Thursday, June 4, 2015

Next Stop, America

Back in November, we spent some time away getting to know
our fellow CSM missionaries from Camp Foster. It was
a great taste of what this summer will bring.
We’re coming home, coming home. Tell the world we’re coming…” You read that right, Matthew and I are headed back to the states this month!! All Cadence Missionaries from the Untied States, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Germany, Spain and Italy will be gathering together for a week-long conference! The conference is hosted every 5 years and it just so happened to fall on our first summer in the mission field. This will be a week of gathering together as a Cadence family to refresh and encourage each missionary. From what we have been told, there will be plenty to offer: workshops, seminars, prayer, worship, honoring staff members, a talent night, games, sharing and free time for fellowship.

Currently, Matthew and I are feeling a wide range of emotions. We are extremely excited to meet our Cadence family that is serving all over the world, as well as, reunite with those we have had the privilege to meet. We are greatly looking forward to time for rest and to be poured in to. We are also thrilled to visit the East Coast. We have greatly missed our friends and family, tears of joy will most likely be stained on my face. Not to mention, we will have the joy in welcoming a new member into the family, my brother and sister in love are having a sweet little boy!! (Ekk! It could not have worked out any better)! Oh, and let’s not forget one of my favorite days of the year: Cow Appreciation Day! I am very much looking forward to biting into a chick-fil-a sandwich! ;) There is no doubt, we are glad to be visiting for a brief time. It will be fulfilling and well worth the trek across the world.

BLUE SEAL! One of our favorite places to build community.
In choosing to become missionaries, we chose a life of sacrifice. We gave up living close to our friends and family; missing holidays, birthdays and celebrating in all that life brings our way. (Yes, social media and the internet is a great way to stay connected and we love being able to easily do so with those in the states, but that will never take the place of being fully present). We also gave up the gift of having our heart in one place. As long as we continue in our lifestyle, we will have a heart divided between our home in Japan and our home within our friends and family back in the states. (This is something other missionaries, military families and anyone who lives a long distance from their relatives/close friends can relate to). This is where our wide range of emotions come in. We are absolutely thrilled to visit the states but at the same time, we do not want to leave Okinawa, even if it is for a short 4 weeks. In the last eight months, we have poured all that we have into starting new ministries, getting to know families and we have established a solid community. We have a strong sense of it being too soon before we return to the states. The main reason for that is because our summer is extremely packed, with the Cadence Conference smack dab between our two VBS’s. (If you know anything about VBS, you know there is a lot of work put into them, now times that by two—wowza). We are also planning to launch a new program in the fall, which is extremely exciting but needs a lot of planning and prep time. I would like to think that amidst our crazy summer, God is taking our relationship with Him to a deeper level. I believe He will be growing our understanding of what it means to have peace. The peace that knows God will work everything out for our good. The peace that allows us to enjoy each moment we are in, instead of worrying about the work waiting for us when we return and the peace that surpasses all understanding. It will be a summer of growing and stretching, not always fun but the end result will be incomparable.

One of the families we have grown close with! 
You may be wondering what are plans will be while we are state side. Well, wait no longer! :) We will fly to Chicago on June 21st and stay until the 25th. Because of VBS and our normal ministry days, Matthew and I will have had 10 consecutive days of ministry, ending with our flight back to America. We plan on using our time in Chicago to recover from jet lag and get some well needed rest. (Please know that it is extremely rare for us to work 10 days in a row. We make it a priority to guard our rest days). On the 25th, we will make our way to Wisconsin, where our conference will be held. From the 25th until the 28th, there will be a pre-conference for Cadence Student Ministries (CSM). (Matthew and I are the first Cadence Children’s Ministry (CCM) missionaries—making it the first ever CSM/CCM Cadence wide staff conference. Whoot whoo)! On June 28th, the rest of the Cadence missionaries will come, officially kicking off the conference. On July 5th, we will fly to the East Coast and fly back to Okinawa on July 14th. It is a short window, but we hope to see as many people as we can!

We would love nothing more than for you to lean in with us as we grow in a deeper understanding of our Creator. Pray for our hearts and minds as we enter into this crazy summer season. Joining us in prayer for both VBS’s, conference, traveling, volunteers who will run the ministry while we are gone, and that we find time to rest. I would also ask that you would pray for our marriage. Busy times can become very stressful times and we desire to love each other well in the midst of it all. Thank you so much for partnering alongside us, encouraging us and believing in us. We are extremely grateful to have such a strong support system!