“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
We PCS’d from our second duty station, Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, to Germantown, Maryland, USA. We went to Japan from San Diego, CA with a 4 month old and returned to America with an almost 3 year old and an 18 month old. We added to our collection while we were there.
Moms, this one is for you.
Scary #1 – Maybe you’ve been in that place where you have to leave your home country and relocate to another. You’re bringing your family, and you can’t even reassure them that all will be well, because you have never done it either. At one point I imagined being upside down in Japan…because it is on the opposite side of the world, for goodness sake.
Scary #2 – Maybe you got to your temporary lodging, your temp goods arrive two weeks later. It’s great to see the stuff, but it has to go somewhere. Time for house hunting! What is that spouse? You can’t get leave to help find us a home because there is no base housing available? Great. I’ll do that, with our teeny tiny baby.
Be Strong and Courageous
Scary #3 – Foreign Drivers Training and learning to drive on the LEFT. Learning the mantra and repeating it over and over and over: stay to the left, stay to the left, stay to the left…
Be Strong and Courageous, Do not be Afraid
Scary #4 – Getting pregnant while knowing there is not an American hospital that delivers babies in your area. You make plans to fly to Yokosuka, an American Navy base near Tokyo, in the last part of your trimester that is okay to fly during. Then you learn that the person who said they would come TAD to take your husband’s place says they can’t come now. Now you learn you have to have your baby in a foreign hospital. To Scary #5…
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them,
Scary #5 – Giving birth to your baby on a Sunday in Japan. Sunday is their only full day off. The city is packed with people and everyone in Japan is out driving their car. Your husband hits the only pothole in the neighborhood that is 6 inches or more deep. Sitting in traffic is a good plan. In Japan, you don’t make a fuss. I made a fuss when I reached over and laid on the horn and never let it go until someone finally ‘took notice’. In Japan you don’t take note of another’s error. This helps the person who made a mistake ‘save face’. You know, right then, I wasn’t worried about that at all.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you.
Not so Scary after the Fact# 5 – Location: Higashijima Ladies Clinic – Delivering a baby in Japan while the Doctor is out on his only day off. He did arrive, but only after the delivery. In Japan there is no pain management for delivery, except walking and breathing. I didn’t have time for that. The retired obstetrician made it in. His son had taken the business over for him. I’m not sure when he took it over, but my ‘new’ doctor was probably close to 88 years old. There was no English spoken in the delivery room. Just me and my husband. I know a lot of you don’t get to have your husband there, so I knew I was a lucky one. I asked him ‘when do I push?’ He answered ‘we’ll just try to read their faces’. Within 45 minutes we had added a Brat to our family. Two Brats, one made in Japan.
He will not fail you
Not so Scary after the Fact #4 – Blending in with your surroundings is a bit tricky in Japan. Having two little children made that easy. They became our ‘little ambassadors’. Meeting people became easy. Everybody loves a baby.
He will not fail you or abandon you.
NsSatF #3 – Eating crazy new foods isn’t something we are all comfortable with. As a family we all now have a love, and sometimes severe cravings, for creatures of the sea. They can be prepared just about any way and our family will be thankful and ever so pleased.
Why do I have a Bible verse in my story?
NsSatF #2 – Learning to read the Japanese language. There are 4 ‘alphabets’ in the Japanese language. They are Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana and Romanji. It’s like a decoding project to learn it, to read it and to speak it. Lucky for me as a mom of littles, I learned a lot of the language alongside of them. As I moved around my community of Kashimae-Cho, I met Japanese mommies, grandparents, etc., who were eager to talk to the kids, ask their age and offer them candy or snacks. I can’t believe what I picked up and what I have retained.
Tell me, why the Bible verse?
NsSatF #1 – Leaving the country at the end of our tour was a hard thing to do. From the time we left, we rallied to go back. Across the street from our house, a Japanese family had ‘adopted’ our boys into their family. We shared holidays, we went on outings, we sat in each others’ living rooms and did our best to have conversations. They even gave me cooking lessons! Our children called them ‘Baba’ and ‘Jiji’, as this is ‘baby ease’ for grandma and grandpa.
This verse, I was reminded of when we made it to our new duty station. My son was old enough to be a tot at the Vacation Bible School at the church across the way from our new home, Neelsville Presbyterian Church on Hwy 355 in Germantown, MD. I went to pick him up and this was the theme song. He proudly showed his muscles for the song. We have sung this song in our home since 1997. My children had started their lives in a place they may never return to. They said their first real ‘good-byes’ to those who loved and cared so much for them. They had really been through so much, but only remember so little. In their eyes I could see ‘strong’ and ‘courageous’ knowing that they would forever have a God with them, who would never go away. That’s having Faith. Military life needs this for all of us, especially our kids. There are so many times to feel alone through the trials, but we know we are never alone. This brings us peace in the storm. In this we know that all will be well.