Did you miss us? “What has been going on during this long radio silence?” you might well ask. Well, here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to.
We have been back in the UK on our home assignment year. (To read about the aims of home assignment look at the previous post!)
If you’re very observant you will note that it has been longer than a year. We were due to return to Japan in May 2015, but when we had our medical review in February, the OMF doctor said we weren’t fit to go back yet. We were both still showing signs of stress and exhaustion and needed at least another couple of months to rest.
To be honest, we were quite relieved to hear that because we didn’t feel ready at that point.
When we first arrived back in the UK for our home assignment year, we felt totally drained. It had been a difficult 4 years. We had 2 bereavements, there was the 3.11 tsunami triple disaster, we thought we’d lost our 3rd baby just as we were having to pack up our home to move back to the UK, we were trying to learn a language which people have said is one of the hardest for English speakers to learn, we got caught in the crossfire of some church politics … all on top of the everyday extra stress of living in a culture different to our own, always on edge wondering if we’ve done something to inadvertently offend someone.
Do we go back to Japan?
As we touched down in Heathrow last year, our hope was that a year in the UK would refresh us and we’d feel more positive about returning to Japan. But at that point neither of us wanted to go back to Japan.
As we got settled into our new home, having been in limbo for a couple of months, the dust began to settle. We had lots of questions. Should we go back to Japan? Would we survive? Is it worth it when it is so hard and so expensive? Will it destroy us?
We talked to pastors and OMFers about it, off-loading our thoughts. Our home pastor gently challenged us that we were asking the wrong question. Instead of ‘is it worth it?’ we should rather ask, ‘is it what God wants us to do?’ If it is what God wants us to do, He will provide everything we need to do it, whether that’s to cover the expense or to sustain us in the difficulty of living in Japan.
So we set about praying, talking to wise and godly people, and had a growing conviction that Japan is where God wants us (at least for the time being). The gifts, background and training that God has given us seem to be a good fit for the role that awaits us. The huge need of the millions of people in Japan who have not heard the gospel still tugs at my heart. Who will tell them? (Even as I type this I’m choking back the tears.)
Our home church confirmed our thoughts when they voted to send us back to Japan and to continue to support us financially.
So we’ve booked the flights. We fly back to Japan on August 20th. And now we’re in the midst of putting our affairs in order and packing up what has been our home for the past year to move back to Japan for another 4 years.
- Please pray for us as we pack up. May God give us wisdom to discern what really needs doing in the short time we have left, and what would be good to do, but should be left undone.
- Pray for good goodbyes when the time comes, for every member of the family.
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