Ánderson and I experienced our very first deputation, which is a time when missionaries connect with churches and speak about missions in different venues. It was an awesome experience of broadening our network of partners and helping the churches learn more about the work that is happening in Japan and the Asia-Pacific region where we serve. Since we have started on a Special Assignment contract, we have this opportunity to do a deputation/home assignment scheduled for three months every after 2 years in the field.
Our first deputation was not scheduled until the end of this year when Ánderson would be finished with his two years of language study but when I was having a quick meeting with one of our regional leaders, he learned that our Global NYI Council meeting would be in Kansas. He asked what Ánderson would be doing while I was away for those meetings and I said that he would be finishing up his semester and have a break. Then a suggestion came on doing one month of deputation while Ánderson would be on school break.
This conversation happened 2 weeks before I was scheduled to leave in February.
Ánderson has never been in the States and has never gotten a US Visa at that time yet. As you all know, he is also Colombian so I thought that maybe it won’t be easy to get the visa in a short amount of time. The other thing was if we were to go on deputation, I only have a month and a half to contact churches for the schedule and itinerary. Missionaries usually create their schedule a year in advance or sometimes even two.
Oh wait, I did not really have that much time since we had to make sure we get the visa before scheduling anything with the churches.
So we prayed.
I remember praying and thinking that if the visa is approved, He indeed was giving us this opportunity now.
And HE DID!
Imagine my anticipation when Anderson came out of the embassy with his poker face. He always makes fun of me this way, pretending that something good did not happen and then when my emotions have already let me down, picking me up with the good news.
After sharing the good news with our leaders, we came back home. I closed my eyes and whispered a prayer.
“Who am I to message, Lord? Where are we going? How are we gonna maximize this month? What are we________…” (you can fill in the blanks).
I have only been in the States when I had two layovers in 2015; one was an exciting 17-hour adventure in L.A. and another in Atlanta. I have many friends in the States and relatives as well. But since we are newbies to this whole deputation experience, I finally became overwhelmed. We were told though, to start messaging family and friends.
Since the timezones are night and day for Japan and the USA, I did not sleep that Wednesday night. I tried to message all the different people I know. I was feeling shy approaching people at the last minute, but I remember that prayer with the Lord that since he granted us the visa, this was part of His bigger plan so I should not be freaking out in planning the details of this trip.
People replied with dates, and the most amazing thing happened, we were able to schedule speaking engagements in 16 churches and we did not have conflict in dates.
How amazing is that? Yep.
The Lord was already before us. He is always ahead of us.
He is at work even when we don’t see it.
Of course, there were last minute details that needed to be worked out and I did learn a lot about what to do next time in terms of communicating better about logistics, transportation, and whatnot.
February came and I was able to spend some quality time with my family in the States and even got to see some of my close friends.
Then, Anderson and I went to Kansas for the Global NYI Council meeting before we started speaking at churches in Washington State, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Florida.
It was such an amazing experience to learn more about the USA. It was amazing to see differences in culture from the different States we have been to. It’s interesting how the economy works and how prices are so expensive in some places, like California, and cheaper in some places, like in Oklahoma. I did not like the whole tipping part since we never really do that in Japan and very seldom in my country. I also started to understand why people from the States love their space, because there’s a lot of space. Hahaha! I planned for one-hour trips thinking of 50 km/hr driving speed but one hour can mean really far, like 70 miles per hour non-stop far, which is like 112 km/hr. I am very grateful to my Dad who helped us with some of these long drives. Ánderson enjoyed the ice and snow while the locals dreaded the weather. He even volunteered to scrape the ice off of someone’s car. This has become quite an experience for us coming from tropical countries.
But what I love the most during our time in the States is our churches’ hospitality and generosity. Here are some of the faces and places from the memories we treasure. I wish I can put all the pictures, but here are some to represent the places where we went to.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for serving us by opening your homes, giving us food and the opportunity to share about Japan and the Asia-Pacific region.
Thank you for partnering with us by praying and giving.
As the body of Christ, we have felt your encouragement as we all participate in God’s mission. We are able to do much more work through everyone’s obedience to God.
Thank you for the memories, words of encouragement, hugs, prayers, and answers to prayers through your lives!
At the end of this year, we would be going back to the States from the second half of October to the first half of November (God-willing); then the rest of the year to Colombia.
Please continue to include us in your prayers as we prepare for this time. The Lord is already before us, so we trust that He is sovereign over all and we can trust Him in all the unknowns. We can depend on Him, every step of the way!
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❤ We love you!