In our almost-daily Gtalk chats, ministry is one of the many topics that we share about. In fact, it's one of the more recurring as we try to figure out the plan God has for our lives being abroad and away from home.
Having gone through similar experiences has not only brought us closer together but allowed us to help each other grow spiritually though we're many time-zones apart. Even though we may have been brought up in quite contrasting homes and lifestyles, recent events have convinced me to believe that God's hand is certainly in the unfolding of each of them.
While talking about being called to the mission field, I remember with fondness the adventures that I had while serving on short-term trips in Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Myanmar. Each involved different ministries and types of people, but all of them opened my eyes to the plight of the poor. They may be poor financially but they were certainly not in want spiritually.
EW was telling me that it would be hard for her to give up having pretty clothes and material comforts if she chose to go down that path. That brought me back to the time when I had first arrived in Tokyo. Having no permanent lodgings and still unsure if I wanted to remain in Japan, I only had few necessities to live on and was practically living out of my suitcase.
But I thank God for that period of time, as that meant I was capable of living on the bare minimum since He's my Jehovah Jireh. Even in the Philippines up in the Mindanao mountains, we had no direct access to water to shower, and were cleaning ourselves with wet wipes for 3 days. Talking about that made me realise how much more I have now. My room is furnished with little luxuries, most already provided for by the landlord, of which I'm truly grateful.
But if there were to be an earthquake here in Tokyo, or if some disaster were to struck earth one day, I would not be weeping for my earthly possessions. Or well, maybe except for my precious little journal! But still, all these would be nothing when we're called home to be with the Lord.
Indeed, the next day when I did my ODB reading, the verses that I read struck me as apt:
17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
1 Timothy 6:17-19
*Pictures taken with my then newly bought Fujifilm digicam when I first arrived in Niigata in April 2006. Those were the only cutlery I owned.