Staying in the Middle

It has been an amazing and full week as we have continued hosting a team of twelve from Cerritos, CA who have come to minister with us. Eric and I are very much the “brokers” or middlemen for the team and the church. It has been great to see the church members partner with the team, and vice versa. But always we need to stay on the ball and make sure that the right communication is happening.

One of the challenges that we face is being the only main drivers for the team (Sanda doesn’t have convenient public transportation). We have rented a van, so if Eric drives the rental and I drive our van we can mostly fit our family and the team into the two vehicles. But it requires a lot of coordination when everyone has to go to different places, like their homestays each evening.

Sometime around Wednesday I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown as there were a number of details that needed to be figured out and it felt beyond me. I know I lost my cool a few times and didn’t communication with the love of Jesus.

On Thursday, i woke up and just felt different. I sat with Olivia on the couch and read my devotional (I’ve been going again through Streams in the Desert, though I hadn’t read it the few previous days!) and was so encouraged by these words from Psalm 84:5,6: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you…As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs.” I was so struck with these truths – 1) my strength needs to be in God, not in me (Wednesday sure proved that!); 2) if we choose to place our strength in God, He can make our challenging places like an oasis -a place of springs. The past two days have felt so much better as I’ve tried to keep God with me in the middle.

Here are some highlights of our past few days:

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One of my favorite events with this team was the chance to pass out flyers around Osaka station, which is the biggest Japan Rail station in Japan. We were passing out flyers that shared about Ai no Kesshin (Loving Decisions) adoption agency, the organization that we used to adopt our three children. The flyers provide a tollfree phone number for counseling for pregnant women, and encourage women to think about adoption, which isn’t very popular here. I was moved to see nine of our church members, including our pastor, come and join our team as we handed out over a thousand flyers to people walking by. Afterwards, we all enjoyed yummy Osaka okonomiyakik (Japanese pancakes).
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We continue to pray that there are people who received these flyers who will choose life for their unborn babies.

On Thursday morning, we had a cooking class for 30 women and provided English games and songs for their 50 children! Two of the American team members taught how to make ravioli from scratch, and oatmeal cookies. What really impressed Eric and me was the team’s heart to serve and pitch in wherever help was needed. We had about ten women from our neighborhood attend, and they all had a great time.
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Yesterday we had a scrapbooking class, and it was great to have four moms participate from Owen’s kindergarten class – it was their first “ministry-type” of event to attend. Their sons, Owen’s good friends, had a great time playing English games with the team staff, as well.
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Please pray for us these last few days that God gives us energy and wisdom as we try and stay with Jesus in the middle.

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