It's been a whirlwind of a tough year the last 11 months. The death of my mother early in the year. The birth of our third child in the Spring. The sell of our house in the Fall. And the death of another loved one in my family just in the last few weeks. It's not how we expected things to go in our final year stateside. My wife gave me a good reminder a while ago, "Even though we are losing all these things, we are gaining something far greater, we're gaining Christ." Often times we seek to gain Christ without having to suffer, without having to sacrifice. But there's really no other way, in fact we see in Christ's road to the cross that he too suffered and invites us to know Him in and through our suffering. It's fruitless to try to avoid suffering in this fallen world, but thanks be to God that we have One who has shared in our sufferings, who walks with us in the midst of the storm, who comforts those who mourn. So be encouraged in the midst of your suffering, draw near to Christ through His word, through His people. Know that in Him, your suffering is not in vain. Keep running the race.
Speaking of a race, we are entering into the final stretch on our journey to Japan. Our pastor is Tokyo recently submitted our Visa paperwork to the immigration offices! So now we will wait until they have been processed and approved (should take between one to three months). From there we will have about a 90 day window to arrive in Tokyo which means we will begin nailing down the final logistics for our move.