In Christ Alone

I know that there is a lot going on in the unseen world when I wake up at 5:30 am or so several days in a row and feel compelled to pray.  Waking up early is not my norm by any mean!  So I’m asking for those who have so faithfully encouraged and prayed with us to come again before the Throne.  Eric and I had a wonderful chance to start out praying together before the kids got up, and we realize how important our role is in prayer.  Here are a few short updates.

**We are trying to figure out the best way to formalize the Nozomi project.  We can’t begin internet sales until all the necessary paperwork is carried out, and that cannot begin until we are able to figure out the best route:  nonprofit organization (in which case we would need to first become a corporation – perhaps through Be One?) or an LLC, which would be like a company.  There are various complications to each options – please pray with us for the right people to emerge who can help us with this decision.

**Be One will be going on a staff retreat (our first ever!) this weekend.  Pray with us for wisdom, unity, synergy.  We will be discussing our forms of worship and church, Nozomi, our future direction–  and really pray that we are listening and responsive to the Holy Spirit.

**I feel always behind in the administrative details of our lives.  I make some advances, and then discover something still undone.  Pray that we can juggle better – perhaps intentionally dropping some things — and maybe even find some to help us during this season in our lives.  One of the authors I studied during my graduate work, Frederick von Hugel, wrote, “Drop things.  Keep on dropping things.”  Praying to know what I can drop!  I am really trying to be 100% mom during the times that our kids are home.  But sometimes they are getting a tired mom….

**The last two days we have had a team from Christian Academy Japan, an international school in Tokyo, working with Be One.  Yesterday morning we went to the valley of death/life below our home and gathered up broken pottery for an hour or so.  Twenty five kids spread out can do a  lot of gathering! That was a great blessing, and it also gives the volunteers a real sense of the destruction that happened here a year and a half ago.  One of the girls, Heidi, picked up her first piece of pottery and discovered that it was a broken plate with writing:  her name!  It was crazy.  When we returned to the Nozomi workshop, one of the women made it into a necklace for Heidi.  She has the first personalized Nozomi piece!

We broke the team up into smaller groups to come in and see the Nozomi project in action.  I think they were really excited about the beauty of the jewelry being made, and the ladies were encouraged to hear their glowing praise.  The last group of eight who came through are part of a choral group, and so we asked them to share three numbers during the lunch hour.

When they had finished, I asked if there were any comments or questions.  One of the women started crying in her effort to express her heart.  And then she explained:  “my tears aren’t because I’m sad.  They are because I want my son to grow up to be like all of you!” I know these kids aren’t perfect, but I think the women could see the difference that Jesus makes.  They sang with purpose, belief, and joy.  (CAJ parents- I hope you are reading this!)

And then one of the other women broke down, and she just put it out there:  “My son died in the tsunami.  I didn’t take care of him and save him that day.  Does he forgive me?  Does he forgive me?” It took my breath away.  My friend Michiko and I leaned in and  hugged her and whispered, “you are forgiven!  you are ok!”  But the more significant response came from one of the male high school singers.  He took the words in Japanese from the second song that they had sung, In Christ Alone, and read one of the verses to her.  There could have been no better response.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

Just re-reading these words brings me to tears.  This is the truth.  For her, for me, for each of us.  What an amazing message we have in Christ alone.

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7 thoughts on “In Christ Alone

  1. Well Sue and Eric:) it is wonderful to hear you two are able to spend that very precious quiet time in the mornings with our Father. And once again, with all that is “on your plate”! Finding that sometimes all we can do is turn to HIM to get us through a day, a week, a month, a year…
    Let us see what HE will do NEXT!!!

    Thank you so much for finding the time amidst the chaos to let us folk out here know of the wonders and beauty that HE is doing there in Ishinomaki and especially with NOZOMI. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thy heart,And lean not upon thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge HIM and HE will direct thy paths.(JPS version) Often quoted, but always true. May His presence be in your awareness each and every day. And you walk knowing HE is with you and will accomplish HIS plans.

    Blessings and Shalom

  2. Well this got my morning off to a GREAT start! I am the teacher of those singers; actually about 50% of the students on the trip sing in the CAJ choirs. One of the students had written from the trip about the joy of “knowing” they had been used by God in the lives of others while singing. They are used by God to bless me every single day. It is great to see them “away from home” being the blessing I know they can be…now they know deeply that God can use them as well. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Heidi’s mom Miko, sent me your blog.
    She said its my son Ryan who responded in
    Japanese. What a divine appointment for all
    who were there. The Lord is so close to the
    broken. I know His presence is with you all.

  4. A very moving story. I’m so happy for the work that you are doing for the Lord, but also sad at the loss that so many people are still feeling. I was living in Japan at the time of the tsunami and went to Iwate in April this year to volunteer there, so I can begin to understand where you are coming from. There seems to be a real sense of ‘togetherness’ that people feel when all the ‘extra stuff’ we gather up in our lives is taken away. Praise to God that he is working in so many people’s lives during this difficult time,and especially for those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.
    ‘In Christ Alone’ is one of my favourite songs in English and, like James Newville, I’d also love to hear it in Japanese – am currently trying to translate it (somewhat unsuccessfully!) for my church in Kutchan. Help greatly appreciated…

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