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.