Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back (and forward)

What a gift it is to be able to look back on a year with thanksgiving. We truly had a wonderful year in 2010, and are anticipating another one in 2011.

Here's a look back at some of the reasons 2010 was a fantastic year, as well as some prayers for 2011.

We were able to be a the weddings of 4 of our friends/family, and meet 3 of our friends' new babies!

We were surprised with a puppy, Biscuit, who adopted us this past March.

We were able to spend our last Christmas in the states (for a while) with our families.

The decision was made to place us in Sapporo, Japan with Sapporo Evangelical Free Church with Pastor Kaji and his family (who we are very excited to meet!)

This coming year, we are looking forward to meeting our new church family in Sapporo, learning more and more and more Japanese, and ministering to our neighborhood in Japan.

Please pray with us that
-Our paperwork would be okayed and come through the proper channels quickly.
-That we would transition to life in Japan well.
-That God would prepare a special place for us with in our church and neighborhood.

Blessings to you and your family on this Eve of the New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Packing break

Packing is hard.

My brain is about to explode.

I am currently sitting with all of our stuff trying to decide what the bare minimum of stuff we should bring from America for 3 years in Japan.

It is even harder than it sounds.

And the poor cat thinks she is coming too.

On the plus side, we were able to sell our couches and are putting the money towards the "warm clothes fund." The down side of that is we now have nowhere to sit.

Ok. Back to work.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Church Profile

Sapporo Evangelical Free Church


Adonai International Church

Hokkaido, Japan

Partnering with Asian Access through the Church Planting Associate Ministry


Rev. Tsutomu Kaji, pictured above with his wife, Yoshiko, at a recent pastors' marriage conference. The Kajis have two daughters and two sons, all in their twenties. The Kaji family lives in the Sapporo church building with three of their children.


When the Evangelical Free Church of Japan celebrated its fiftieth anniversary 11 years ago, denominational leaders sounded the call for someone to move to the northern island of Hokkaido to pioneer new work. The Kajis responded to that call and moved. Since then Pastor Kaji has planted two churches. The two congregations’ membership now totals 43; weekly worship attendance averages 55. They have started outreach in a third location, near Sapporo station, where they want to plant their next church.


Years ago when they prayed for property in Sapporo, the Lord surprised the Kajis with a building right next to a university. In prayer they discerned God leading them to reach out to university students. Many students have come to Christ through the church members and short-term teams from Korea and the US. Pastor Kaji wants to expand this work through Asian Access missionaries, and is thankful the missionaries coming are much closer to the students in age than the Kajis are!

Before retiring in about ten years the Kajis want to complete their third and fourth Hokkaido church plants, reach many more for Christ and raise up the next pastor. As a step toward these goals, an assistant pastor will begin working with them in 2011, and will live in the Adonai Church building (about 45 minutes from the Sapporo location).


Evangelical Free


Sapporo, Japan’s 5th largest city with 1.9 million people

Chitose, a city near Sapporo

Ministry Plans

The Kajis have used English classes to reach people throughout their decades of ministry. Mrs. Kaji teaches children’s classes. The Kajis have not been able to have regular adult classes in recent years because there’s been no one to teach. They look forward to restarting this ministry and reaching, through the Borbas’ English classes, many university students and others in the neighborhood. They look forward to having the Borbas involved in their church plant with students and young adults near Sapporo Station, and to seeing how God will use the Borbas’ artistic abilities to enrich the church and create new relationship opportunities with non-Christians.

Partnership with Asian Access

Hokkaido Church Multiplication Network, 2008-2011

Summer ministry with short-term teams, 2009-2010

Area Coordinator's Comments

When Asian Access first began discussing new missionaries arriving in 2011, I thought, “We definitely need to place someone at Sapporo Evangelical Free.” I’m thrilled God has clearly confirmed His leading that Stephen and Kathryn Borba serve there.

The Kajis are harvest-focused and have a uniquely strong commitment to church planting. I’ve been impressed that they never get hung up on problems or challenges but keep their focus on what God is doing and what they pray He will do.

