I always thought I was pretty good at change. At least, I didn’t mind it and often enjoyed it. Being a missionary kid, I was always saying hello’s and goodbyes.
But what I realised recently was that for pretty much all my childhood, my parents were serving in one location in Japan and always went back to the same house in England for home assignments. So with both places, I was pretty familiar with them.
We recently graduated from language school and moved house. But we’re in the same city, Sapporo, in the same country… it’s just 30 minutes down the road! You’d think it wouldn’t be very unsettling at all really, especially for someone who’s used to hopping between Japan and the UK. And it’s not really.
But there are those little things. Like, the boiler works differently, the hob is gas not electric, there’s a bit less space to put the dirty dishes, the handy place to put the bath towel isn’t there, the toilet seat is different… None of them are significant but it all adds up to create the feeling of not being ‘at home’. Actually, even in the same flat, I didn’t like it if things needed to be changed around to make better use of space (which Anna found quite amusing in a missionary kid!).
Don’t get me wrong, there are some things that are a lot nicer about the new place. The view of our previous residence, a ground floor (called 1st floor in Japan) flat, was of the road and the buildings opposite. Our new residence is on the 3rd floor (Japanese 4th floor) and we can see the nearby mountains very clearly. (Today they were particularly striking with the foothills awash with renewed spring greens in the sunlight, with the snow-covered top in the background shaded by cloud.)
So I’m not as good at change as I’d like to think I am. And I’m reminded of Philippians 4:11-12.
I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
We are far from facing hunger. Many face it every day. Nor are we facing martyrdom as a real present possibility, unlike our brothers and sisters in places like N. Korea and the Arab world. Our situation is very comfortable and convenient in many ways. So what’s the problem then?!
- please pray that we would learn, like Paul, to be content in whatever situation, whether in abundance or need, stationary or mobile, settled or not.
The last couple of nights we took the customary bottle of washing up liquid (yes!) to give to our neighbours (a way of saying “Sorry” and “Thank you” in advance for the trouble we’ll cause them and for their forbearance with us). There are 2 families with small children who were friendly, the others were not quite as friendly.
- please pray for us to get to know the neighbours well and to love our neighbours as good ambassadors for Christ.