While you’ve been gone….

Hey Danny,

It’s been hard to get a real conversation in while you’ve been gone,  but I thought I could at least update you on the backyard Bible club that we ran last week.  I know you are working so hard to bring the Gospel message to Japan, and we’ve been working hard to bring it to the kids in Oviedo, FL.  Two very different mission fields, same goal.  That Jesus might be exalted.

You know, honey, when I was writing up the lesson plans for the week, I felt like there was going to be some big attack on it.  I even wrote to Katie (who was doing this with me) “As I was finishing typing up the lesson plans, I just felt so burdened that there is going to be a spiritual battle going on over this club. Please be praying with me that the LORD would reign and that the enemy will be on a tight leash.” When the Japan trip came up and all the emotions with it, I thought “I’m not going to be able to do this emotionally!”  But I recalled that burden, and I knew it was a “warning” from the Holy Spirit that I would want to cop out, to postpone, to do things according to my convenience, but I needed to persevere.  I’m so glad we did!  Being busy with my own “mission” has helped me not miss you so much, our kids got to be part of the mission and prayed every day for more kids to come and learn about Jesus, and we all had a lot of fun. I know little lives were touched-both the neighborhood kids and the kids of the mamma’s who ran it.  (Thanks SO much Katie, and Sara-Beth, and Crystal and Brooke).  And most of all I’m glad we did it because the Word of God was planted in the hearts and minds of these kids, and THAT’S an investment that ALWAYS yields fruit…

Here’s a little recap of the week, based on pictures..

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I have some hilarious videos of the kids doing motions to the songs, but I couldn’t get them to post…when you get home you can see them…(and maybe you can put them on You Tube for Aunt Betsy to see)

I love you and miss you and can’t WAIT to see you!



…Finding Life…

Two weeks ago, when the Lord called Danny to go to Japan, despite the risk of more earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear radiation, a verse I was clinging to was Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” with an emphasis on the losing part of the verse.  I seemed to have forgotten the finding of life that is promised along with the sacrifice. As I have brief conversations with Danny, I am reminded anew how EXCITING it is to be about God’s business.  Danny tells me about new Christians in Japan being mobilized to help and serve and preach. As these Japanese mobilize, they get called into an intimacy with Christ that can only be gained by acting out with all His energy and His power and His life. I am amazed that I get to be a very small part of this “Kingdom Coming” that is going on in Japan. How exciting to see hearts awakening to their need for a Mighty God and  the Savior He has sent.  Some recent reports:

-Danny and the guys truly got to be the hands and feet of Jesus as they followed in their Savior’s footsteps of washing people’s feet. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) The guys chopped wood, made fires, heated water, and washed the feet of these elderly Japanese men and women who are now homeless.  To read about it and see a video go to the SpendYourself sight.

-Pastor Mori (the pastor they connected with in Iwaki) had a time of preaching the gospel to the gymnasium/home of people left homeless.  This kind of opportunity would never have been welcomed or permitted had the platform of self-sacrificial service not been built through the truckloads of supplies and the manpower provided.  Danny said that everyone living in the gym were so touched that Americans had come to help them and that there were many American churches and people giving to and praying for them.

-Danny and some of the team stopped at an onsen (a hot spring/public bath) on the way up to Sendai   An older Japanese business man was also there. Danny wanted to start up a conversation and share the gospel with him, but it was just a tad awkward (notice I said public BATH, not swimming pool, hopefully you get the idea) and he didn’t know where to start. But, then, the guy started asking THEM alot of questions (not typical in that culture) which provided the perfect opportunity for them to share what they were doing and the WHY behind it.  After they had a long talk about God’s love and Jesus in the onsen, the guy took them to lunch and paid for everyone!

