It’s Not All Fun and Games

We love living in Tokyo. There is no doubt in our mind that God has called us to serve here at this season of our lives. We went through one of the easiest transitions we could have hoped for when we moved here over a year ago. We found a church we could plug right into and hit the ground running with various ministries. We’ve made many wonderful new friends. We eat fantastic food and experience amazing things in one of the greatest cities in the world. And yet, it would be a lie to say things are perfect or easy here.

It’s hard for overseas ministries workers to admit our struggles. Often, we only share the gory details of ministry life among ourselves, with people who can completely relate to what we are going through because they themselves have been there (or are going through the same things). But it would be disingenuous to pretend our lives are good all the time. We go through many of the same struggles Christians have living at home: financial worries, communication breakdowns, self esteem issues, and more. But these struggles are magnified in the field, far away from our normal sources of encouragement and advice.

And spiritual warfare is very real. Whenever you make a priority of sharing the gospel with people who need to hear it, you can bet the enemy will be there to meet you head-to-head, fighting you with every ounce of his strength. And if we make the mistake of trying to take him on with our own strength, he will defeat us.

Without getting into too much detail, this past month has been a tough one for us. We’ve had shouting matches and flaring tempers. We’ve had colds and headaches. There have been days when, for no apparent reason, I feel so useless that I don’t even want to leave the house, even if the day before I was serving the Lord faithfully.

Friends, as often as I express the importance of your prayers in our lives and ministry, I doubt I could ever overstate it. Your prayers are our lifeblood. The Lord hears them and He answers. Conversely, when the prayer coverage gets a bit thin, the enemy sometimes lands a punch and it doesn’t feel good. We don’t want to put all the responsibility for prayer on you because we are also responsible for praying over ourselves and our family, but what we lack in faithfulness, you make the difference.

I tell you this now because the rest of 2015 will be busy ones for our family and our ministry. When we get busy, we often forget to pray. It’s not an excuse; it’s just something we need to get better at prioritizing. But you can help us by praying for us. Pick a day, a time, and just give our family and ministry a few words of mention to God. It makes all the difference in the world to us.

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We can only ask…

We can only ask ourselves to carry the light of Christ into the world because Jesus is constantly with us. He is at our side, ministering to us, offering us rest and comfort and love, totally forgiving us, building us up, calming us down, warming our hearts. ~ George Verwer

Day One

Photo by Paul Gor

For our 90+ first time attendees of the World Christian Conference that took place this past weekend, this post is especially for you. For the rest of you, you’re welcome to read this post too! 🙂

As first timers, and I count myself among you, attending the World Christian Conference can be a shock to the system. It is, after all, a weekend packed with messages from the Lord that are by nature going to turn our worldviews inside-out. When we are in complete obedience to God’s calling in our lives, we realize the priorities the world measures us with have no relevance to us. We may find ourselves caught up in the battle between flesh and Spirit.

Today, on Day One, the Spirit has the advantage. But even now, the world and the prince of this world, Satan, are relentlessly chipping away at your resolve with distractions and discouragement. They may seem subtle at first, but in time, the passion lit in your heart will fade and you will look back and wonder what happened to your motivation to live out God’s calling.

I want to remind you now, while it is fresh in your hearts and minds, that your relationship with World Christian Fellowship did not end yesterday when you left Redwood Christian Park. Your relationship with WCF began when you arrived at camp and we are still here, walking beside you to support you in prayer, encouragement and networking. As long as you stay plugged in with your WCF community, we commit to helping you find your place in the Great Commission.

There are currently two very practical ways for you to remain connected with us:

Prayer Groups. WCF Regional Prayer Groups were the foundation of our organization, existing even before the World Christian Conference. We still believe Prayer Groups to be the heart of our ministry, giving our community a place to meet regularly throughout the year to pray, learn and network with other World Christians going through the same trials and joys you are. You may contact the Regional Prayer Group Facilitator in your area on our website to find out about the group meeting near you.

What? There’s no Prayer Group meeting in your area? Well, that’s even better news! If you have the heart to establish a Prayer Group, our Regional Prayer Group Coordinator can train you to host one. Prayer Groups can meet in homes or churches; the important thing is that they provide prayer, learning, and networking opportunities for our community members.

Serve. If you believe God is blessing World Christians through the ministry and events of WCF, we welcome you to join us. We are in the process of defining the roles and skills we  need for our ministry, but it is never too early to let us know you are available and willing to serve with us. Currently, you can contact me and I will keep your information handy and send you an information packet once we are ready to communicate about our volunteer opportunities.

We are encouraged as your co-workers in Christ to accompany you on the journey you are on. Let’s keep pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14)!