Greetings from Hokkaido


Starting tomorrow I’m speaking at a missionary retreat in a center in the mountains here in Hokkaido, the large northern island of Japan. I left home at 4 am on Monday morning and traveled for almost 28 hours, but it was a problem-free trip. My plane left without delay from Chicago, and its route took us over the Canadian Rockies. They were as magnificent as I’d always heard — oyster-colored mounds and peaks as far as I could see into the horizon. Deep shadows filled the valleys and chasms, except for one apparently deep valley that appeared to be completely filled with ice and draping snow with a smooth surface. I wondered if it might be a glacier.

Alaska was even more beautiful. I don’t recall having ever flown over Alaska before, and it was stunning — Alp-like, snow-clad peaks rising from a thick soup of clouds. And then in other places, the landscape looked other-worldly — like a frozen wasteland. Rivers and lakes and forests and barren lands, all frozen solid and shrouded in white ice. There were occasional roads and train tracks, but they appeared to be frozen solid, too.

The Bering Sea was frozen, too, with huge sheets of ice that were cracked like a windshield that’s been in a wreck.

Arriving in Tokyo, I had a three-hour layover before my flight north, so I found a row of seats in the departures lounge and lay down and slept like a bum on a park bench.

In Sapporo, Mirial Gainer and Judy Bailey met me at the airport, and we had a slippery late-night, hour-long drive through the snow to get to the home of Dale and Sandra Bishop, where I’m staying for a couple of days. There was about a foot of snow that fell yesterday, and it appears to me that there’s about four or five feet on the ground. But today has been bright and beautiful.

Tomorrow we travel to our retreat center on the mountain. I’m still working on what I’ll share, so I would appreciate your prayers.

PS – For those of you following the story of Lucy the Sheep, I’ve been told that it became necessary to put her to sleep. Thanks, Ethan, for taking care of the vet and the burial; and thank you, Hannah, for being there, too!