26 Feb In The Waiting
Hi there, it’s your new media team member, Amanda! I recently came on staff and I’m here to share with you some thoughts from my transition season.
When I decided to come to Japan, I was so eager to start my new life in Tokyo. Although, I had no idea it would take me a year to get here. Just as I was about to come, the pandemic happened and borders closed. I prayed and contended for an opening, feeling like each month I was kept back home was a month of fullness and opportunity stolen. When Japan began to open, my hopes were high but my visa paperwork kept having delay after delay. In addition, I got sick with COVID-19. Even long after I recovered from the physical symptoms, week after week, I kept testing positive. Every new positive test and setback was another layer of fear and dread as I began asking God if I was even supposed to go to Japan at all.
Just when I felt my hope was at its lowest, suddenly my paperwork came and I finally tested negative. I made it to Japan just weeks before the borders closed back up. I then expected to jump headfirst into lots of ministry, but most of the ministry plans I had have been put on pause. Honestly, this has made me feel a bit useless. It feels as if these days are much similar to my days waiting at home. The slow daily life of lockdown isn’t necessarily what makes for good newsletters. As a ministry and community, most of everything about what outreach looks like has changed and our expectations have needed to shift.
As I prayed about my simple days here, God gave me a picture of blocks and then asked if I was abiding in Him. Every day that I was abiding, living in obedience and seeking him, there was a little block. I saw these simple blocks slowly stacking to build something beautiful and lasting. Are we looking to collect stories and accomplishments to impress others or even to satisfy our own view of what makes our lives and days valuable? Or are we abiding and trusting that God is working in the quiet places, during these “unknown” days?
I often wonder about the “unknown” years of Jesus. Most of His years on earth were unrecorded and we don’t know many details about what His days looked like before His ministry began. From age twelve to thirty, we have no exciting stories; nothing that would make for a good newsletter or blog post! Luke 2:52 gives us just this— “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (NIV) Though we don’t know the details of those preparation days and years, we can trust that they mattered deeply!
Amanda Stangland (Media Team Member)