Saying “see you later” is just so challenging and some days more so than others. Oh, I am not talking about saying goodbye to family that is stateside or ‘family’ here in Hokkaido either. It’s about the work and heart you put into the local area, the people you are reaching, the believers that are going to carry on without you. And we know it’s not ‘our’ work, it’s the Lord and He WILL take care of them whether we are just down the street or whether we are across the sea. What makes it so hard? After all, blood relatives including grandchildren are waiting on the other side of that big area of ocean water and land! And yes, we are totally excited about seeing them.
1. God gave–
God gave His Son so we might give the message of life to people who do not know. As each day passes and another month and another year (into the 35th here in Japan), our heart-strings are buried deeper beneath the soil of the souls around us.
2. We give–
We put energy into contacts, into various means of being involved with the people of this area through music, English teaching, exercise, crafts as well as church services. We give time, emotions, and energy. God gave His Son, we give our hearts and our strength. This is part of loving the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our soul and all our might. We give to the unsaved and the saved alike, but when it comes time to say goodbye it hurts to know that maybe this time we might come back and one more person who never responded favorably to the Gospel has met his or her eternal reward. It hurts to say goodbye to our believers but at least we know we will see them again in Heaven and dwell there together with our Savior.
3. They give–
Our relationship with unsaved and saved alike takes on a life of it’s own determined by the context where we always see them. Whatever form of energy that takes place through these conversations and connections, we always pray it will lead to eternal values. Thankful to know that our believers also give in prayer support right back at us as we give to them. Our return is awaited for with anticipation for what can continue when we return. They have a saying–くびをながくしてまつーーIf you translate it direct it means ‘waiting with a long neck’–in other words, eagerly awaiting our return. We are blessed–to be able to say ‘mata ne’ (until later) and know they also await our return here. We can look forward to continuing to give out the message of Hope and Love that God Gave through His Son Jesus Christ.
so with that….
it’s off we go….our grandchildren wait after all!