Once I commented to Pastor Kaji, “It’s too bad so many of the university students you lead to Christ move away after graduation.” His reply reflected his kingdom focus: “It’s O.K. We make sure they get well-grounded in the Word before they go, and then we find each a good church in the new location.” In that conversation and others, I’ve seen Pastor Kaji’s clear commitment to God’s kingdom work, not solely to building up his own church.

I once heard Pastor Kaji share with other pastors, “We want our weekly prayer meetings not to simply take members through the scheduled things: worshiping, reading the Bible, praying. We want our members to truly experience God’s presence.”

I look forward to seeing the Lord allows Stephen and Kathryn to experience His presence in new ways through ministry in Sapporo, and how He uses them to help many more people become followers of Christ in this country where more than 99% of the people remain unreached.

Tim Clark


Tim and Wakako Clark,

Asian Access Area Coordinators, Hokkaido

Pastor and Mrs. Kaji at the Sapporo Church with friends from the US.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow...

Last night, after many prayers, many months, and some more prayers, a decission was made about our placement in Japan.

Stephen and I will be serving with the Evangelical Free Church of Sapporo in Hokkaido, JP. We've been told the pastor, Kaji Sensei, is a visionary leader. His first church in Sapporo has already multiplied into two, and soon they will be working on their third.
One of the things we are most excited about is that the main church is located across the street from a university, and one of our ministries will be to college students. I'm already planning game nights for students I haven't even met yet!

As far as timing goes, it is looking like mid-January, although exact dates have not been set yet. At that point we will go into a 2 month language study period, and will begin officially working with the EV Free of Sapporo in March (after the A2 Staff retreat).

I'll keep you all updated about timelines. And I will let you know more about the church soon.

Thanks for your continued prayers. Our Lord has been and will continue to be faithful.

Monday, November 15, 2010

On your mark...

For those of you following the support raising saga.

-We are at 90% of our monthly pledges as of my writing this. Only 10% away from full support!


-A few weeks ago we received word that the Japan office had sent in our paperwork for our certificate of eligibility. This was of course followed quickly by our introduction to Japanese bureaucracy.
Turns out by include a standard passport photo (2x2 in), The Japanese government actually meant include a weirdly sized passport style photo (30 x 40 mm). After finding this out we searched Fresno for the only photo lab that would custom print passport photos. Thank you Fotech labs! We love you. Before the end of the week, we had the new photos in, and the C.O.E. process officially began.

Please keep this process in your prayers. Getting our C.O.E could take anywhere from 1 to 2 months, depending on how fast the Japanese government processes the paperwork. Once it is issued, we will have 90 days to be in Japan before it expires.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If, Then

If you cross your eyes, Then they will stick that way.
If it is raining, Then you will need an umbrella.
If you give a mouse a cookie, Then he'll want a drink of water...

If, then statements have been ruling our lives and our schedules. It is quite hard to make plans when you don't know what the next months hold. Likewise, it is hard to get people excited about the future when the details are uncertain.

In the realm of future ministry in Japan, future moving plans, future plans with family; If-Then's have been the only thing we can plan on. I would like to share, in general, where we are and what our time line looks like at this time through the lens of our if's and then's.
For those of you (like me) who like to deal in certainties, actualities, and dates; I am sorry, welcome to our world.

As of writing this we are at 76% in monthly support commitments.
If we reach 85% in monthly support commitments, Then we can leave, at most, 3 months after that point.

SO, If that happens in Late October, then we will leave in Late January.
If that happens in Mid-November, then we will leave in Mid-February.
If that happens in Late November, Then we will leave in Late February.

The amount of time it takes between getting to 85% and getting on a plane for Japan depends on how long it takes to get a certificate of eligibility to work in Japan, and how quickly the rest of our support comes in.

So, If it takes 1 month to get the Certificate of eligibility, and our remaining support comes in quickly, Then we can leave earlier.
If it takes 2 months to get the certificate of eligibility, and our remaining support comes in slowly, Then we will leave later.

the Japanese Yen is at an all time high against the Dollar, which mean that the Dollar has less purchasing power in Japan. This has effected our support ( we were at 80% before the Yen jumped).

