44- Catching the Mission’s Vision
By temperament, I was introspective and melancholy, pouring out my heart to the Lord in my journals–and I was receiving comfort through the Bible verses that the Holy Spirit was highlighting. So I kept seeking and I kept writing.
I wrote that I was longing for meaty Bible teaching at church, unsatisfied, after months of soaking up wisdom from excellent instructors, seasoned pastors, and intrepid missionaries. I was struggling with accepting our monetary lack, while my family members, 500 miles away, were thriving with new possessions. I was loving being a mom, but feeling isolated because we did not have a second car. I was also grappling with Dan’s desire to go to Japan. JAPAN???
We had said repeatedly to our friends and family that we were going to the Capernwray Bible School to study the Bible, and not to become pastors or missionaries. But the emphasis of the school was Jesus’ heart for missions, and we caught the vision. As a new Christian I had considered going to Africa someday, but Dan began desiring to see his Japanese friends saved.
My story is that I had never been drawn to anything Japanese –the costumes, the art, the food, the music –and I was very conflicted because I wanted to honor my husband and be a good submissive wife.
Also very real to me was that I was sure that I would be very humiliated before my family if we packed everything up—AGAIN—and took off on another excursion–before our 2nd wedding anniversary–which they would not understand AT ALL. Not to mention taking their baby grandson with us! Besides that I was very concerned that I would get pregnant again and troubled at how complicated everything was becoming. (We had just begun Natural Family Planning through the Catholic Church, but… we were a little too late.)
My prayer was something like: God, if you can change my heart about everything Japanese I will know you are in this! And I kept dialoguing with the Lord about it.
The following entry was written seven months after we returned from Germany and five months before we went to Japan.
October 9, 1979 I wish I had been keeping closer track of God renewing my mind regarding the possibility of going to Japan. Last night I sought Him earnestly again, knowing He would meet my need, knowing He understood where I was coming from. I said, I don’t have a heart for the people in Japan. This morning as I was reading Matthew: Jesus went to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 15:24)!!! I need to know if I am sent by You to the lost sheep of Japan!
Spoiler: God DID change my heart completely but not until we were IN Japan. I fell in love with the Japanese people, liked the food very much, appreciated the Japanese culture, and could picture our family living there.
The test of my faith came by going to Japan BY FAITH, with my heart still unchanged. I crawled out onto that limb of trusting God with what I did not understand. I wanted to be obedient above all and be in the center of His will.
One of my arguments is: but we can’t afford to go. As I kept reading the Matthew chapter, verses 32-38 stood out to me, about the loaves and fishes, knowing Jesus was saying to me that He would provide! God meets my every heart need and becalms my fears. He is saying, “Are you ready to slay family and friends for the truth? and make the choice for God?”