This is an edited version of a missionary letter sent by the Rev. Nathan and Sharonette Bowman, ELCA missionaries who have served in Japan for 25 years.
Some times, things do not go as planned. Some thing breaks, makes a funny sound, or otherwise indicates its displeasure at running or operating. Some times every thing appears normal, until some accumulation of dust in a corner appears. Then we are challenged with the chore of
Part of the ongoing learning process of being a missionary is the challenge of trying to fix things. Maintaining machines, appliances, house and property are all part of the “given” that most of us live with. Three major appliances in our household are in currently need of repair. We will fix them ourselves, with a little help from the Internet.
Every other year, our parsonage faces major repair for damage caused by typhoons and heavy rains. This year, the crisis crept up on us quietly. This year, with the onset of the rainy season, we have an infestation of termites; at least three nests are in the walls of our house. The silent destroyers were attacking the critical structural focal points of the house, at least on one corner and on the south side, damaging first and second floors and joining beams. We will need to wait out rainy season for the work to begin. Asbestos insulation in the walls and floors (installed 60 years ago) serve as a compounding factor. Needless to say, we will not be fixing this problem ourselves.
Even though Boku dekiru—“I (the male form of I) can do it”—was likely my first spoken sentence, there are certain things we just cannot fix on our own: broken relationships, words that have caused offense, insensitivity, an arrogant and prideful spirit…. Even in our greatest strength we need Jesus. There simply is nothing that outdoes the love and faithful compassion of Jesus Christ for us. It is in Jesus that we are forgiven, healed, cleansed, restored, filled, and (you can hear it coming)
To God be the Glory!
—The Rev. Nathan and Sharonette Bowman
on September 3rd, 2010 at 11:16 pm
So good to hear again what is happening in your lives. The repair sounds like a huge job.
on September 10th, 2010 at 8:33 am
Hi Nathan and Sharonette,
So good to hear a little about your lives. Sorry we missed you last September at the 100th JLC celebration in Tokyo. Hope your family is well. We have fond memories of going out to Japan with you many years ago. My brother, Wes Jacobsen, is on sabbatical from Harvard in Tokyo and Kyoto this year. Say hi to him if you see him! We too have fixing issues. We have to put on a new roof next week as the tiles and roofing have been damaged by the intense South Florida weather and we have several ceiling leaks. Many blessings,