So, If the Yen lowers back to normal, Then we will be closer to reaching our goals, and leaving for Japan.
If the Yen stays where it is, Then we will continue to raise support to make up for the decreased purchase power of the Yen.

Please pray with us that God would continue to orchestrate our plans and that we would be content to trust Him for each new day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Surprise Fruit

There is one very important thing you should know about me: I have the blackest thumb on this planet. I have succeeded in killing any plant I set out to grow. My roommate from college can attest to the rosemary bush that went bald on one side and then turned brown and died. My husband can give you the list of potted plants I thought would be fun to grow, then only to end up with a pot of dirt with a stick poking out.

So, it was my utter and complete surprise when I discovered that in my own yard there was a harvest of grapes on the back fence. A high schooler pointed them out to us when he was over. I honestly don't think I would have even found them; they were so hidden by the branches and leaves.
IMG_1349 IMG_1348

As a non-aggie type, there are somethings in the bible that always left me scratching my head. But now, after being up close and personal with a grape vine at harvest time, I have a new appreciation for John 15. This morning I set out with my scissors and a basket, and as I was collecting the harvest I enjoyed learning a bit more about a metaphore Christ uses for our relationship with Himself.

Jesus says "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5)." Jesus is not saying, "if you want to remain in me, you better pull your weight and produce fruit." Or, "Show me your commitment, and make some fruit!"
I did NOTHING to help these grapes grow, besides set the sprinklers. Producing fruit was natural. As long as the branches were connected to the vine, they made grapes.

"He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more (John 15:2)."
It turns out prunning is an essential part of the proccess that I missed. Not only did my lack of prunning cause me to almost miss the fruit on the branches, but If I had, more of the grapes would have been of a higher quality.
IMG_1352 IMG_1350

Have you ever produced any "surprise fruit" in your walk with God?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not of our Hands

There is a lesson I am forever learning. If you look back through this blog, through my journals, my prayers, it seems God is always at work in me regarding patience.

So, as always, that is what God is stirring in my life in this season.

A song has been in my head recently. It is by a band that lead worship at Hume Lake Winter Camp, 2 years ago: 1000 Generation. The first time I heard this song, I felt the singer talking to me. At that season in my life, we were still in the application phase; waiting to hear if we would be accepted as missionaries with Asian Access. And as always, my heart wanted to press the fast forward button to live in the next stage of life (which are currently in). Well, now that we are here, does it surprise you that I am ready to press the fast forward button again to be in the next phase, the being-missionaries-in-Japan phase? So, once again, the Lord has brought this song to my heart.

"Let this be not of our hands, but by your Spirit... We don't want to move with out you."

The chorus of this song reminds me that it is God who is at work. It is not us at work asking God to join us, but the other way around. And that is the way it should be. He has perfect timing, and I do not.

I want to share this song with you. (Please forgive the odd video, it's the only non-live one I could find on youtube.) If you were at winter camp this year, I hope you enjoy the memories; if you weren't, I hope this new song touches your life in a special way.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

the window, and the world

The window:
I woke up Wednesday morning raring to go to the post office and the grocery store. We'll maybe not raring, but I was finally motivated. When I got to my car, I was greeted with mounds of glitter and confetti, or rather broken glass from my driver side window. Looking where my cd player sat only hours before was now a hole.
Smashed Window, just think of it as super AC Good Bye broken CD Player, Good bye Favorite CD

My immediate reaction was to bawl, which turned out well because my neighbors from down the street (who I hadn't yet met officially) stopped and offered to help me vacuum up my window.

Once I was able to gain some perspective I started laughing to myself: the cd player didn't even work! The same CD had been stuck in it for 2.5 years. Luckily I liked that CD, and luckily I burned it to my itunes so it is not lost forever. I know people always say this, but I REALLY would have given it to them if they would had asked for it. a 5 year old broken cd player is MAYBE worth 20 bucks, A car window is worth a lot more.
When I went to file the police report, I found the box the player came in to check the serial number. When I opened the box, I was pleased to find the tape deck that came with the car. stephen assures me this is even better because, you can't listen to an ipod through a cd player, but you can through a tape deck.

