In 1986, after serving in the ministry in South Carolina for nine years, Randy and I ventured on our first missionary journey. We traveled to Tokyo, Japan with our two children, then ages 7 and 4. Being on a mission team was a bit of a shock to my system, having lived in the southern region of the United States all my life. Below are a few excerpts from my journal written during that time:
July 1, 1986
We’ve been here 10 days now. I’m glad to be in Japan, but I want to be even more joyful! I prefer an easier life, one that I’m familiar with and used to. I can see how very much I am set in my ways. Things are so strange and different here that at times I resent it! God, help my heart to change -- Help me to love this new adventure of faith that you’ve blessed me with!
July 7, 1986
The struggles I feel being in a cramped, crowded, foreign city have been overwhelming. The noise --- always noise: car horns, children, cats, bicycles, trains, people, etc…My ears literally hurt. The rain, the humidity, the concrete jungle….everywhere you look are streets and tracks and buildings and electrical wires and garbage and laundry draped over apartment balconies. Where is nature? Where is the beautiful creation of God’s world? As I write this I know the answer: All the crowded things I see are reminders of the fact that behind each noise, behind every piece of laundry hung out to dry, there is a person --- a creation of God’s --- a man, a woman, a child that GOD made. In HIS image. This is the beauty of Japan: Millions of people, souls who belong to God if they could recognize it -- and that’s MY job.
August 11, 1986
So thankful to God for the victory at church yesterday! More than 100 people came to church! God is showing me that there can be a great church built in Tokyo!
With these musings in mind, I now consider the fact that our church will soon (on June 9th) be collecting a special contribution that goes to support missions around the world. Specifically, the money that we give helps mission teams in Indonesia and Europe, Virginia campus ministries, regional church plantings and mission traveling. I am confident that the sacrifice we make is helpful to both those who are serving, and those who will be served – the souls that will be touched as a result of our outreach.
Please remember that as you give to support missions, you are part of a world-wide cause. It’s a privilege to serve with those who are on foreign fields and with those who work in the US. Let’s consider and give generously to these great efforts!
With love from,