(Photo: From a newsletter announcing my arrival at KIU in 2002)
Today makes five years in Japan. It has been an interesting experience today to reflect on all that has gone on here. I have wondered at times how our view on life would change if we could see our lives complied into some type of concise summary; like a Sunday School Bible story or an encyclopedia entry on some historical figure or a magazine article in tribute to one of our childhood heroes. I mean, if we could see beyond our daily to-do lists, bills, appointments, and all these other momentary complications that scream for our attention... what would we see? That is what I have been trying to do recently; to try to find the forest through the trees again.
So, I have been reminiscing, talking to friends about the past five years, looking at old blog entries, and in the process ... a little house-cleaning. From here, it sure doesn't look like material for the next New York Times bestseller but it doesn't seem to be the greatest waste of time either. I would be sugarcoating if I said that it hasn't been somewhat difficult at times to review the snail pace progress of the mission work and wince at my appararent lack of effectiveness. But what I see also is that the time here has been a real ongoing growing experience for me personally. Just when I have gained some new knowledge or skill, usually something or someone tests my understanding of the language, the culture, others, myself, or even my finite understanding of God Himself.
At times, it feels as if I have started back at the beginning again but on a different and often stronger footing. My hope is that as God continues to mold me that He will also continue to use me for His Glory (inspite of my many weaknesses) to share the Good News to these dear people. So to wrap up, it seems fitting that I ask for prayer for the same things I mentioned in my first letter five years ago: Heavenly Strength, Agape Love, Godly Wisdom, and a Renewed Vision for the work here in Japan. Thank you all who have been encouraging me and supporting in prayer these many years. Together, let's all eagerly look forward to what God has next.