“I Wait”

I’d like to introduce you to Viktor Navorski. Viktor has a waiting problem. Due to some unusual bureaucratic legalities, Viktor, played by Tom Hanks in The Terminal, is stuck living every day in JFK’s international terminal. He can’t return to his home country, and he’s not allowed to walk on American soil. After living at the airport for many weeks, his nemesis, Frank, aka the Guy in Charge, gets tired of dealing with Viktor. Frank arranges a temporary breach in security to allow Viktor to leave the airport. As Viktor stands before the doors leading to the US, he struggles with the decision to leave, knowing he would be breaking the rules. Finally, he turns, looks directly at the security camera (and Frank) and says, “I wait.”

As I think about our current situation here in East Tennessee, those two words keep coming to mind — “I wait.”

Today at 1:30pm, we were scheduled to depart from Charlotte for Tokyo — to begin the next journey in our lives, to start setting up the house we had waiting for us and to get acclimated before the kids’ school begins in August. However, the Japanese borders have been closed (as they are in many countries) since April and currently show few signs of opening soon. I wait.

We continue to pray daily that the borders would be opened. As COVID-19 numbers fall, the world economy strains to recover. And as Japan continues to prepare for the 2021 Olympics, we hope to see the borders open and flights resume. I wait.

The first part of our visa application is currently waiting in an office in Tokyo. Once travel restrictions are lifted, and that part has been completed, we will submit the final portion to the Japanese Consulate in Nashville. We’ll also put the house up for sale, pack, and start searching for plane tickets. Until then, I wait.

As it looks like we’ll be here for at least a few more months, Lauren has begun to make homeschooling plans for the coming school year. My job remains stable, and we praise God that the company I work for has been largely untouched economically by current events! We are delaying the sale of our house until we hear further about when our visas might arrive. Sadly, we had to let go of the lease on the wonderful house that was waiting for us in Tokyo. However, we have great joy and peace in the knowledge that God is sovereign, and he has a perfect plan for our family, and the work he has called us to in Japan.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers, encouragement, support and partnership! There have been so many emails, Facebook messages and texts to check in, to say “hello” and to offer words of encouragement. We can’t begin to express how much those mean to us and how far they carry us during many difficult days. Some of my sweetest moments in the past few months have been talking and praying with many of you. We also want to thank you for your continued financial giving. Even during these unique times, we have seen an increase in our monthly support. God’s provision and blessings continue to amaze us.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
— Psalm 27:14

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
— Psalm 39:7

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
— Romans 12:12

Please feel free to email, text, call or message Lauren and I any time to chat, ask questions, catch up or pray — we love staying in touch with you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you. Grace and Peace.

— Jonathan

Upcoming Schedule

Here’s what we have coming up. Like so many things, it feels like everything is “subject to change.”

  • ??? — apply for Japanese visas, put the house up for sale, leave for Japan


  • Increased financial partnership.
  • For extended family time with Jonathan’s parents and Lauren’s brother, sister-in-law and family.
  • For an extended opportunity to be with friends, family and our church before leaving for Japan.

Prayer Requests

We are so grateful for those that are praying for us. We would also like to pray for you! Please email us if there is something you’d like us to pray for — briehlsinjapan@gmail.com. If you would pray with us:

  • We have had some difficulties with Z’s eating and sleeping. Please pray that Z would begin to sleep and eat better.
  • As we wait for travel to open to Japan, please pray for decisions concerning leaving and decisions we must make as we wait.
  • Please pray that Japan’s borders would open before the kid’s school starts in August.
  • Please pray for us, and especially the children, as we begin to think about and to say “goodbyes” to those we might not see again until we return to the US.
  • For the health and healing of those sick from the COVID-19 virus in the US, Japan and throughout the world.
  • For you and others reading this email—for protection and daily needs through these times.
  • That God would help us connect with those who would wish to partner with us through prayer and monthly financial giving, even as we must meet in new ways.