So thanks hooligans for helping me out. Hope you enjoy my CD.

The World...
is much smaller that I think.
On Monday I trekked to the Apple Store to make them fix my computer. Turns out when I ask people if I should by shoes or software, and they say shoes, I should listen. :P
I didn't mind though, because I brought my Japanese Language practice book and made up my mind not to leave until all was right with my lappy.

The girl next to me was in a similar predicament: stuck at the counter, waiting for things to upload and praying for a good outcome. I was really glad when she asked if I wanted to grab a pretzel with her.
FREEDOM! Good bye counter, I am taking a walk.
I'm so glad she asked, and that I went. Turns out she used to go to the same High School youth group as me, just a few years after. We even had the same youth pastor. You can check out her blog here.

The supper small world moment happened when I was home, though. After talking to Stephen, it turns out that she is friends with Stephen's only co-worker where he tutors. I know it may seem like nothing, but I was blown away. I always love playing the "do you know so and so" game, because of things like this.

Oh, and for those who are concerned, my computer is now fine. phew!

Monday, July 26, 2010

the long and the short of our time at language school

While we have been stateside, I have often lamented that there is nothing worth blogging about. No big ministry events, no Japanese coming to Christ, no cultural mishaps. while we have been at language school I have had the opposite problem. There have been so many paradigm shifts, interesting people to meet, stories to hear, and events to share about, that I feel I don't know where to begin, nor do I want to over whelm anyone. so for those of you whowould like the "Reader's Digest" version of our 2 weeks at language school, enjoy the headings and pictures below.

But for those of you, like me, who enjoy really long blog posts, as long as there are pictures and short segments, read on!

There are a lot of crazy sounds in the world.
Did youknow that the English language only uses 44 sounds, but there are many, many, many more used in the world. Most of them I would have said were nothing more than air escaping before coming to PILAT. I feel so very blessed to be learning Japanese, which has none of the SUPER crazy ones we learned.

Language is a natural human ability, not an academic subject.
Learning a language is more like learning to walk or run or ride a bike than it is like learning Math, or History. Because of this we should be using different methods. So if you see me watching Anime and writing down all the words I recognize, you'll know why.

We have wonderful friends!
These two weeks, we have been blessed to reside in the guest bedroom of our friends, Josh and Marilyn. We have felt so loved.

Mountains are steep and I am out of shape!
We enjoyed a 5 mile hike up and down a mountain, with our friends. I must say, I enjoyed the down part much more than the up part. Marilyn was kind enough to cite the elevation as the reason for my huffing and puffing. After reaching the top, I was pleased to enjoy the view.

Donuts baked at 14,110 ft just taste better.
On Saturday we drove above the tree line, to the top of Pike's Peak. At the top, we had to coax Stephen to walk within 30 ft of the edge. I was glad he conquered his fears to enjoy a donut and a cup of hot chocolate on a rock, over looking the Eastern Plains.

I am more excited, each day, to get to be a missionary.
What a treat it is to hang out for two weeks with 45 other missionaries in training. There is something to be said for the camaraderie that occurs when you are at the same stage of life as your community. I have so enjoyed sharing stories with missionaries to all over the world.

Thanks for hanging in there for the looooong post. :P

Friday, July 23, 2010

If I only had a camera cord

Packing for language school I was intentional about bringing my camera, camera charger, and laptop so I could communication with all of you about our experience here at MTI in Colorado. Yet, somehow it slipped my mind to pack the means of getting my photos onto my computer!

I guess I'll have to post them when I get home.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

a great night

What is the Vending machine to person ratio in Japan?

Which number also sounds too much like the word "death" for Japanese to sell things in this quantity?

What is a standard Japanese pizza topping?

If you were at Japan Night, at Trinity Presbyterian on July 11th, you know the answers to these questions.

We were blessed by our church with an evening to share about the work God is doing in Japan. The dessert and snacks went fast. I was surprised to see the red bean mocchi go as quickly as it did. And it was so much fun watching the group get so into Japan Trivia. I really felt God's presence through out the evening.

