House Hunting

It’s really hot, isn’t it! Atlanta is hot too.

This summer, I’ve been sweating a lot.
The cause is moving.

In Japan, when looking for a rental property, you should consider the “area,” “rent,” and “layout,” and then the real estate staff will take you here and there by car, and you can have fun thinking about this and that.

In the case of America, it seems that searching for rental properties online is common.

In our case, for the past year since moving to the U.S. last year, we have been living with two American men. One of them is going to move out, and all the rent and living expenses have been split evenly, so losing one person is a big change. Living together always requires filling the gap left by the reduced number of people and is influenced by the situation. Furthermore, our oldest daughter is already in high school. I thought it might be time for her to stop living with the opposite sex.

So, that’s why we decided to move!

From there, it’s… I never thought it would be so difficult…

In Georgia, you are required to provide proof that your “monthly income is more than three months’ worth of rent.” Real estate has skyrocketed since COVID, and the hurdles are high (ーー;) Furthermore, “safety” and “school district” are clearly reflected in the rent.

House hunting is extremely challenging.

Since I couldn’t find anything, online searches ended up extending to remote suburban areas with almost no people. But you know, when you’re pushed to the edge, that’s how it goes.

In such an area, I found a house that stuck in my mind. I checked the local area, and it seemed safe (because it’s rural), so I started entering information into the application form right away!

The screen displayed “You are the first applicant!!” I did it! All that was left was to submit the application online, and…

…the property suddenly disappeared?!

When I inquired, they said someone else had signed the contract just before me. I had been searching for five months, and it was the only place I wanted to be.

Oh no… it was a dark day. I finally found one after five months.

The next day, I suddenly received a call from a pastor in Atlanta, and he said, “A property from someone I know is about to become available.” It was an area that I had been unable to find for so long.

Without even seeing the property, I said, “Please, that’s where I want to go.”

If I had signed the contract for the previous property, this story wouldn’t exist. It was the best place I’ve ever been to.

When I lost it once, it was pitch dark. I wish I had known this outcome in advance, but God suddenly opens up unexpected places at unexpected times. We often forget, but God truly opens up a path in seemingly impossible places, doesn’t He!

Upon resignation as JCFN Associate Staff: Yoshiki Saeki

I am Yoshiki Saeki, the North Associate Staff. As of the end of June 2023, I will be closing the chapter on my activities with JCFN Associates. Along with my farewell, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on what God has done during the approximately ten years of my involvement with JCFN through this article.

This content overlaps with what I contributed to the 30th-anniversary annual report, but my connection with JCFN began with ec01 and ec02 on a bitterly cold snowy mountain in 2001. Starting a youth program, which did not exist at the time, was the beginning with my wife. Each time I hear about the blessings on the work of ec Youth since then, I am overwhelmed by the Lord’s plan to use small acts of service richly. Additionally, the fact that my firstborn son, born around the time I assumed this position, is now reaching the age to participate in ec Youth is further surprising.

The greatest turning point (or event?) in my involvement with JCFN was serving as the director of the planning committee for ec 10 and ec 11. At the time, I was facing a dead end in my work at the church where I was serving as a staff member and was in a state of recovery from burnout. From a human perspective, it was not the best timing at all. However, I was granted peace in being called to this work, an opportunity to confront my true self and reevaluate the calling given by God. During the two years as an director role, I immersed myself in this work. The Lord brought together wonderful committee members, including the JCFN staff members, and I learned many things during this period.

Through sharing, prayer, reflection, planning, sometimes redirection, decision-making, and the process of weaving programs together around the given themes, God consistently showed blessings beyond our plans and expectations. Throughout this season, God gently and powerfully touched me while I was falling, leading me to the work I am entrusted with now.

Even after ec, I was allowed to continue my involvement as an Associate Staff. While working full-time at a Japanese company, and being involved in house church activities in Portland, I had time constraints (JCFN staff members, I appreciate your patience with me always being on the edge of deadlines). It was a time of personal mentorship, sending off returnees, and networking opportunities. I am thankful for being placed within the process of connecting, nurturing, and sending, as described in JCFN’s mission statement. God is the one who sends us, and through JCFN, I felt like I was on a journey where I touched upon God’s will to send, and was further invited to God’s kingdom projects. In business, at home, in school, in the local community, God is faithfully working toward His covenant and continually inviting. This was one of the blessings I received through working at JCFN. Additionally, in February 2022, I received the grace of being ordained as a pastor in my mother church. Currently, while still working for a company, I am serving as a pastor for the Japanese ministry at a church in Portland, which is involved in multicultural and multilingual activities. Through fellowship with brothers and sisters from various cultures, I receive training and encouragement daily to perceive God’s work in the diversity, guided by the Holy Spirit, within a local context and a global perspective.

Looking back, I can certainly say that through my work, encounters, and interactions with JCFN, I have been constantly encouraged to walk faithfully in the calling I have been given. I would like to take this opportunity to deeply thank all JCFN members who have supported me with love and patience as I navigated my imperfect journey thus far. As the small mustard seed-like work planted in this land called JCFN continues, I cannot help but hope that it will bear even richer fruits through all of us scattered in various places. My involvement as a Associate Staff comes to a close, but I ask for your continued support in the Lord.

As we earnestly pray for His kingdom to come to this land. – Yoshiki Saeki


Tweet from the staff: Do you know what WTP is?(Setsu Shimizu)

Have you ever heard of “WTP”?

This is a Japanese Christian pod Pacific Broadcasting Association (PBA). And it’s the most popular podcast in the religious category!

It’s a talk show hosted by the well-known Rev. Shigenori Oshima, who is also familiar to JCFN, where he invites various guests. When it started in 2016, it was a program co-hosted by Rev. Masaru Asaoka, one of the speakers at EC23. Anyway, it’s really funny and interesting. They talk about things completely unrelated to faith, like fashion, hobbies, and food, but they also honestly and deeply answer various questions about faith based on their own experiences. There are many insightful and educational moments on the show.

And guess what, I appeared on it too!!! It airs on days with a 7 in them.

By the way, my husband, Mao, also appeared on the show before. It’s the program where the phrase “Pray and let go!!” was born.


Mao’s appearance on Episode 065

Mao’s appearance on Episode 066 


Mao also talks a lot about JCFN. Of course, I do too!

If you’re interested, please give it a listen! (But be warned, once you start, you might want to listen to all the back episodes too!)

Episode 138 (guest: Setsu 1)

Episode 139 (guest: Setsu 2)

Episode 140 (guest: Setsu 3)

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