“The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season”. -(Ps 145)
“You are a great waiting person”…. or, rather I should say it’s been a little while since the last post. Lately, God has been engraving in me the idea of how important the mundane is. Waiting. Wanting. Working – Study. Pain. Loss. What makes something special, special? There is a word I learned of many years ago in the Cebuano language called sawa-a, which refers to something that, if used, consumed, or enjoyed on a usual basis, looses its luster or appeal. There is so much truth in this word!
“It is not good to eat much honey….” and… “the full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Pro 25 & 27)
When I experience pain or simply undesired events, it has a long-term effect on my spirit. It makes the enjoyable things more enjoyable. The good things… gooder. I am being reminded more and more of, perhaps, one reason why we are to “in every thing give thanks”, as the seemingly bad, or even neutral, things in life temper us in godly ways if we respond with a godly mindset. This also reminds me of our purpose in Japan, or anywhere in the world. As Christians we are sent into the world as a “light that shineth in a dark place”. The further this world descends into evil, the brighter the Light of the World can appear – no matter what kind of “season” we are in at the moment, one of plenty or one of want.
Speaking of season, this time last year we were hit with that historical snowfall that killed many over here. This time this year is rather different from that of last year. We are now, more or less, in an annual rhythm of things. A couple of the ministries we do or participate in pause for the New Year. On the other hand, work picks-up around the same time for a little while, so it’s pretty well balanced now. We are in the planning process for the new year of these ministries and are trying to be more faithful in spending more time in prayer for these ministries; we hope you will continue to join us in doing so!
Recently I had been running a tiny Sunday School class during the church worship service. This was largely in part to alleviate the parents, as well teach the children. However, after this past week’s meeting with Pastor Emori, he and his wife want to try a different approach with some of the kids and have them stay in the main service for a while, so we are suspending the kids’ Sunday School class. The last two weeks have been a difficult start, but we will see how it progresses. Instead, Mia and I will begin teaching during part of the adult Sunday School session: that starts this coming week.
We also recently had the opportunity to preach, sing, and give testimony at a gathering in Mikuni. This group of people mostly lives near Tojinbo, one of the top three suicide spots in Japan. This week we are also planning on resuming school gospel tract distribution. The Japanese often tread on foot or take bike to their destinations, and so passing out gospel tracts before school starts for the day has proven quite effective. We ask that you would remember the people of these places in prayer, too. Finally, we have begun having Mr. and Mrs. Matsuura over, the couple that has been giving Mia guitar lessons. The goal of starting these meetings is to help each other learn the respective languages better through reading and comparing the Scriptures.
This has also been a season of blessing. From receiving (and almost receiving!) packages, seeing pictures of those praying for us, and being blessed with generous gifts for both us and the ministry, has been very encouraging during these cold winter months. This has certainly been a season of blessing.
Blessings in Return,