After a busy Sunday, we woke up Monday excited for the trip home.  We repacked our bags which sounds a whole lot easier than it was.  By this time in the trip you have dirty and clean clothes, souvenirs and gifts, and just a bunch of stuff that you’ve collected and somehow has to make it back in the suitcase.  There were several items that we left for the McCowns (whether they wanted them or not) because there was just no more room in the luggage.  The McCown family went with us to the bus stop.  I grabbed some donuts to share with everyone, we said prayers over each other, waved goodbye and then headed to the airport.  What a joy it was to hang out with this dear family for a week.  I’m so encouraged by their commitment to and resolve for ministry in Japan.  They’ve embraced the challenge, the food, the culture, and are working hard on the language. They understand the sacrifice (there are many and they are real), yet they persevere for the gospel sake counting them as light afflictions (2 Cor. 4:17).  There are some challenges that await them for sure, but for now, they are blessed to be where they are and a blessing to those they’ve come to serve.  In three weeks they help their church host the youth camp for Tokyo area Baptist churches.   Close to 300 have preregistered. Please pray that the Lord will work in a powerful way in the lives of the young people at camp. In April all four kids will begin their next year of school in the Japanese school system.  That means in one month all four of them will go from homeschooling in English to public education in Japanese.  This will be a major adjustment for the whole family and the shock of language immersion could last up to 6 months. Pray for them as they work through this next phase of culture shock.

Since I’ve been home I’ve tried to spend time with my wife and kids, get back into the office, set up my appointments, continue sermon prep, exercise and adjust my sleeping patterns (I’ve woke up at 3:30 and 4:00 each of the last two mornings but that will adjust in time).  I’m also trying to not let all the impressions I experienced on the trip slip away.  Telling and retelling what God is doing in these countries is a big part of why pastors need to go in the first place.  I shot some video in Cambodia that hope to use as the basis for a video that will be shown in churches and fellowship meetings to get the word out about the need. Pray with me that there will be some who answer the call of God to go to this field and join in the harvest.

So it is back to work, tired but energized, encouraged and refreshed, thankful and prayerful.

“Father, You know the work of Grace Baptist Church is a global work.  It is so because you have directed it.  We long to make your glory known in places where it is currently not known.  We pray that you would send more to labor in your field.  We pray that we would recognize the field all around us.  Connect us to the work you have called us for.  Find us faithful there when you return.”

To our missionary friends, we speak to you a word of blessing from Numbers 6:24-26.

“May the Lord bless you and keep you. 

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. 

May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

Amen.

 

For a full report on the Work of God during this trip please attend our service this Sunday evening.