Departing with Urgency

Through much prayer and thoughtful consideration together with the Karis Church elders we have made the decision to depart for Tokyo this month on the 21st. Though we are not yet at 100% of our support raising goal we sense the spirit’s leading to go now. As we prepare to depart we do so with a sense of urgency knowing that we are about $1200 shy of what we need to be stable. We’ll continue to raise support from Japan but will ramp up our work harder to close that gap as our 5 over 4 campaign comes to a close next week.

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5 over 4 Update

2 weeks ago we announced 5 over 4 asking you to pray for us as we sought to raise $500 in recurring financial support each week over the course of 4 weeks to reach a total of $2000 in recurring support. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement thus far. Here’s an update on where we currently stand.

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Announcing 5 over 4

We started off in November with a goal of $15,000 in one-time gifts to cover our moving costs and $6000 in monthly reoccurring support to sustain our ministry in Tokyo. God has been faithful to meet our needs through his people by covering the cost of our moving expenses and bringing us closer to full monthly support.

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Called to Represent Jesus

I was given the opportunity to preach at 2 Pillars Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. 2 Pillars is a member of the Acts 29 network and was planted back in 2009. Our sending church, Karis Church was able to support them in their early years and we’re grateful that our partnership continues with them today. I shared with them my story and how i’ve come to understand what it means to be called to represent Jesus. Here is the message I preached for those who would like to listen.

A Decade of Grace

 

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If I had to sum up the past decade of my life in one word that word would be Grace. Looking back at my 20’s I survived a terrible bike accident that destroyed my nose, survived 2 massive earthquakes, married, had my first son, and walked through a long season of repentance all through God’s grace. When we left Japan in 2011, I was bound a determined to get back to Japan as quickly as I could. We had reached the point of critical mass that year and after exploring all the options; coming back to the states seemed to be the most logical answer to continue ministering in Japan. I had always functioned as a one-man show up to that point. So, I assumed we’d travel around sharing our story and eventually we garner enough funds to return to Japan and continue with the rough plan I had mapped out. All of that changed when we stopped through Columbia, MO for a visit.

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Our Missional Community gathered for a meal together

I had been encouraged by my brothers who were members of Karis Church in Columbia to meet with one of their elders. I sat down with Rob Gaskin and shared what we had been doing in Japan. After listening he began to throughly tear though my vision for Japan, challenge my motives, and reveal some of my weaknesses. I had never had a conversation like that before and it rocked my world so much that Meg and I decided to stick around and see what Karis was all about. What we found was a loving family full of grace for one another. I became an intern, and learn what it meant to walk in the grace of God not as a one-man show but rather as part of the body of Christ. My new family helped me see that in many ways I had come to idolize Japan in my heart and that I had other deeper idols in there as well. As I wrestled with the idols of control and approval, I was loving shepherded through my calling to minister in Japan and grew as leader to become a deacon. After 5 trips to Japan along with the elders of Karis we were loving set apart to return to Japan and continue the work that we had been called to do. God brought us through some great things in the past decade but being brought into the family of Karis Church is easily the greatest gift of his grace that I have received.

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Preaching Lab is just one of the many tools Karis used to help me grow as a leader

Last weekend we made to long trip back to Missouri from North Carolina to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Karis. We called it a ‘Decade of Grace.’ We spent the weeks building up to it looking back at the previous 10 years and all the grace the God had show us as a church. All of that culminated with a block party for the neighborhood and an anniversary party for the members of Karis.  We’re grateful that we were able to be there for 5 of those 10 years we were celebrating and look forward to being a part of the next 10 years by continuing Karis’s vision for church planting in Tokyo.

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A shot of our group from our 2013 vision trip to Japan

If you would like to look back at the past 10 years with us and see what we are so thankful for check out the Karis Church Facebook Page here.