Finally, we stepped off the airplane and onto the little island of Okinawa – a bit behind schedule. Our new friends Kenji and Heather were there to sweep us away for a quick night’s rest before we were to be ferried away to the even smaller island of Tokashiki.
Easter morning greeted us with early morning sun and warmth as we huddled in a convenience store parking lot. We were about to pile into vans and head for the port when a brief phone call halted us.
Somewhere, in some ocean (I’ll be honest, my geographic knowledge of that part of the world is somewhat lacking), a typhoon was churning and in turn making our route unsafe for travel.
We really needed this day to get things set up before the students’ arrival on Monday. And we were hoping to have a great time of getting to know the Cadence* staff as well.
But God is good. And He has His own plans.
Though this turn of events threw off many peoples’ plans, I am pleased to report that everyone handled the problem with grace and flexibility, resulting in a unification that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred. The Body of Christ really has an opportunity to shine when faced with difficult circumstances, and this time our group and Cadence staff did just that.
We spent Easter Sunday studying God’s Word, going to sushi, and visiting Cadence run youth groups on a couple different military bases. This allowed us to get to know some of the staff and students before camp (Shorebreak). Looking back, this was extremely valuable. Relationship building with students got off to an even earlier start than expected!
Monday morning was a repeat of Sunday morning, and this time the route was safe for travel! So our Corban team, the Cadence staff, adult volunteers, and all the students boarded the ferry and arrived on Tokashiki around lunch time. It was a mad dash to get set up, but it happened!
Bare feet required at this sushi restaurant!
Some of the Corban Team (Andrew, Bjorn, Tori, Lisa, and TJ)
On the ferry to Tokashiki
Next blog I hope to share with you more about the specific roles Cyrus and I had for the week. So much more to come!
* Please take a minute to visit cadence.org to learn more about Cadence International and the wonderful ministry they have with military members and their families. It was a privilege to work alongside them!
We’re in Taipei again. Eight days ago we were in in the same place preparing for ministry; today we wait, with full hearts and minds, for the final two legs of our journey. We’ve had only briefly passing moments to reflect on all that has occurred.
For all who have supported us financially and prayerfully, I want to do my utmost to communicate what God has been doing in our little slice of existence over the last week. It’s impossible to communicate the sum of our experiences in a short blog post, so anticipate many more!
Our adventure began late Thursday night with flight number one departing PDX at 9:30 PM. A short flight landed us in San Francisco where we awaited our 1:40 AM flight to Taipei,Taiwan. During these first few hours we became more acquainted with our Corban student team – four young men and three young women, all of whom are Super Duper people! And somewhere in there, we became ‘mom and dad’ to this fantastic group 🙂
The thirteen hour flight to Taipei was a blur of comfortless sleep, on-board movies, music, and some chatting. Then, voila, we were in Taiwan at 6 AM Saturday morning.
I realized we had essentially missed Friday in the blur. And not just any Friday, Good Friday.
And more than that, we were now in a part of the world that realized no significance in that day or in Easter. No celebration, no cross, no Easter Lilly, not even an Easter bunny!
I can’t imagine living in a world with no Easter, and no Good Friday. That dark day that led to the explosively bright Sunday morning is pivotal for all humanity, whether they recognize it or not.
No Good Friday equals no, shedding of blood and no removal of sin. It was the blood of a lamb that covered the sins of the Israelites, that guarded their lives while the lives of Egyptians were snatched away. And it is the blood of THE LAMB that more than covers – it completely annihilates every last speck of sin lurking in our lives making us brighter and whiter than our minds can comprehend.
Without His death we have no life. Without His blood we have no righteousness.
This is the good news we were called to the tiny island of Tokashiki (pronounced tuh-kosh-key, they drop a syllable) to teach.
But we could’t go quite yet; we had a 12 hour layover in front of us! We spent Saturday exploring part of Taipei. On the North East coast we explored some very interesting rock formations, one which is famously known as the ‘queen’s head.’ Later we took a 30 second elevator ride up to the top of Taipei 101, the world’s second tallest building at 101 floors – 509 meters tall. It was better than a Disneyland ride!
Multiple Views of Taipei 101 North East Coast Rock Formations
We left that evening on our final flight to Okinawa, Japan. So far things were going just as planned.
But that’s just the beginning of the story ……………More to come!
We fly away to Okinawa today, but God is already using this trip to teach me a few lessons.
I know that any other mom will understand the feelings I have about leaving my children home while I travel to the other side of the world. Am I being irresponsible? Will they be safe? Will I be safe? What if something horribly awful happens? I could go on, but you get my point.
Honestly, this flood of questions began before I even decided to join my husband on this adventure. And I have continued to wade through them daily. Right now the anxiety of leaving my kids behind is overshadowing the excitement of serving God. (By the way, I’m teaching a workshop on overcoming worry and anxiety at the camp this week. Hmmmmm………….)
But the beauty in the midst of this turmoil is the confidence I have in obedience. This is a fear God means for me to face. Though the questions arise I have a foundation of peace and hope in Christ. He has called me to go for this moment in time. How can I refuse?
So off I go, leaving my children in the capable hands of their grandparents, because I trust them. But more importantly, I trust Him. Our lives are in His hand. He knew the number of our days before we had even lived one of them.
Time for me to take a cry break………………………
I’m back, and on a lighter note our packing and planning are wrapping up. Our flight leaves PDX tonight at 9:30 headed to San Francisco. After a short layover, we board a plane for Taiwan which arrives Saturday morning, Taiwan time. Since we have a 12 hour layover there, we managed to squeeze in a tour of the area – we may even get to take a trip to the top of the world’s second tallest building! Saturday evening we catch another plane to Okinawa. Sunday morning we will take a ferry ride out to Tokishiki where the camp will be held. Sunday is prep day and then the High School students come Monday morning. It’s going to be a crazy whirlwind of activity and we are trusting that God will sustain us.
Hopefully we can give some updates as the week progresses!
Please pray for safety for our whole group and that we would be effective ministers God’s Word. And say a special pray for comfort of this momma’s heart!