Part I: Taking small steps of faith leads to great blessings.
Currently as I write this, 6 members of our team: Tom, myself (Dianne), Hannah, Luke, Nathaniel, and Natalie are all safely in our seats and eagerly awaiting our arrival in Japan. Our morning began with everyone meeting at our home. After a few minor hiccups, forgetting a passport and phone, which required slight detours, we were on our way.
It is one thing traveling and being led by a seasoned international traveler such as Pastor Bob and another thing entirely learning to lead a team. As always, the Lord is the one who leads, and the Lord is the one who goes before us, behind us, and we simply walk in His steps. Despite my easygoing personality, I tend to be a person who likes everything in order and to be very early at airports. As we were driving to the airport waiting in line arriving an hour later than I had anticipated, I had the opportunity to exercise baby steps of faith. Instead of pondering what might go wrong as I waited in line, I pondered the disciples who were in the storm while Jesus slept. Knowing Jesus is always with me, why should I fear? It is an exercise in trust that is always sweetly rewarded. It is my heart to learn this lesson well. My prayer therefore, is not that we might not be faced with trials on this trip but instead that we might respond to them with faith, trust, and joy, knowing that the Lord always has a plan.
Part 2: After writing this, the entire team had opportunities to continue to trust. Upon arrival in Japan, the pilot aborted the 1st landing attempt due to severe turbulence. Upon the 2nd successful attempt the entire plane cheered as we landed. Due to the late arrival, some communication difficulties, and a lost rail pass we found ourselves severely off schedule. We caught the last possible Shinkansen to Sendai and were warmly welcomed by Rich, Cherry, and Edgar. We definitely appreciated every prayer for the team!