On December 11th, I left Okinawa early to start my 20-hour trip to Papua New Guinea. It’s such an exciting feeling to be in a place I never even dreamed of going to, or being in, or where I would be doing something.
God’s ways are higher than my ways, and his thoughts are higher than my thoughts.
Surely God is doing something within me. The past few months, I have been contemplating about how different our ministry here in Japan is, compared to the Philippines, where you can easily see a response of faith from non-believers after you share the good news to them. There is the challenge of the Japanese language, and the culture. It is just very different.
So here’s a confession: I was feeling a little discouraged that things seem to be very slow. Some people think that because things on the outside look okay, that ministry here is easy and comfortable. But it is really challenging.
However, the Lord knows how to encourage a discouraged heart, and that’s how I interpret this trip to Papua New Guinea in December. The Lord, in His great wisdom, knew that at this particular season, I needed to have this retreat. I was invited to speak at the National Youth Leadership Conference in the Bromley District, and while I hear people being grateful for my presence in that place, I am more grateful for that fact that God removed me from the comforts before me, my dependencies, and situation, so I can focus on the things that really matter, and most especially, His encouraging Word.
He cares for me.
So we went on the rocky road to Jimi Valley, where the conference was held, and I was able to reflect on some things…
I actually took a video of the road on our way back from the conference, and maybe you can pause for a moment and watch it:
Some of the guys had to get down because sometimes vehicles get stuck in the mud and some people would need to pull it out. We did not get stuck, thank God.
I have deep respect for Matthew Urri and the other guys who had to drive and run errands for us, going back and forth on these roads… Drifting on the mud for 4 hours or so, seeing cliffs, narrow roads, landslides and all. I told them this looks like our spiritual journey. It is not smooth always, but it is awesome to travel together, and press on. Sometimes it was scary, not knowing if we will ever make it out, seeing a narrow patch of land because of a landslide that might still break loose when we go through it, or tires that slide in the slippery mud down the slope. In the end, it is all worth it.
On the way up it made me sing “I’m pressing on the upward way… New heights I’m gaining everyday…Lord plant my feet on higher ground!” And all of us in the van burst into singing… Remembering the truth that God is the one at work, He is with us!
Immanuel! He became like us so we could be like Him. He came into our world, humbling himself…even to the point of being a baby and going through the different phases of life…
He denied himself, reached out to where we are, and made our journey to becoming like Him possible!!!
When I posted this video on Facebook, I was already in Japan, but some of them were still walking, treading the mountains and longing for home.
This rocky road and the sight of a thousand believers gathered in the Jimi Valley from all over PNG was so encouraging to me, especially when I heard that the missionary Bromley waited for 6 or 7 years, before having the first convert 50 years ago.
The bottom line is, God is at work, and I just have to continue and never give up. He is faithful and He is near, encouraging the discouraged, giving hope to the nations.
Would you please pray for me and my husband, and the work here in Japan?
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P.S. This year, I want to write weekly devotions and share some of the Bible lettering and art I create on janarycreates.com so please visit it when you have time, and subscribe! Happy New Year!