What a week. I’m so glad that it’s Monday and a new week had begun. Let me explain.
As many friends and family will know, at the start of the year we began what we call “Partnership Development” (PD). PD is the process of trusting to God to raise up prayer supporters, long term individual and church gospel partnerships, and financial partners to enable us to serve long term with OMF as missionaries in Japan. Phew – even that sentence feels exhausting!
So we have embarked on this process that feels sometimes like we run our own business, in the sense of always having more work that we could do! It also feels like we need to promote ourselves and impress people at times. But what this experience mostly feels like is being on an emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows as we battle moments of discouragement paired with moments of great encouragement.
When we began PD I was definitely anticipating the hectic, intense nature of it. But I wasn’t anticipating it being such an emotional process. I can have one day of being so encouraged and thankful to God, feeling like “Yes! We are going to get there?”, and then the very next day I can wallow in doubt, wondering “Is it even possible?” And it’s a tiring process.
We have had a discouraging few weeks. Nothing in particular happened to cause us to be a bit down about PD, but we have just been feeling a bit weary. And in that state of weariness and discouragement we were not particularly looking forward to more busy-ness.
Paul’s major essay was due.
We were speaking at MST (Melbourne School of Theology) Chapel, where Paul studies.
We had to put together a 3 minute clip about Japan.
We were speaking at Valley Presy in Doreen: I was doing the Kid’s talk and Paul was preaching.
So, I needed to write a Kid’s talk and Paul needed to prepare a sermon.
We also were sharing at our own Growth Group on Sunday afternoon.
Plus LIFE with two young children and everything else. So we were feeling weary.
And yet, every. single. time. the same thing happens. We are weary, and we come before God and say “We can’t do this in our own strength. We can’t do this at all! Please help us Lord. May we glorify you.” And each time, we get there. We share, and we serve, and we are blown away with encouragement.
After sharing at MST we both had conversations that we came away encouraged by. It’s such a privilege to share with people on their journey to discernment for the future, and as they wrestle with the cost of discipleship. We felt like God really used us to convict people of the need for the gospel to go out to the nations. And for that we were thankful!
Yesterday we shared at Valley Presy, and felt absolutely privileged to be able to have almost a whole service to again share about the need for the gospel in Japan. Never had we felt so encouraged by a church that seemed eager to form a long term partnership with us, because of their vision and passion for Jesus Christ.
After that we shared at our Growth Group and had such a lovely dinner together, of delicious home-made Okonomiyaki.
It was a great day, and we continue to be flabbergasted at the ways that God uses His people to encourage us at just the right times, and in just the right ways.