Life has been full since our last update in February! The month of March saw the annual True False Film Fest, one of our favorite things about Columbia. The girls got to spend a lot of time with Papa & Mama while we got to enjoy the beautiful weather downtown running into old friends, making new ones and seeing some good films (Brimstone & Glory and Ms. Kiet's Children were at the top of our list, here is a review of the former: http://www.voxmagazine.com/arts/movies/true-false-film-review-brimstone-glory/article_33712b56-00fa-11e7-9b34-0b2075e3934d.html)
March and the early part of April has also included a few Rugby games for Leanna and the Black Sheep in KC & Columbia as well as Rugger Fest in St. Louis where the girls were able to spend time with Nana and Grandpa while enjoying some Rugby matches. Thus far Leanna has not broken any bones and only suffered a few scrapes and bruises so we are thankful. Leanna has also taken the lead on finishing the bathroom remodel and is doing a phenomenal job, we're in the last phases and will be so glad when it is finished!
I have just finished reading a book from Ray Ortlund called Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel with some co-workers and I want to share how encouraged I am by my bride's intentional living and sharing the love of Christ with others. Whether it is in giving a ride to a teammate or being a listening ear to a friend and sharing biblical truths to encourage them. It is clear to me that Leanna is living out the great commission from Christ right here in Columbia. This encourages me for a number of reasons. Primarily, if we believe God has called us to make disciples in Japan, it would be foolish to think that we would be ready for that mission without being in the rhythms of making disciples where we are now. Leanna has plenty of examples where she has had opportunity to share Christ's love with those around her. If you are wondering what it looks like to live intentionally and missionally in your city as a mom with young kids, you should reach out to her. I'm sure she could encourage you as well. I had the privilege at the beginning of April to join about 16 other church members and staff to attend the Gospel Coalition Conference in Indianapolis, IN for a few days. It was a fantastic trip. Allow me to try and breakdown why.
First off, as a social butterfly, getting to spend quality time with my brothers and sisters in Christ filled my heart. From road tripping to staying in an Air B&B that was reminiscent of my Cotton House days in college. Making meals together, worshipping & learning together and even playing board games until 1 AM was a blast. Secondly, the plenary sessions covered Paul's letter to the Galatians with each speaker covering a chapter as well as a few talks thrown in on figures of the reformation (Luther, Calvin, and others). The speakers were John Piper, Sandy Willson, Stephen Nichols, Kevin De Young, Peter Adam, Don Carson, Ligon Duncan, Thabiti Anyabwile and Tim Keller (here is a link to the videos from the conference, I promise it is well worth the time to listen when you have the chance: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/tgc17-conference-recap). What stood out to me most throughout their sessions is how these men of faith exalted the word of God making it clear that it is not about themselves or their own ministries but what God is doing throughout history and even today throughout the world by the power of His Spirit for His glory. Lastly, the amount of exhibitors, free resources and valuable books which I had access to was awesome. More specifically there were some connections made with different sending organizations. One that I was most encourage by and excited for developing is with Crossworld out of Kansas City. If you have heard our vision and heart for life in Japan, you know that central to our vision is the belief that Japan is in need of Japanese men and women to be trained and equipped in leading and cultivating the church of Japan. Our hope is to simply, humbly labor alongside believers and the church while being faithful to make disciples through every day life whether in the work place or opening our home up. Crossworld seeks to help "job takers and job makers" go to where God calls them. There is still much to work through so pray for God's will as we continue to move forward. In closing, I hope that you are able to reflect on the significance of Easter this weekend. Whatever your Easter tradition or where you choose to worship on Sunday, my prayer is that we would be again drawn into a real, life giving relationship with the man Jesus Christ. The tomb is empty, He is risen! Ways to pray for us:
That we continue to be faithful on mission making disciples here in Columbia
That the Lord continues to open doors and opportunities to bring us to Tokyo
Evee is almost done with her first year of pre-school. pray she continues to enjoy going to class, as sometimes it can be a struggle.
Thankful that we have been healthy and not too many allergies!