128- Following God’s Trail – #10

128- Following God’s Trail – #10

July 1, 1984 Father, I am having a hard time believing YOU are asking us to stay in Reno. PLEASE SHOW ME.

I am having a hard time trusting You with our finances, and in finding very suitable housing here in Reno, and in finding a kindergarten acceptable for Tim. You promise to gently lead those who are with young. I am letting it all go and believing Your Word.

Here’s the story: Dan had been working for several months with the contractor on the new building for our church. It was full-time work and they worked well together.

Two of the elders went to him independently and both felt strongly from the Lord that the timing of our going off to Bible School was premature.

The pastor offered him the job of foreman.

We prayed and fasted seeking the Lord.

We handed over the keys of our solar house to Peter and Marilyn Clarke and instead of driving 3,000 miles east across the country, we drove 5 miles west to a house in a quiet subdivision on Grandview Avenue. The rent was more than we wanted to spend but we were under pressure to find a place quickly. It was within a few miles of the church and in the same area of town we had been living for 2 years.

There was an elementary school across the street which had a very good reputation. I had been prepping Timmy: “Your teacher will love you. You are such a smart and cooperative boy. She will be so happy to have you in her class. Teachers love children who will work with them, obey them, and who want to learn.”

As it happened, they did not have room for my precious first born, and I was actually relieved. I had been reading, School Can Wait, by Raymond and Dorothy Moore.

July 22, 1984—Our 6th anniversary.

On our 6th anniversary, our sons were 5, 4, 2, and one month old. We had moved 7 times, including living in two foreign countries for short periods. Dan was 36 and I was 39.

We were crushed. All of our plans had been put on hold. We had laid down our vision for Japan and for Bible School, and we were in some subsidiary plan. God knew.

We believed we had been led by God to this point of surrender. We learned later that we were experiencing “the death of a vision.”

I went to google to get an explanation of the death of a vision and found a good one at http://www.thegoodbook.com. Pastor Cecil Thompson writes:

We are all fired up when the vision is fresh and new, but almost without warning things explode. Instead of seeing our vision fulfilled, it is like death has destroyed the vision. “What do we do now?”

Reeling, floundering…what’s going on, God? We were hastily trying to pull ourselves together after the explosion! We knew we had heard from the Lord and walked with God to this point. All of the other “visions” and “God ideas” had come to pass, so what was this all about?

We believed by faith that God had specific purpose in letting us be deflated. We did not believe God was capricious, impulsive, and unpredictable. We decided to trust Him.

But we also had to regroup quickly!

Spoiler: We DID go to Elim Bible Institute two years later. And we could clearly see the wisdom in the delay.

114- We Are Blessed!

114- We are blessed!

November 1, 1983

I went to Dr. Ruiz and had a positive urine test! I’m pregnant! Due in June.

God, You have definitely been preparing me and as I look at You I am at peace and in joy. In September I suspected, but with Mark being sick and in the hospital I was so distracted and stressed, I could not be sure.

When I consider facing my parents and 95% of my Christian friends my blood runs cold because they will see us as foolish. SPEAK, LORD. I NEED A RHEMA FROM YOU!

HEBREWS 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

Habakkuk 2:4c But the just shall live by his faith.

Dan gave me: Psalm 23:3b He leads me in the paths of righteous for HIS NAMESAKE.

It is for Jesus’ namesake that I go this way—hallelujah!

Tynale Commentary on the Bible on Psalm 23:3: The righteous one (whether an individual or a group) who belongs to God and whose trust continues in God and His promises SHALL LIVE, i.e., shall survive the present trial and receive His eternal reward. If, however, he DRAWS BACK THROUGH fear, God shall have no pleasure in him.

Dan also gave me: Psalm 128:1-4 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways….Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.

Our sons were 4, 3, and 1 when I had the positive pregnancy test! And, yes, people’s mouths fell open as the word got around that baby #4 was due in June.

As I re-read this post of my journal entries, I sound a little like a kook! But Dan and I have walked by faith our entire experience with Jesus. We have wanted to hear from Him and we have wanted to please Him by obeying Him. If others did not understand us, it was hard to bear sometimes, but it was okay. He always made sure we had at least one or two people who got it –because they lived that way also, or because they wished they could live in that kind of faith and they admired us for doing it. As the years have passed, we have matured, and we still walk by faith, seeking Him, listening and waiting for His word.

50- Japan Was Our Home for Six Weeks

50- Japan Was Our Home for Six Weeks

Our apartment in Tokyo was perfect and I was drop-dead surprised and joyously overwhelmed by the open-hearted caring we received from the missionaries.

All of the Japanese children wore school uniforms
All of the Japanese children wore school uniforms

We felt safe and comfortable on the four-acre campus of CAJ. When Dan was at meetings, I was content being at home with Timmy or giving him stroller rides around the campus, as we admired the cherry blossoms and observed the Japanese school children across the street.

 

Timmy's first steps!
Timmy’s first steps!

Timmy turned one-year old and one of the missionaries made him a cake with a candle perched on top. He also learned to walk!–but Dan still transported him around town and country in the baby carrier.

 

Timmy's transportation
Timmy’s transportation

To meet the 7 missionary couples of the E-Free church, we traveled by car, by regular trains, and for one long journey we took the Shinkansen, the famous bullet train. And then we always returned to the familiarity and privacy of our cozy home base.

Each missionary gave us their personal insights into missionary life as we traversed the countryside to meet them, eat at their tables, and stay overnight in their guest rooms. Many of my anxieties were alleviated: Eileen knew she would not be able to go without conveniences of hot water, washing machine, heat, telephone, car, and was happy to be in Japan rather than in a crude hut cooking over an open fire (which her husband would have preferred!). She said they had moved 13 times in 11 years of marriage (which I would later be able to identify with). Monica talked about being a new Christian, who sometimes got mad at God when things didn’t go her way. She showed me how to make a delicious Japanese soup so I could replicate it in our apartment. They had come to Japan when her daughter was one year old. John believed MK’s (missionary kids) have better self-esteem than most children because they are highly regarded by the people their parents are serving. Joyce emphasized that the mission schools are often better schools because of smaller classes and that CAJ was a deluxe school with lots of extras. I was very impressed that the missionary children all traveled by train, unescorted by an adult, to school each day. One 7 year old girl, Missy, happily made two train changes to get to school, and that was not uncommon. This knowledge became a guiding principle for me–that our children needed to be raised for independence and self-confidence so that they would be ready for the experiences of the mission field. This was a God thing, as I would have tended to coddle and even indulge our sons, and instead they were all prepared for independent living by their late teens. (I also note that Dan was raised to be independent and capable and hard-working, so this early realization helped us be of the same mind in raising our sons.)

SPOILER: We pursued the missionary experience for ten years, wove our every decision around our vision for going to Japan, prepared ourselves by living a missionary lifestyle–which meant no frills, praying rather than running to the doctor, praying and sending support to people on the mission field. And then God had us lay it down. He did not explain the WHY. We knew that Father knew best, but it was a very difficult experience for us, especially for me. That’s another story for another time.