-(this is the most exciting report)….  Several years ago, when we were still in Newark, we hosted a group of Japanese students who were connected with the Iversons in Japan.  The trip had been designed to give these students (most of whom were not believers) a chance to see sights in America and experience the American Christian Church.  While the kids were with us, we , of course, did the NYC tourist bit, but also had them help us with work projects and feeding people at a homeless shelter.  One student in particular, Nobu, really absorbed alot of what Danny spoke of when he talked of spending oneself and then gaining true life.  He also was a “hit” at the homeless shelter as he related to these recovering drug addicts and homeless men, despite the cultural, age, and language barriers.  The trip deeply impacted him and after that he decided he wanted to become a missionary “because he wanted to help people” (granted, he didn’t even believe in Jesus as his Savior yet). We eventually lost touch with him. But then, as I was checking footage of the trip thus far, who was in one of the videos, but NOBU!!! I was so excited!  He had come to faith in Jesus soon after the trip to America, but then battled back and forth between the pull to succeed in Japanese culture and the call to follow the Lord. When Danny and the team arrived he joined them in their travels up to Iwaki. Here he was again, serving by Danny’s side, but this time to his OWN people, the now-homeless Japanese. God has been mightily at work in Nobu’s life over the past week, giving him the desire to serve the Lord wholeheartedly with his life and not succumb to the intense pressure to be successful at all costs. He is discovering that in losing oneself in service to the Lord and others, one finds oneself…

Nobu, rediscovered… (he has a white sweatshirt and black hat on)

Send-off and News from Japan

***I just got off the phone with Danny.  News update and prayer requests-

-Martin, the doctor on the trip is, ironically, sick with the flu and had to stay behind. Please pray for rapid recovery.  He is scheduled to rejoin the team on Saturday (our Friday)

-Danny and the team were waiting in a line that was backed up 6 kilometers in order to get gas.  Please pray that somehow they’ll get a connection with a quicker gas source. See below for a really neat story  my father-in-law sent.

-Pray for Ai-chan who Danny sat next to on the flight.  As he explained to this older Japanese woman, that he had left his family to come help the Japanese people in their time of need and tell them about the love of God, she started tearing up. Pray that God will be at work in her heart and that she would read the Christian literature that he gave her and that she would truly meet this God who IS LOVE.


(from Dan Iverson) A Story of Community: To get gas, we organized church members to stand for hours in the gas lines to fill up small tanks that we could transport north.  One of our church members was talking with her neighbor.  When her neighbor asked what we were transporting north, our church member mentioned gasoline.  It just so happens, this neighbor’s husband owns a gas station.  Since learning about what we are doing, her husband has given our church a large tank to transport fuel.  He also comes each morning and fills all our tanks, kerosine to warm peoples houses and diesel for transport to take to the north.  Of course we pay him, but he gives it to us straight from the truck, as much as we need!  No more waiting in lines. He has been doing this for 2 days and will continue, praise the Lord.

An encouraging story: A Wycliffe missionary, supported by our church, Oyumino, has been helping out with the relief efforts and has been three times to some of the hardest hit areas in the north.  He has traveled three times with our trucks, close inside the evacuation zones and braved the threat of radiation with our trucks and team. A team came from USA yesterday with a radiation detector and they checked him. His levels were zero.  NO exposure. We are praising God for this encouraging news! He has shown Himself to be a refuge!

A Story of Hope: Pastor from the North Reunited With His Flock
There was a church of over 200 (one of the largest churches in Japan!) located just miles from the power plant.  When the warnings of the tsunami sounded, these people fled with just the clothes on their backs. They have lost everything and they are scattered throughout shelters.  150 of them are still unaccounted for.  Their pastor was in the Tokyo area for his son’s graduation when the earthquake occurred.  He has been trying to get to his church members and get in touch with them, but to no avail. Finally, he was able to catch a ride with one of our teams taking a truck.  Witnesses said that when the truck arrived, he jumped out and before one item was removed from the truck, he and his church members (those that are left) had a worship service.  He opened the word to Is 37 where Hezekiah prayed to God in overwhelming difficulty. He said:  “God established and carried our church through various difficulties for the last 60 years faithfully.  Earthquake, tsunami, even radiation cannot shatter what God started.” They sang “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
Another team is planning to take supplies to Iwaki city, 20 miles south of the power plant to help a pastor who chose to remain in the area without escape.

