Greetings! in the name of our Gracious God,
First let us say once more how constantly we are blessed by the prayers, love and offerings we receive from so many. We love each one whether we know the face and name or not.
We have traveled many unknown and at times treacherous paths to get to the place we find ourselves now. This is true in a physical sense and no less in a spiritual and emotional sense. Probably a statement that most could make. Countless times it would have been so much easier to just give in and give up, or so it seemed in the midst of it.
Thanks be to God Almighty that He doesn`t give up on us when we feel everyone else has - ourselves included.
How awesome it is that we serve a Lord Who stays with us in the very lowest and most difficult times in this life with His hand outstretched just waiting for us to look up into His gaze, rest our hand in His, and let Him show us His way through to the other side of the trial.
2002 was one of the most difficult years we faced in many ways. It was also one of the most positive. It was the year that we truly and completely put our lives in God`s hands and began to fully trust Him for our daily bread.
I almost said here that "we had no other choice"... but we did! We always have a choice! Give up or keep going. Trust Him for What and Who He says He is, or don`t. Take the easy way out, or the right way.
When we found ourselves at rock bottom with no place to look but up - we did just that. We asked God what He wanted us to do next, and this time we really listened for His answer. He answered quickly. Nothing like any of the options we had considered as real options. First we talked and prayed together. Then with family. Friends. As we shared what He had planned for us we were met with shock, disbelief, one obstacle after another.
Go back to Japan.... as missionaries... are you CRAZY???
It`s what God has asked of us. Wouldn`t you go if He asked you?
.....no, I just couldn`t.
But, God asked. How do you say no to God when you know it`s Him?
We said yes.
God said, "Go!" "I`ll take care of the rest." We believed Him then. He has proven Himself true so many times since.
This is certainly not to say that since answering with a yes we have awakened to every new day with never a concern, doubt, trial or temptation. There are many. And yes we still try to figure out the way to get through each one when we really see no way. After exhausting our minds and emotions with everything we see as a possible option, we always determine that on our own it can`t be done so we turn it over to God and reaffirm our faith, belief and trust in His promise to us that He`ll take care of the rest.
To date He hasn`t gone back on His promise. He never will. So long as we do our part.
Admittedly we`re not always certain just exactly what "our part" is. We step out with what seems right, and if it isn`t it usually becomes apparent pretty quickly. So we listen a little closer and try again.
Finances seem always to be a concern for us. Our income here is minimal. Living expenses are high in Japan. Money is never an `easy` subject. It`s a vital part of this life none the less.
Since coming here to do mission work in 2003 our income hasn`t increased much. Our expenses have. Home and utilities, groceries, education expenses, transportation, taxes and the `extras` we try to do where we see need.
When the totals are tallied each month for income and expense there is always a concern as to how we`ll cover everything. Yet when all is said and done the bills are paid. The unexpected happens and we have no clue how to cover it. We don`t! God does! Time and again He has awed us with his perfect timing and provision for what for us was the "unforeseen".
Today we learned that our "miracle van" - meaning He provided it for us in ways we could never have worked out on our own! just when we needed it!! - has breathed it`s last. The repair cost would be higher than what we payed for it so definitely out of the question. Our repairman has been amazed for the past year that it has held up as well for as long as it has.
A vehicle is a necessity for us here. Church and class activities on many days of the week are impossible without a vehicle We know this. We know God knows this. He knows our need is immediate.
God loves to hear from His children. Prayer is a most powerful tool. We believe in the power of prayer and so we ask that you pray with and for us that this need for a vehicle be answered.
Thank you from our humbled hearts.
Our God is awesome!!!
May His love, grace and peace fill your lives.
P.S. Just had to add this... our neighbor (not a Christian) helped us out with the translation from the mechanic(not a Christian). He told her that it was so lucky that we found the trouble at home and not while driving because it could have caused the engine to freeze up, the wheels lock and possibly a terrible crash. She agreed we`re a lucky family! We said, not lucky - blessed! God is our Shepherd watching over us always!
1 Peter 4:12-13, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (NIV).