Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What If? - To The Rising Sun With The Risen Son (Part 12)

Night lights in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Wow, it is here. My last night in Tokyo. It is hard to believe that it has come so quickly. We have covered a lot of miles both on foot and by train, and I have seen more new sights than my eyes and brain have been able to handle. I'll be weeks processing it all, and I can already see myself thinking of the names of random Metro stops at odd times once I get back home.

What an amazing trip I have had, and it isn't quite over yet, but in about 33 hours I will be landing in my beloved North Carolina. It will be good to be home. I will enjoy being able to get back to my routines. And it is garden season again believe it or not. I'll have to get started on mine pretty quickly after I get back if the weather will cooperate.

But what if?

What if this trip was merely to give me a taste of this country that is similar, but very different from mine? What if God were to call me to come to Japan as a missionary? I have certainly been invited to come by several missionaries. There is a part of me that is very inclined to take them up on their invitation. And at the same time there is much to keep me locked into my pleasant routines and friendships back home. Those friendships were hard won - especially the ones in China Grove. And what about my beloved family and church? These are precious to me. Do I really want to say goodbye to all of that?

I don't know. I don't know if that is what God is asking me to do. There is certainly a strong tug to say, "No, Lord, I'd much rather stay home."

I understand better than ever what must have been going through some of the potential disciple's hearts when they rejected Jesus' invitation to go with Him. How hard it is to leave the familiar and precious behind! But it is what we are called as Christians to do every single day.

Didn't Jesus tell us to take up our cross daily and follow Him? If He is calling us to die daily then are we to consider anything in our lives outside of the purview of His dominion and rule? The very nature of a covenant dictates that all that I have belongs to the one with whom I have made the covenant if he asks for it. And the same is true in reverse too. So can I refuse anything that Jesus asks from me? How could I withhold my comforts, relationships, and security when He has laid down His very life? The answer is I can't. It all belongs to Him.

Before anyone gets too excited or dismayed, I want to say that I haven't heard a clear direction about this from the Lord one way or the other. I do know that I have begun to have some ideas about ways that I could come back. I have begun to get some ideas for ministry here. That could be a factor of my own imagination and creativity or it could be from the hand of the Lord.

The bottom line is that I intend to do whatever God tells me to do when He tells me to do it. Thankfully, God is gracious and understands how we are. He knows what we need to be able to make a decision of this magnitude, and He is patient and capable of getting us to whatever place He wants to take us.

Jonathan Eller, Gilberto, and David Patterson after the 2009 JEMA Plenary Meeting in Ochanomizu, Tokyo, JapanToday we went to the JEMA plenary session. It was basically a business meeting. Yes, it was pretty boring at times, but we did learn some interesting information and most importantly of all we had the opportunity to meet and interact with some more JEMA missionaries. I was excited by some of the things that I learned today. There are some really good things stirring in Japan.

David and I got to talk to Gilberto again today. What an excellent brother! I am so excited about what God is doing in him. I am looking forward to what God will accomplish through him in the coming days. Gilberto is in the process of developing a prayer ministry in Tokyo. He is a member of the Prayer Committee for JEMA and is looking to do something similar to what the IHOP guys are doing in Kansas City. It will be interesting to see how this takes shape.

Jonathan Eller, Mizuko, and David Patterson at the JEMA Plenary Session 2009 in Ochanomizu Tokyo JapanI got to meet a couple of other really super people today. I hope that one day I will be able to get to know them better.

Today Mizuko was honored by the JEMA folks for her 25 years' service to JEMA. Mizuko is the face and voice of JEMA and it the only official employee. She has been a valuable aid to David and me. On his last trip here she really helped him a lot and opened some doors for him that he would have had difficulty opening on his own. She is a great lady and it is an honor to know her. Anyway, the meetings took the better part of the day. I think we finished up about 4-4:30. It wasn't a minute too soon.

Afterward we went to Shinjuku to see if we could find a little something for me to bring home to my niece. We did and decided that we would be more likely to find an inexpensive meal in Akasaka than we would in Shinjuku so we took the train home. We went to one of the many tempura places close to our hotel. It was delicious and inexpensive.

I don't know why, but we were worn out tonight. We didn't walk that much at all today by our normal standards - probably not even two miles - but we both felt the wear of the miles that we have walked over the past ten days. I won't lie to you: I am glad that tonight's trek is the last time I'll have to make that long hike from the Akasaka stop on the Metro to our hotel again for a while.

Well, it is nearly midnight here, and I guess I'd better get some sleep. I have to catch the bus to the airport tomorrow around noon. So this will likely be my last post from Japan on this trip. I do still anticipate writing more about this adventure as I debrief. So stay tuned for that. I also think that David plans to do some catching up on his blog here over the next couple of days. He is staying on in Japan until Friday and doing a little work for his company branch office in Tokyo while he is on this side of the Pacific.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. Please to continue to pray for God to move in Japan. I believe that He has a great tsunami of His glory to release on Japan and cleanse it and set it free from the enemy's strangle hold. Though the enemy thought he had things locked up tight here, God's power will make the devil's schemes look as secure as a sandcastle in a hurricane. I am pleased to be a part of God's wave!

1 comment:

Wade Huntsinger said...

I say go for it, that is if God does!!!