Citizens of Another Country

Dear Wives of the other team members, family members and all who love those leaving to  go to Japan on Monday,

I woke up on Thursday morning with the news that the US was calling all US officials and citizens to get out of Japan before a nuclear disaster happens.  So, on top of the lack of sleep and  long to-do list and the immediate needs of four small children, I was hit by a truckload of worry, despair, fear, sorrow and grief.  How could I send my husband into this?  How could I send young Daniel Josiah’s, Trinity’s, Katy-Grace’s, and baby Benjamin’s Daddy into this? But, on the other hand, how could I not? We have heard the voice of the Lord in this, Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39) We have counted the cost, and we, both Danny and myself, and you all will not turn back.  We belong to a kingdom much greater than the United States of America.  That kingdom seeks peace, prosperity, safety, but only in the physical realm.  We follow a Leader that also seeks for His citizens to grow in peace, prosperity, and safety, but HIS is a peace that comes from the Prince of Peace, His prosperity is found in the Refiners fire, and His safety is one of the soul.

I, too, am struggling with the waves of emotions that come as I think about sending my husband and father to my babies into such a dangerous situation.  My mind, too, reels with the implications that this trip might bring.  Will they get stuck in Japan and will I be raising these four small children by myself for a longer period of time? Will our men get exposed to harmful radiation and get cancer in ten years? Will they die?  Even in the immediate two weeks, I am running a Backyard Bible Club AND will be on my own with the kids, with no breaks.  This trip will be hard for our men.  But it will also be really hard for us.   But, sweet sisters, what a privilege to get to suffer alongside our men for the sake of the Gospel. And that is what this trip is about…its about the thousands who entered into eternity without knowledge of the Eternal One and its about the millions that have yet to hear about the Good News of a God who loves them, sent His Son to die for them, and has redeemed them.  We have hope, they do not, and this is why we send our men to labor, sacrifice, and be willing to suffer.

Just this week I was reading about the Christian Pakistani Cabinet Member, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was the only one standing up for the persecuted minorities.  He received constant threats to his life, and in light of that shared with a journalist before his brutal slaughter at the hands of the Taliban, “These Taliban threaten me, but I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ who has given His own life for us.  I know what is the meaning of (the) cross, and I am following the cross.  And I’m ready to die for a cause.  I’m living for my community and suffering people, and I will die to defend their rights”.

The only thing that can give a Christian this kind of  hope, and the fortitude to face our individual crosses, is to know and abide in the One who faced THE cross….. and He conquered it.  Our Conquering Hero, will be ours as we walk through this present fire.  And “on the far side of the sea” our Conquering Hero will be living and active through our men.  And our Conquering Hero will be present with us no matter what physical, emotional, or spiritual fires are to come.  We hope in another Country.  The eternal one.  And our Conquering Hero will guide us to it.

Much Love and many prayers,


Japan Update from Dan Iverson




















This is an email that Dan (Danny’s dad) sent out on Monday.  Since then they have had several more successful trips up north, including one that united a pastor (who was stuck in Tokyo) to his flock up there, AND one that connected with a good missinary friend who is located up there and is laboring to help those that are homeless.  Right now the nuclear threat is becoming more intense and the evacuation zone is broadening. Danny’s team has grown to six men now, all of whom speak Japanese. Its been an emotional morning for our family as we “count the cost” of Danny serving Jesus by serving the Japanese (Danny being trapped, radiation exposure, cancer, death).  “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back”















































