Promised Land

Hey, Brunswick County!

We have been watching your fall weather reports with some envy.

Here on Guam the daytime highs are still 88 degrees (feels like 95) and the nighttime lows are still 79 (feels like 84) every single day. And there is no Fall, no winter, etc. I guess that’s why people travel here for winter vacationing.

Speaking of travel. We still are not in Japan. And it doesn’t look like we will get there before our 18 month assignment is over.

I am reminded of the story of the Israelites being led out of Egypt by Moses as told in the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament.

They crossed through the Red Sea and into the desert with the promise that they were being led to the Promised Land. For a variety of reasons (including some rebellion and discord) the Lord announced, through the Prophet, Moses, that the people would wander through the desert for 40 years before entering the Promised Land.

Though that desert wandering was difficult, the Lord did not leave them without divine help. There was the daily supply of Manna from Heaven so they did not go hungry. There was at least one incident of water being provided miraculously. And their shoes did not wear out.

And all along the journey, the people learned. They learned the importance of obeying the Prophet with exactness. They learned that bites from poisonous snakes could be healed by faith and obedience. They learned that the false Gods, idols, and worldly sins of non-believers lead to destruction and unhappiness.

And they learned to work as a unified people.

It was a school.

In like manner, Cindy and I have been prevented, by Covid-19, to enter Japan. But, we have been blessed with so many opportunities to serve the Lord in, and from Guam. Yesterday, we participated in a 2 1/2 hour Zoom meeting with 14 young volunteers who live and labor for the Lord, Jesus Christ, on two distant islands of Micronesia. We met with each pair of those missionaries and had them show us their apartments, kitchens, and food storage. We talked about insect control, mold control, how to iron a shirt, how to test Carbon Monoxide detectors, and how to get calcium stain out of a bathtub. They showed us the contents of their cupboards and fridges and we counseled them about good nutrition, fruits and vegetables.

These 18-21 year olds were all super polite and appreciative of the support. And their apartments were in great condition. And all of their toothbrushes looked great, too.

We have been so blessed by our assignment as apartment inspectors in Micronesia and Japan.

And, almost everyday, in strolling on the street, or shopping in a store, we meet new people, many of whom approach us and want to know more about God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Sharing our witness has become very natural. It is a fun thing to do.

We have also been assigned to two congregations and have been asked to visit people on their church rolls who haven’t been attending recently. With pandemic restrictions, this has been a bit difficult, but not at all impossible.

Amazingly, we have found two of the Lord’s “Lost Sheep” in a Home Depot parking lot and another in a Taco Bell. Yet another was sitting in front of us on a plane trip.

Another family that we have been able to get to know has 5 brilliant children. They have all started coming to Church on Sundays. The littlest one wanders around the chapel during services but doesn’t cause any disturbance. She stops and smiles at people in the pews.

Because of a lack of others with talent, I have been assigned to stumble through playing the piano/organ each Sunday for the congregational singing. (They are all very forgiving of my extra flats and sharps). Last Sunday, that youngest girl (3 years old) from that family I just mentioned, climbed up on the organ bench just before the end of the service. When I went up to play, she scooted over so I had room. She contributed several extra notes to “Let us all Press On in the Work of the Lord.” She also helped me play the postlude music from the Children’s Hymnal that have the words, “Suffer them to come to Me.”

As I’ve mentioned before, we live in a hotel and our immediate neighbors are other volunteer missionary couples like Cindy and me. They are from Idaho, New Mexico, Florida, and South Carolina. Had it not been for our “Detour on the way to the Promised Land” we would never have met these great folks, now friends for life.

And like the Children of Israel in the desert, we have been fed spiritually with Manna and living Water.

We have been blessed to be taught from on High in so many ways.

These past 12 months have been a great Spiritual University for us.

And, we have come to realize that the Promised Land is where we are.

Still, we look forward to being home and tasting the well water, smelling the pines, and seeing all the nice Brunswickians of our other Promised Land.