Stephen Sharing about Asian Access

Thanks to everyone who made Japan Night so wonderful!
Keep praying, God is on the move.


Why are we standing in front of 7-Eleven?

Because it's 7/11, of course!

And that means it's free Slurpee day! oh, and our Anniversary too :P
2 years with the sweetest guy I've had the pleasure of knowing!

Hope you all had a chance to get a free slurpee, and share it with someone special :D

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Japan Night at Trinity Pres

This Sunday night, from 6-8, Trinity Presbyterian Church is hosting Japan Night,
to provide an opportunity to share about Asian Access' ministry in Japan, and how we will be involved.
How blessed we are to be a part of such a supportive congregation!
The night will consist of dessert, Japanese munchies, Japan Trivia, Prizes, and sharing how God is at work in Japan.

We are praying that God will bring a flood of people to share in the fun and get a heart for the nation of Japan.

If you are in Fresno ( or Central California in general), join us at Trinity Presbyterian from 6-8 in the "upper-room." Here is a map if you don't know how to get there. Please bring friends and family; the more the merrier!

If you are nowhere near us, or already have plans, well no excuses!
Just kidding, we would be honored to have you pray for our evening.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Be Strong, Persevere, It's a Battle out there!

Welcome to the Island of Malta. There has been a lot going on these past few days. Last week, after a storm, a man washed up on shore. His name was Paul, and he told us all about his adventures sharing the Gospel.

A week ago, we were given the chance to be storytellers in our church's VBS. The theme of the week was "Soul Surviver." Students learned to put on the full armor of God for their battle against the enemy.

Our story telling room was the "ship wreck" room, where the Apostle Paul washed ashore on his way to Prison.

In this room, the children learned how important it is to have you feet prepared with the Gospel of Peace. did you know that sandals back then had hobnails, which are like cleats, to help soldiers stand firm when there was opposition, and to get a better footing when they were advancing? I didn't until this week.
Paul told the students all of his adventures being a missionary, and stressed the importance of having God's peace prepare you to stand firm through storms, battles, and troubles.
Here he is telling about how his friends lowered him in a basket out of a window to escape his pursuers.
One of these things is not like the other...
Delilah, Samson, Paul, and Malta Girl...
I do wish my character were more recognizable, or Biblical, or had an actual name. I was an islander from Malta. Every day kids asked "who are YOU?"
"I'm Paul's friend from Malta."
One kid introduced me to his mom as "Paul's wife." That drew a puzzled look for sure.

What a great week! Thank you Deanna for asking us to be a part of this great week of ministry.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hear my Prayer, O Lord

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Phillipians 4:6

"You do not have because you do not ask God."
James 4:2

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:17

Daily, we are reminded of our utter and complete dependance on God. It is so tempting to try things in our own strength. We tire ourselves out, spinning our wheels, trying to move forward. God commands us to present our requests to Him, and promises to answer us. We have come to realize that prayer is our only hope of getting to the mission field.

Would you pray with us?

For support...
As of this moment, our support is at 56% of our monthly pledges and 65% of our initial start up. In order to begin the VISA application process, we need to have 85% in monthly pledges accounted for.

Please pray that God would bring generous, kingdom hearted people into our lives who would joyfully give to His work in Japan on a monthly basis.

For our living situation...
Our current landlord as recently sold the house we are living in. At this moment, it is unclear whether we will be able to continue living in this house through the summer, or if we need to move.

Please pray that God would provide a place to live until we move to Japan. Ask that God would make it clear if we should move into temporary housing, and if so where.

For a place to minister...
While we are focusing on support raising here in the States, leaders in Japan are working with congrigations in the planning stages of a church plant.

Please pray that God would direct these leaders with wisdom, that we may be placed where God has called us.

For the hearts of Japanese...
God has already begun a work in the Japanese. He has been tilling soil, and preparing men and women to hear the Gospel.

Please pray that God would continue to work in the hearts of Japanese. Ask that He would unite believers in Godly fellowship, and equip them to share the Gospel.