Dear Family and friends,
Three of us went north into the devastated areas Sunday midnight with a packed 2-ton rental truck with 1000 liters of water, gasoline, blankets, food, warm clothes, etc, that our church members and lots of non-Christian friends donated.  People were most desperate for water.  We distributed supplies to a small church we had contacted, to an elementary school housing displaced people, and drove around the town (Ueda town, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture) giving water to people.  People were so grateful.
Many were saying we should not go in, for various reasons.  As we prayed, discussed, gathered supplies, and loaded them into the late hours of the night Sunday, we felt led to go.  People are fleeing south as we go north.  Some people really fear what may happen with a nuclear meltdown, or another Tsunami (as some pretty big tremors keep coming, the radio keeps on saying that if you are on the coast, where we were, to always be aware of roads inland to flee to higher ground, which we did). And the radio is often saying the government does not want volunteers in there getting in the way of the professionals, and possibly becoming victims themselves who need to be evacuated.
We were so glad we went.  We saw almost no official relief supplies coming in where we were.  We saw no self-defence force troops bringing relief until we were heading home south as 15 self defense force supply trucks passed us coming north.   The exhausted city hall official lady in her late twenties in charge at the elementary school with 100 displaced people living there was so thankful we did not listen to those warnings not to come (which I understand the need for), and was so grateful, and a good future contact for several spheres.  She was surprised that we were from a church, and wanted us to thank everyone who sent things.  She wanted us to bring more, and to bring people to help her with so many people, especially the many older people who were there because they did not have the strength or means to flee.
People were so desperate for water that when we ran out, they wanted the not-so-clean  spill-over can water.  It was very sad to run-out with people still coming with plastic bags and trash cans and anything they could bring to get water.
I could not help but think:
-May the Japanese people come to thirst like this spiritually, and be this desperate seeking Living Water (Isa. 55:1-2;  John 4).
– May they flee to higher ground… to The High Rock (Ps. 61:2).
– May a tsunami of grace, wave after wave, flood Japan (Ezek. 47; John 1:16)
Just had a fairly large tremor, and not one person around me even made a comment about it.  They have become so common place.  May God so shake Japan spiritually, and may the Japanese people be humbled to desperately seek the Living Water God offers in Christ.
Please pray also as we begin working today on a long-term plan.  Our thousand liters Monday and 2000 liters today praying with and talking with a few was like a drop in the Pacific, so little for such great great need. And, of course, we are praying and dreaming and talking about how God might use this disaster, and us, for a new WAVE of effective evangelism and church planting in the affected area, and throughout all of Japan?

Thanks for praying for places to go serve.  We now have two Japanese churches in the affected area to possibly partner with long-term in their area to help them in their witness as we help people in their communities.  The city hall lady above, Ms. Yamamoto, has access to lots of information and officials.  And she likes us.






































Happy 6 month birthday, Benjamin!!

(I started this post last week, before the whirlwind of the Japan trip started, but I thought I’d post it anyways.  Benjamin is getting baptized this Sunday before Danny leaves, because we just don’t know what is going to happen)

My sweetest little baby boy,

I can’t believe you are already 6 months today. You are such an incredibly joy, little man. We named you Benjamin Zion for a reason. Benjamin meaning “son of my right hand” and God promises to hold us up with His right hand.  Zion, because it is God’s dwelling place, where He reigns, it is his resting place, “praise awaits God in Zion”. I believe God’s already growing you into your name. Your contentment and peace could only come from God reigning in you and over you.  Your sweet placid spirit is a breath of refreshment from the Lord in the chaos of all your siblings.  You are truly a gift, sweetie. It has been so fun to see you developing already.  I love watching you grab for things and immediately  try to get them into your mouth.  I love how you turn yourself in circles and try to fly when I put you on your tummy.  I love hearing your laugh. I love it when you stick out your little tongue.  I love your little grin. I love your two dimples. I love watching your older siblings dote on you, protect you, and run to fetch you toys.  I love hearing Trinity jump into a rousing round of “Jesus Loves Me!” for you when you start to cry. I love it when you fall asleep in my arms.  I love your little finger sucking.  I love it when you light up when I walk into the room. I love it when your lower lip turns out when you are sad and about to cry. I love your little murmurings and cooings. I love it how you squeeze my finger so tight it feels like you’re cutting off the circulation. I love your chunky little legs, and the fat rolls over your knee caps (they’re somewhere under there). I love that you’re a boy and that Daniel Josiah has such wonderful plans for the two of you.  I am so incredibly thankful for your life, and so grateful to your Creator for giving you to me. I’m sorry, baby, for the ways I complained about being pregnant again when I was so overwhelmed that first trimester.  I’m sorry I doubted your Maker, and thought He was being so harsh on me with having three young ones already. I’m sorry for wailing about my fatigue and my inability to do anything but lay in bed and let the Lord of Life knit you together in my womb. You took every ounce of energy out of me when you were being built.  It was really hard. But you were worth it….worth every bit of it.

I love you, sweet boy.

