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Dale and Ann Little
Evangelical Free Church of Canada Mission

HOME ASSIGNMENT

Back "Home" to Japan

We wrapped up our six month home assignment and returned home to our Tokyo apartment on June 20–21, 2017. We were able to visit 15 of our partner churches, focusing on our Canadian support team. We drove from Maine to California, and then Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, covering 20,000 mi. / 32,000 km. We took every opportunity given us to share about Tokyo Multicultural Church, teach children, and preach messages on cross cultural missions and Japan’s need for Jesus Christ. We made new contacts, renewed friendships, and added a number of new Facebook friends.

We are so thankful that we had more than adequate funds in our EFCCM Ministry Fund to cover our home assignment travel costs. Any honorariums we received along the way were deposited to our Ministry Fund for our ongoing missionary ministry.

Roads between BC and AB traverse one of our favorite places: the Canadian Rockies! We were able to take time between Sundays for some light hiking and sightseeing in Banff and Jasper. The pic below was taken in late May in Jasper National Park, AB, and is typical of Ann with her tea and Dale with his coffee. We also toured the west side of Vancouver Island in BC for the first time. Open spaces and long stretches of often deserted highways (especially in AB and SK) were a marked contrast to the photos of our Tokyo neighborhood we included in our church presentations. We loved the open feeling!

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We also visited the childhood home towns of Dale’s mother (Peace River AB) and father (Rolla BC), as well as Dawson Creek BC on the Alaska Highway where Dale graduated from high school. Dale connected with relatives and did some research on his family history. Discovering his spiritual heritage along the way was an added blessing. Dale’s paternal great grandfather, Lea Miller, founded and named Rolla BC, likening his pioneer journey from Rolla Missouri to Rolla BC to the life of Abraham, who in faith followed God not really knowing where he was going. What a rich heritage! And what fun!

It is no wonder Dale’s father, Rev. Lea Little, who passed away in Feb, used to speak so passionately about “pioneer church planting” in Japan! He himself came from a pioneer family in the Peace River area of BC.

Over our 33 years of ministry based in Japan, the word “home” has acquired several geographic reference points. Currently we consider Sumida-ku, Tokyo our home. We are making plans to retire in Cape Elizabeth, Maine USA (2021? 2022?), where Ann was raised and where we try to gather with our children for post-Christmas each year. So Maine is also home for us. But our ultimate geographic home marker is heaven itself where we will be with Jesus Christ and his followers who worship him from all nations, including those we serve at TMC and our parents who have gone on before us.

Mid-Home Assignment Tokyo Visit

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For three weeks in February-March during our six-month home assignment we returned to Tokyo for the annual Japan Evangelical Missionary Association meetings, where Dale passed on the leadership baton (he has been President for 8 years and Vice-President for his final year), and Ann attended the JEMA Women in Ministry retreat.

It was great to be back at TMC for a few Sundays!

We also renewed our Tokyo Multicultural Church rental facility contract for another three years, filed our Japanese taxes, said good-bye to our one year short term missionary Alicia who returns to Ottawa Canada in April, and welcomed Kevin & Grace from the Evangelical Free Church of Macao to our TMC missionary staff.

The portion of our Ministry Enhancement Fund that is set aside for TMC has been helpful in encouraging TMC toward full financial independence from the EFCCM, covering the shortfall of our TMC facility rent that is not handled by the offerings of TMC worshippers. We hope that by the end of this year TMC offerings will fully cover our facility rental costs so that TMC will no longer need to access our Ministry Enhancement Fund, allowing us to set aside some of those funds for launching TMC#2 in the next few years.

From Coast to Coast

Since beginning our six month home assignment in mid-Dec, we have driven over 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers).

In early January we started out in Maine on the east coast and ended up in Washington state on the west coast, visiting supporting churches along the way in Michigan, California, and Oregon. During Sunday morning worship services we have the opportunity to share about our church planting ministry at Tokyo Multicultural Church. The Lord Jesus Christ is building his church!

And on our coast to coast trip we got to visit our three children…each in their own places: Vermont, Missouri, and California. After enjoying Christmas in Maine with them and their spouses/fiancees, it was a special treat to see them again!

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Back At TMC After Home Assignment!

It was good to visit some of our supporting churches during our Oct-Nov home assignment. But it also feels great to be back at TMC!

We have enjoyed reconnecting with our TMCers…
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and getting ready for TMC Christmas events.
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Fall 2015 Home Assignment

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From Oct 6 to Dec 10 we connected with 7 of our 27 supporting churches and a number of personal supporters, sharing about our church planting ministry at TMC: four in Connecticut, one in Arkansas, one in Wisconsin, and one in BC. Our next home assignment will be for 6 months beginning late 2016 or early 2017 (dates yet to be decided) for visiting our Canadian supporting churches.

We particularly enjoyed time with our children, Kristy, Bryan, and Matthew. A highlight was celebrating US Thanksgiving with all of them at Kristy’s apartment in California!

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It was also good to visit Ann’s mom (87 yrs) in Maine and Dale’s dad (91 yrs) in BC. In addition, we spent a little time with each of our siblings.