More pictures of Jethro by popular demand! Coming home and being held by happy grandmas and grandpas.
God has given us the gift of Jethro Naito Yardley! Beth and Jethro are healthy and doing well. He is 7lb 8oz and 19in. long! We're tired, but overcome with joy. Above are some pictures (the blood on my shirt is from cutting the cord). Below is the full explanation of this little man's name!
Jethro is named after Moses' father-in-law (Exodus 3:1), which literally means "his excellence" in Hebrew. Beth and I wanted a Biblical name for our son, but not a common one.
Moses' father-in-law was a spiritual man, being the priest of Midian, who became a worshiper of the one true God (YWH) after seeing God rescue Israel from Egypt - "Jethro said, 'Blessed be the LORD, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of Pharaoh and has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.' And Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses' father-in-law before God." (Exodus 18:10-12, ESV).
Jethro was also a wise man who counseled and advised Moses himself on how best to shepherd the people of Israel (Exodus 18:13-27, ESV). And if the author of the Torah and God's chosen vessel to lead His people, Moses, "listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said" it seemed good to us also to bestow such a name upon our own son, who we hope will also be a wise spiritual leader in Christ's Kingdom.
A memorial in Japan to Naito Yukiyasu
Jethro's middle name is a Japanese family name pronounced "nigh-to" after Naitō Yukiyasu, a Japanese samurai from the 16th-17th Century who was baptized as a Christian in 1564. However, he returned to Japan in 1604 under the rule of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu who outlawed Christianity. He was proud about his faith in Christ, even modifying his armor to incorporate the cross (pictured below), and was thus persecuted for his faith being exiled to Manila in 1614AD.
The two kanji (above) literally translate as ‘inner wisteria’; a name taken by two branches of the northern Fujiwara clan. One is descended from the famous warrior Hidesato (10th century), the other from Michinaga (966–1027), the statesman who took his family to its greatest heights of power, and on whom the main character of the classic novel Genji monogatari (‘The tale of Genji’) is based. The hirigana spelling would be うちふじ.
God has given us a love for the Japanese people, who desperately need to be reached with the Gospel of Christ. Beth and I wanted to reinforce God's calling (for all Christians) to His mission to reach all peoples with the message of His love on the cross.
It's hard to summarize all God did in my life and the life of those we interacted in a concise manner, let alone give a snapshot (I took over 1,000 pictures). Here is a quick photo book providing a taste of all we did in July.
We planted a lot of Gospels seeds in Ube and watered a lot of seeds in Ishinomaki. Our pray was that God would use our time and our labor, and we feel that He has honored that. Here is one testimony from a missionary in Ube that touched my heart:
Reconciled by Christ, Brett & Beth recount their tales of service to God through their gifts of ministry & medicine with Jethro & Edessa in tow.