Love, Mommy






**click on pictures so see them enlarged. oh, and stop oohing and aahing, you’re distracted the other people in the office. 🙂

Danny to Japan

On Monday Danny is leaving for Japan for a ten day trip to bring water purification systems to help with the cause of getting pure water to the people stranded and cut off from aid.  Our hearts are weeping for the Japanese, thousands facing eternity without having known or heard of the Eternal One.  This morning Trinity was talking about Daddy going to Japan and I started crying while I was trying to answer her.  She said ” Mommy, why you say that like that?” (my voice was shaky).  I said, “Because all of these Japanese are dying and they don’t know about Jesus”.  And she answered in her most cheerful voice, “But DADDY is going to tell them about Jesus!!”.  Yes he is honey, yes he is.


When Danny talked to his mom on Sunday about coming to help, she was very concerned that it was not safe to come to Japan, and his family needed him.

This is what I wrote her:

“Hey Mom,
I just wanted to pray for you over email and I wanted to tell you something.  When Danny was talking to you today (the first time) I was sitting at lunch with the kids and while he was talking to you  I just sensed that he needed to go to Japan to help.  Then, after he got off the phone, he came back and sat down for a while and then said “I just feel like I need to go there to help and to share the Gospel”.  The Lord was talking to us at the same time. I know that it is dangerous.  I know that he could get trapped there for longer than expected.  I know that he could even possibly die.  But his soul is kept by our Savior, and those dying and suffering right now have no knowledge of their Maker and Savior.  Jesus said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life he cannot be my disciples”  In this instance, I feel like Danny is to “hate” his wife and children for the sake of following Christ and serving Him by serving the Japanese right now in their time of greatest spiritual and physical need.  I am called to “hate” my husband right now compared to my desire to see Christ exalted in the country of Japan.   As you pray about Danny coming, please don’t hold back on account of me and the kids.  The Lord is our Provider and Sustainer. He will uphold us and take care of us.  We have an excellent support group here and Sara and Eric are right down the street. Grandma and Grandpa are coming next week.  We will be fine because the Lord is good, not whether or not Danny is here helping us.”


More posts will be coming as I report on what is happening there…Gotta run…

A Tribute to My Mother

Thirteen years ago today, my mother entered into glory….

After two years of battling brain cancer, she finally went to meet our Savior…

I was thirteen when she got sick and was unable to function as my “Mommy” any more. She didn’t know it when I was young, but she was only going to have thirteen years to instill in me the things I needed to know. Those first thirteen years were her chance at “filling my cup”,nurturing my heart, mind and soul, and impressing upon me eternal values. For my young brother, he only got 5 years of that. It is sobering for me, as a mom myself now, to know that I cannot presume upon a long lifetime of pouring into my children.  I must be faithful in the years, the days, the moments that I DO have to be planting those seeds in my children.  I am so thankful that my mother was faithful in these areas.  I am so glad that she made the moments count.

Thank you, Mama, for loving Jesus so much.

Thank you for rising early each morning to make your coffee and study the Scriptures at the dining room table, so that my first sight of you when I walked down the stairs each morning, was you at the feet of Jesus. I’ve learned to run there myself.

Thank you for loving, cherishing, and respecting Daddy, I didn’t realize then that you were teaching me how to be a wife.

Thank you, Mama, for being quick to laugh…that contagious, fun giggle…and that you always laughed with us and not at us. When I have a giggle session with the kids, I think of you…

Thank you for always having people into our home, even though it stressed you out at times.  You taught me how to be a hostess.

Thank you for the ways you encouraged and complimented us.  “You’re such a sweet girl” “You are so beautiful” “What a smart kid you are!” now come to my own lips as I speak life into your grandchildren.

Thank you for enjoying us as kids.  You came down on our level. You helped us create make-believe worlds…Like playing “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” when we were on walks in the woods, setting up “library” or playing “make way for the princess!” when we were suppose to be sweeping the sidewalk…my prayer since I got pregnant with Daniel Josiah was that I would truly enjoy my kids the way you enjoyed us.  Kids know when they are treasured or when they are just a chore.  I know I did.

Thank you for always reading to us, even when we were older and could read for ourselves…reading time is now one of your grandbabies’ favorite activities in our house.

