Watching And Waiting

Greetings friends! It has been a long time since our last update — here’s what’s been going on.

Visa Update

Japan was closed to all foreign travelers for most of last year, and has been for all of this year as well, with few exceptions. There was a short window in the fall when we were eligible for visas, but medical issues hindered our ability to travel at that time. The current closure does not have an expected end date; we are watching for changes as their vaccine roll-out advances and as the state of emergency comes to an end. We are resting in the knowledge that God’s timing is perfect.

Medical Update

  • Lauren’s dad was diagnosed with cancer in August, had surgery in September, and endured about 4 months of chemotherapy. Praise God with us that the cancer is gone!
  • Jonathan contracted COVID-19 with moderate illness in mid-December. He recovered well.
  • Jonathan had a torn meniscus in January. The torn portion was sitting in such a way that he was unable to bend his knee, and it required prompt surgery.
  • Two days after surgery, Jonathan began having severe chest pain, and was diagnosed with multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli (blood clots in both lungs). Most likely these clots came from a clot that he probably had in his injured leg. His recent history of COVID-19 also put him at increased risk for blood clots. He spent five days in the hospital, and is continuing to feel stronger every day!

We’re thankful for God’s protection and provision through the last few months. It is His grace and peace that have helped Jonathan through many difficult days and nights. We’re also very thankful for all the prayers and words of encouragement we’ve received.

Family Update

  • While homeschooling with a new baby was  challenging, we ended our school year well, and will keep doing a little schoolwork through the summer. We finished 6th, 4th, and kindergarten!
  • You’ll remember that Z has been a big challenge in the area of sleep. We still had not seen improvement with this through the end of last year. Funny enough, he started sleeping better the SAME WEEK that Jonathan injured his knee in January. God answered prayer to begin relieving us of sleep deprivation exactly when we needed it!
  • The kids are keeping everyone busy this summer, being involved in swim team, soccer and basketball camps, jiu jitsu, swim lessons and parkour.
  • Jonathan, A and E took a “boys trip” to Nashville a couple weeks ago. They were able to combine attending The Alliance National Council with having a little fun. They had a great trip with many wonderful memories made!

Here are a few family photos!

Financial Update

  • Even with our delays, we have been blessed by so many ministry partners who have stuck with us — thank you!
  • Over the last few months we have seen a small decline and we are currently $800 short on our required monthly budget — what we will need for our day-to-day living when we reach Japan.
  • We are so grateful that we have reached 100% funding for outgoing expenses — our one time expenses to move, get settled and enroll the kids in school. (More about this in a future email)
  • We believe God will provide everything we need and ask that you would pray with us for an increase in monthly financial partnership.

One of our favorite parts about sending newsletters out are the responses we get back. We are so blessed each time by words of encouragement, to hear updates about families and churches and to just stay connected. Please feel free to email, text, call or message us any time to chat, ask questions, catch up or pray — we love staying in touch with you.

Thank you for your continued commitment, support, encouragement and prayers. We hope you are having a wonderful summer.

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

— Jonathan and Lauren


Upcoming Schedule

Here’s what we have coming up. Hopefully we’ll have more specific dates soon.

  • Summer — watching and waiting for Japan to open, hopefully packing and selling the house late summer. We may have an opportunity to attend marketplace ministries’ field forum in August.
  • Fall — we’re praying God will open doors and we can leave this fall.

Praises

  • For faithful ministry partners.
  • Z is sleeping and eating better!
  • For an extended opportunity to be with friends, family and our church before leaving for Japan.
  • For God’s protection of Jonathan through surgery and blood clots.
  • Besides us, there are four new international workers moving to join the Alliance in Japan this year (more on this and other ministry news next time)!

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:

  • Please pray for wisdom in decision making as we prepare to leave.
  • Please pray for Jonathan as he recovers from knee surgery, healing of his blood clots and for no future clots.
  • For God to prepare one great friend in Japan for each of our kids!
  • For our family as a whole, that together we would keep our eyes fixed on the One who knows all the answers, and leave the details to Him.