We’re now in our house, the one that has become somewhat famous for it’s upstairs toilet and for being right next door to the church we go to! (For more on that story see the previous post.)
When I was shown around the house, it was a bit grotty with lots of mould on the walls. Apparently, the previous tenants had not taken such good care of the place. But the landlords kindly said they would get the place cleaned up, re-paper the walls, and put a new gas hob cooker in the kitchen. When it came to it, they also put up new custom made curtains, put in one of those fancy electric toilet seats, and installed a new air con, a rare luxury in Hokkaido with its long cold winters! But it can get quite hot in August and they said that the house gets a lot of sunlight so heats up. Even since we moved in, they have installed a stair gate so baby Boaz is safer, and child-safe locks on all the windows. As well as charging us minimal rent, they waived the first month’s rent all together, as well as deposits and ‘thank you money’ that is normally required by landlords in Japan. Suffice to say, we have amazing landlords! They are Christians and see this as a way of supporting OMF and mission in Japan.
One down side of all of this work that they were kindly having done for us, was that it took longer for us to be able to move in. So, whilst we had taken a week off language school to move in, in the end we couldn’t officially move in until the Wednesday, and we didn’t have beds ready then. So, it wasn’t until Thursday that we were actually moved in.
We were allowed, though, to move our stuff from the OMF warehouse into the house on the Sunday before, but we could only put it in 2 rooms of the house. When I went to collect our belongings from the warehouse, I wasn’t sure what state it would be in. I was prepared for mould. But I hadn’t prepared for what I saw … a family of mice had made their home in the middle of all our stuff, using bits of our futon for their own bedding, using the dining table to sharpen their teeth on, and using all the little nooks and crannies of drawers and boxes as a playground … or toilet. (I will never look at chocolate chips the same way again.)
Last time we were in Japan, almost all our furniture was second hand. So it felt ironic that the one piece of furniture we bought new, our sofa, ended up going in the skip after the mice had been at it. It has certainly made me think twice as we have sought to buy replacement furniture; if this is just going to get mouldy or eaten by rodents in a few years, does it really matter which shade of brown it is?
Also, I’ve rediscovered clothes I’d forgotten about and survived without for over a year. Now, there’s a lot of laundry to be done as the clothes are musty or mouldy. It’s made me think again, do I really need all these clothes? And where am I going to put them all?!
I was often reminded of this passage in the sermon on the mount:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
I could add, “where mice chew and poo”!
Jesus goes on to say, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I want to be better at laying up treasures in heaven and having my heart there, rather than on earth.
- please pray that we would not store up treasure on earth but in heaven and that our hearts would be there
- thank God for lots of help from Japanese christians and fellow missionaries and for such kind landlords
- pray we’d be able to settle into our new home, even as we look forward to our eternal home
p.s. I meant to tell you in the last post, but if you want a reminder of why we are in Japan, have a listen to this sermon from our last Sunday in the UK when we were recommissioned to go back to Japan.