Thank you for spending yourself on others and dragging us along with you.  Although we weren’t much help, little principles were being impressed upon us as we watched you feed the elderly, teach Vacation Bible School, and lead people in prayer.

Thank you for exercising and enjoying it…Trinity tries to do workout videos with me just like I tried to do with you when I was five.

Thank you, Mama, for being so faithful to get me to places where I could learn the truths of the Bible even when I sometimes didn’t want it..all the Advent Clubs, Pioneer Girls, Choir Practices, the Christian schools, the camps, and Vacation Bible Schools.

But also, thank you for the long uninterrupted hours of play that you didn’t fill up with constant activity…Betsy and I learned so much from “setting up house”, building forts, organizing stuff for “school”, and playing different games together.

Thank you for gathering us kids together to pray when we couldn’t find the keys, or the car wouldn’t start…I learned that Jesus is ever-present because you treated Him like He was.

Thank you for prioritizing family time, and seeking to build traditions.  We’ve carried on some of yours, but we’re also building new ones…

Thank you for taking the time to make baby books for us…I treasure it so much, Mama. To see your handwriting, to know your thoughts about me when I was one and two and three…I’m blogging now, so that my kids, too, can know the thoughts that I have had about them in years to come.

Thank you, Mama, for praying for my sister relationship with Betsy.  Those prayers have been answered a hundred fold and now I’m praying them for my two girls. (I think its so fun that I’m following in your footsteps of having a boy, two girls, and another boy…although what you did in the course of 15 years, I managed to cram into 5  years)

Thank you, Mama, for embracing motherhood so wholeheartedly….for pouring your life into your children.  I’m so glad that those brief years with you were not split with an outside job.  Thank you so much for giving yourself to us.

Thank you for being SO FULL of LIFE…now that I’m older I know where that LIFE came from…it came from the LORD of LIFE…I know where the energy came from…you were laboring with all His energy.  But when I was a child, I needed that Lord to have arms to hug me, hands to hold mine, eyes to look into, a mouth to smile upon me with, a voice to speak words of encouragement. Thank you, Mama, for showing Jesus to me…by letting Jesus live in you.

My sweet husband, who you never got to meet, but you prayed for even when I was a baby, wrote you a song, Mama. He wrote it for you when he asked me to be his wife…a wife that your example molded..a wife that CAUGHT far more than she realized or could have been TAUGHT if you had lived longer. He is thankful, too, for the seeds you planted, the investments you made.  They are eternal.  And they are now being planted in your grandchildren.  And Lord-willing they will be planted in the generations to come.

My Blog has Resurrected!! (3 years and a couple babies later)

After several years, a couple of babies, and a move to Florida, my blog is finally being resurrected.  Jesus was in the grave three days, well, my blog was in the grave for three years.  But just as the Lord can restore what has been lost, hopefully my blog will be restored for good.

I had originally started blogging in Newark, NJ, while we were laboring and ministering to the poor, broken, and marginalized of the city (which is basically ALL of the city)**.  I started it to chronicle some of our CRAZY adventures, and to give me a place to sort through the immense suffering, pain, and brokenness that I experienced and witnessed on a daily basis.

Now we live in suburBLAHia. Not too many crazy adventures here, folks…

BUT, God has definitely called us to this season, and He has purposes for us here and maybe, just maybe, they might be worth chronicling.

If, for nothing else, I can chronicle the lives of my children and our family life…because I know that one of the reasons that the Lord removed us from the craziness of inner city life was so that I could really “get down to business” in raising them and having them be my number one ministry.

I also realized, being the intelligent person that I am, that trying to keep up with four children’s baby books is slightly absurd. (It was an epiphany I had when I had returned from a four hour baby book camp out at Starbucks and Danny asked, “So are you all caught up?” and I said “Yes!! Well at least up to October…” and it was February) I treasure my baby book that my mother made for me, so I had been determined to keep up with them for my children…but if we have as many children as we hope God gives us, there comes a point when you’ve just gotta streamline. Work smarter not harder.  So, kiddos, consider these chronicles your baby books all wrapped up into one..always accessible, via the world wide web. Sorry, Benjamin…

**note-most of my older posts don’t have pictures now because when my old blog died, we were only able to save the writings, not the pictures… at least we were able to salvage something…