In Christ, the giver of ever perfect gift!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lessons from "The Silver Chair"

"Please, how will I get to Narnia?"
"On my breath," said the Lion. " I will blow you into the west of the world as I blew Eustace."...
It was very alarming walking back towards the edge of the cliff, especially as the Lion did not walk with her but behind her-- making no noise on his soft paws.
But long before she had got anywhere near the edge, the voice behind her said, "Stand still. In a moment I will blow..."

The Chronicles of Narnia:
The Silver Chair
C.S. Lewis

Last Friday I cleaned out my classroom, handed in my keys, and said my goodbyes. After 3 years of teaching 4th grade at Valley Arts and Science Academy, I have resigned in order to embark on the adventure God has called us to. My head and heart have been a flood of emotions: joy, fear, excitement, sadness, but no regret. It is a scary thing, stepping to the edge of the cliff, and allowing God to carry us to a new land. Right now, we are in a period of transition: done with the first Chapter, not quite beginning the next. At times it feels
frightening, like we might fall, but then the realization comes that God has been orchestrating it all. This is the time, as always, to trust that He will carry us to our adventure on his breath.

I'll leave you with a picture of the end of this chapter.
Here is me and my classroom, all packed and set for the next teacher.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sharing in Sanger

This Sunday we had the pleasure of being able to share our ministry with the congregation of Sanger Community Church in Sanger, California.

Our Mission committee leader has been asked to preach at Sanger Community Church for a few weeks, while they look for a pastor. He invited us to come share what God is doing in Japan, and how we will be involved in ministry when there.

After service we had a chance to talk with people directly about what we will be doing in Japan.

One lady we met is organizing a huge yard sale, and offered us her Christmas decorations. It should be fun to see if there is anything we could use for ministry, boxed up in her home.

Please pray with us, that the hearts of the congregation of Sanger Community Church would be touched, and those God has called to partner with us in ministry would be obedient to His stirring in their hearts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Woa-oh, we're half way there...

It's an exciting time to be in the Lord's hands. 

But then again, when is it not? Over the past few weeks there have been several developments that have pushed us towards the goal of being in Japan in the fall.

the first, and more stressful for me, was making the decision to turn in my resignation from my teaching position. The plan was always to let administration know that I would not be returning in the fall, once all our ducks were in a row. It was our fear that I would quit my job, and that God would not get us to Japan in the fall. through much prayer, and council, we came to the realization that we were making decisions based on fear rather than on faith. God has called us to Japan, and He is faithful to see His will be done.
So this week, I drafted my resignation from Valley Arts and Science Academy. What a sense of peace I had printing the letter and slipping it into my boss' mailbox! I feel confident that God will take care of us while we seek His will.

The day I was tendering my resignation, Stephen was meeting with a friend of ours to create a website for us. Our wonderful friend offered to create a website for us, something neither of us are capable of doing ourselves. 
If you'd like to check it out, it's  . I must admit I didn't get the play on words for a full 5 minutes. ( It was a long and eventful day at work :P)

The most encouraging parts of the week were completely unexpected surprises. We had two separate people seek us out to say the wanted to support our ministry. These were individuals, and couples who were aware of our ministry, but whom we had not asked for support directly. It is amazing how God moves the hearts of men and women, and such a reminder to me that it is He who is putting this all together, not us. 

With the understanding that it is God who is at work within us, enabling us to will and to act for His good purposes, would you pray with us that He would provide the rest of our support before the end of June. We are officially half way to our goal! We still need aproximatly $3,000 in monthly pledges before we are cleared to start working on our Visas. From that point, it will be 3 months until we are in Japan, preaching Christ. 

Thank you for your continued support and encouragement!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

guys night/ girls night

Last weekend the high school ministry we currently serve with, held a guys night/ girls night at the youth pastor's home.

The girls cooked dinner for the guys, while they raced cars at Boomers

when the guys of our group returned ( an hour late :P) we enjoyed dinner all together.

 Then, the guys cleaned up while...  

the girls had dessert. :D

It was a great night of fellowship and fun!

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