somebody told us that we have gone through enough events for a lifetime in a six-month window of time. We have a newborn, moved to a new country, Grant is learning a new language, his mom suffered a stroke and life-threatening burns and subsequent surgeries, faced multiple disasters, found out we are living in an unsafe apartment, plan another move, and continue with ministry life. Yet, somehow God’s grace has been sufficient to sustain us. Since we heard the report of the church building, we have been living in southern Yokohama with Miho’s parents. This has been tough on Grant’s commute to language school in Tokyo, but we have managed to continue with ministries and things. Having her parents help has also been a major blessing, as it has allowed us to get some rest and attend various meetings without pressure of hauling Allie out for a long commute or event.

What are your needs for this move? We had budgeted enough money to cover rent in our second year of service, just in case we needed more space to live or for ministry in the church building. Yet, this disaster obviously caught us by surprise. Thus, we are in need to raise an additional amount of support to cover the costs involved in the move, rent for these next five months, a $250/month difference in rent from what we had budgeted (as our area is more expensive than we had anticipated), and fees for the realtor and security deposit (together- 3 months rent). The recent drop in the dollar-yen exchange rate has also affected our budget, in that we need more to cover the same expenses. Thus, the total figure that we need to raise is $20,000. Please consider giving a one-time gift towards this need, or help us out by giving monthly. Just click the “Contact and Giving Information” for details on how to give online (, send a check, or set up a regular direct deposit (Electronic Funds Transfer Form). Whether you can give $50, 100, or even 500, we would greatly appreciate your partnership in allowing us to remain here to serve and love the people of Japan.

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