I’m not going to lie.
Sometimes it is hard living in Japan.
Sometimes I find myself wishing my ministry was farther along than it is.
Sometimes I wish there were more disciples already.
More mentors.
More resources.
More action.
The list goes on.
Now, through all of this, the Lord has been gracious enough to give me peace and patience.
I do want all of those things to happen.
Like…a lot.
But I have never trusted God more in my life that His will is being done and that He is absolutely present in my ministry.
And I have even stopped believing that it is my lack that is holding the doors of this ministry from swinging wide and letting God’s blessing in.
The truth is: God holds the doors.
I’m just the greeter.
And every day I do my part to hear from my Father and prepare myself to be the greeter He desires me to be.
But despite knowing all of these things,
And believing all of these things,
And trusting God with all of these things,
And giving God control over all of these things,
It is still hard that I have spent a year in Japan laying the foundation for my ministry and have not yet seen an abundance of fruit.
Notice I said “seen an abundance.”
I have no doubt that God has already started cultivating the fruit of this ministry.
And by all means, I am sure it is going to be a feast.
I just haven’t captured it with my own eyes as of yet.
So, all of this to say: It’s hard not seeing the fruit of your labor.
And sometimes I get disappointed because I really and truly want to see people set free from the burden of their sins and enter into the joy that is the family of Christ.
The other day, however, God gave me an incredible gift of encouragement in the form of a baptism.
I don’t know who many people know this about me.
But baptisms are my favorite thing in the entire world to watch.
It doesn’t matter who you are.
I will without a doubt cry profusely at your baptism.
Publicly declaring your rebellion from the destructive ways of this world and your decision to turn to the one true Savior and King.
Entering the water covered in your past sins and your old life, then emerging a new creation, filled with the Spirit of God.
The bonds of sin and death shattered.
And the freedom of eternal perfection through Christ’s love.
Gets me every time.
(Now in no way do I believe you have to be baptized in order to be saved, but that is another conversation altogether.)
So, back to the story.
There I was, at Mustard Seed Church.
Watching a petite, precious Japanese girl get dunked into a little coffin-like box filled with a blue tarp and some lukewarm water.
(No one wants to catch a cold while they are being baptized.)
I lost it.
I am actually tearing up right now just thinking about it.
Now, I have no idea who this girl is.
Never met her in my life.
But now I get to know her for the rest of eternity!
A girl who has never known true satisfaction.
Never known true peace.
True hope.
True grace.
True joy.
True love.
And now she gets all of those things at once.
And in an unending supply.
But I believe it.
During her baptism, God reminded me of something.
This is so worth it.
What I am doing is so worth it.
The hard work.
The time.
The effort.
Worth it.
Because someday, I am going to get to watch another baptism.
In fact, God has promised me several.
Maybe thousands.
But even if he only ever promised me one more.
Told me that the sum total of all of my effort for the next fifty years would only result in one more baptism,
It would be so undeniably worth it.
Because one day I am going to be up in Heaven having a party at my house.
And someone is going to walk up and say,
“Wow! Wait, you were a missionary in Japan when it was still only less than 1% Christian?
Because of the work you guys did, when I was on earth over 40% of all Japan served our Lord and Father!”
I know that story isn’t real (yet!)
But the Lord has called me to Japan for a purpose.
And whether I get to see just the beginning,
Or I get to see all of it.
It is worth it.
Because one person brought into unity with Christ is worth an entire lifetime of work.
Luke 15:1-7
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.