After a 2-week business trip to Singapore & Guam, I (John) have returned back to Hawaii. As much as I enjoy travel, it’s just no fun without Pen & Mele coming along. I hope & think this is my last trip as my projects and duties at work are taken over by colleagues. This photo shows the “Welcome Home” moment from Mele — she was so excited that I was coming home that she skipped her nap, then passed out on the way to the airport. But even this failed to dampen our family’s joy of being reunited.
Now begins the truly hard work of preparing to go overseas. Up until now, everything has been preliminary. Pen & I have separately been going through an online training curriculum; next week, we will start live training with our logistics coordinator who will guide us through more training topics — everything from evangelism and church-planting, to culture shock and dealing with stress. This period prior to our overseas service is called deputation and it is known for being as stressful as the actual ministry. Having been through this before about 10 years ago, I can attest to this truism.
A Lesson of Faith
Today at church, Pastor Stan gave a sermon from Luke 8: 22-25. As his lesson took form, I realized he was talking about Pen and me — and he didn’t even know it! In this passage, Jesus invites the disciples to a boat ride across the lake — then promptly falls asleep while the seas rage and a tempest blows. In a setting like this, people might conclude that either their Lord is powerless against the storm, or worse — that He is indifferent. Of course, He is neither — the entire experience was a test of faith for the disciples and an illustration in what faith can do in the face of worldly trials.
In parallel, God has invited Pen and me in a voyage across the sea — both literally and figuratively. The storm is raging around us as we post our things online for sale; develop printed materials to support our ministry; continue to update this blog and a Facebook page to stay in touch with you; work through our training; and begin the process of support-raising which is severely compressed to a few short months. On top of all that, the daily routine of life and an energetic 17-month-old had us busy enough before adding all the rest.
The sermon today caused us to revisit the question — Is God powerless and/or indifferent to our situation? Is He with us now? A few months ago, we felt His strong calling to serve, but we haven’t heard much from Him recently. Were we mistaken in this call? The answer, of course, is that we were not mistaken and He has not left us. He is just as close as always but we are in the midst of a test of faith. Knowing that we are where He wants us, and going towards where He will send us, is enough to calm the storm and restore balance in our perspective. We ran through the full spectrum of this realization today, so all-in-all it was a good day.
You Can Be A Part Of This
We thank you for sharing this voyage with us. In the coming weeks, we ask you to consider joining us both in prayer and financial support. We have to raise the full cost of this ministry before we will be allowed to get on a plane to Japan so the need is urgent. We have confidence that this will come to pass, and you can help by making a pledge today. Please visit this link to make either a one-time or a monthly pledge to help us bring the Good News to those in Japan who have not heard Christ’s name. Mahalo and aloha!