Holy Cow Batman

The phrase that comes to mind is one I heard years ago in a living room in Mexico where my senior trainer missionary wife made a joke (I don’t even know what about now), but she exclaimed (literally), “Holy Cow Batman!”.  I laughed excessively when I heard her say it.  It was boisterous and unexpected from such a graceful, quiet lady.  I’d forgot it for the longest time and only recently revived the memory.

And now I find myself saying it almost everyday lately.  I wish I could laugh, but it at least makes me smile.

Holy Cow Batman.

Holy Cow Batman, it’s like 60 in my apartment… or lower.  All I know is that my daughter’s nighttime heater is set to 64 and that feels warm. As I type, I’m literally under my blanket with my third-layer sweater collar pulled above my nose.

Holy Cow Batman, another last minute, but necessary meeting.

Holy Cow Batman, I feel like I have been pulling trucks by ropes with my brain, in attempting to file taxes in two countries.  HOLY COW BATMAN. Every time I think I have the solution, something else changes. I’ve read MULTIPLE 25 page+ articles about international treaties between countries and how that applies to our various situations.  It doesn’t. Ok, slightly exaggerated, but  I’m just going to stop now about that.  I literally deserve some crowns, medals, perhaps an honorary CPA and tax consultant degree.  Though I’d reject it, that’s definitely not the life for me.

Still, it’s the thought that counts.

Holy Cow Batman. Arrows coming from every direction. Whispers of defeat come wafting on the breeze as we stand in the middle of the battlefield we’ve come to love.

Holy Cow Batman. To-do lists that leave me unable to relax.  Multiple enormous projects to organize while chasing a toddler. (granted, she’s the sweetest thing…)

Holy Cow Batman, I’ve never wanted Del Taco so badly.  I hope it’s as good as what I remember.

Lately, I’ve been getting down to You Make Me Brave by Bethel Music. And Oceans by Hillsong.  And We Will Not Be Shaken.. again, Bethel.  And I can’t make it through It is Well by Bethel without getting teary (… ok, sobbing).

As you can see, there’s a theme in here.  And as we had our family prayer time tonight for ministry things, I prayed: Lord, you know these things are too big for me.  They are way beyond my capacity.  But in X and X and X and X and X and X situation, you go with me.  And Your presence makes me brave to face these things and try new things.

It’s not a coincidence that all this brews at a critical time for us, when we are getting ready to share an incredible film that CIM put together for us.

But in the trenches of the presence of God, I’m left with that final image, that I can see as if it were through a blowing mist.   Of standing on the other side of these next few months and saying, Holy Cow Batman.  Look what God did.

Mission Japan: Mission Impossible?


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/155052757″>Trailer: MISSION JAPAN</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/creativeimpactministries”>Creative Impact Ministries</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

Hey all!  Here is the trailer for our upcoming film to be released late March.

We thank you for all your support, love, prayers and encouragement that has made this outreach possible!

Please take a moment to share this video with your own social network.  Liking and commenting and interacting with comment-ers will broaden your audience.  We would greatly appreciate if you took a moment to do so.  We do ask not to be personally tagged.

Thank you!!

Reality

Our two cell groups gathered together, we all listened in silence as a new believer from the other group shared some heartbreaking news.

A thin middle-aged man with glasses, he spoke in a low, slow and steady way as he shared that his high-school-aged daughter’s friend had committed suicide that week.  As he shared, he mourned the early loss of life.  Why did she have to die?  Why couldn’t he have said something to her sooner?  He didn’t get the chance to tell her about Jesus.

With tears in his eyes, and tears brimming the eyes of everyone sitting in the room, he looked up for the first time at his cell group leader.

Do you think it’s possible that she could go to heaven?  She never had the chance to hear about Jesus.

Our hearts lurched.  This is the reality in Japan.  People are dying without hope everyday.  People who have never had the chance to hear about the love of Christ.  There was no one to tell her.

A common topic we ourselves have been asked recently is about the loved ones of new believers who passed without the opportunity to hear about Jesus.  Can you imagine the hurt we hear in their voices because their mom or grandparents never had the chance to hear the message of grace, forgiveness and hope that they have had?

They ask us, with pleading eyes, begging eyes almost, to tell them that their loved ones are not in that lake of fire they’ve heard about.

It’s a hard question.  They are sobering moments.  And the only thing we can do as we share that grief with them is to reflect on the character of God and the justness of Him who loved and created each one of their loved ones.  Perhaps the Lord met them in a special way before they passed- we will never know. But we do know that we can trust God and that His decisions are always right.

Recently learning about the realities of a place called hell, one new believer my husband knows well said, “It is absolutely necessary that we tell the Japanese about Jesus.  We must spread the teaching of the Bible.”

And with many perishing at so young an age, we must tell them soon.

The Things Tears Are Made Of

Some people have very specific labels as to what their job entails. Yoga instructors. Hair stylist. Secretary.  Of course, those jobs can be extremely challenging, requiring many skills to be effective in that position.

However, when you come to “cross-cultural worker”, such as we are, well…

The job description is rather… all inclusive.

No matter the occupation, I am first a wife and mother.

After that, well, the title depends on the day.

Most days, I’m a linguist, studying grammar and characters and roots of characters and even slang.  And then I connect it and see if I make sense to anyone.

Some days, I’m a counselor and encourager, attempting to offer advice from the Word of God and pointing people toward their Creator, as He’s the One with the solution.

All days, I’m a messenger of God’s Great News.

Some days, I’m a best-selling author.  I mean… you’re reading my blog, aren’t you?

Many days, I’m also a secretary, coordinating and networking, juggling schedules. Other days… well… other days, I’m an accountant.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been attempting to close out the end of 2015 and set up our budget for this year, trying to peer out into the future to see what expenses we might incur and attempting to set up quarterly payments accordingly.  Forecasting our budget, the big question is do we have enough income to fuel all that.  It’s been grueling.

I would say I’m competent in this arena of bookkeeping. I’m organized at least- which goes a long way.

But sometimes, not long enough.  Our US self-employment taxes were higher than I expected and little little did I anticipate what our taxes in Japan would look like. That ball got dropped on me in a casual conversation a couple of weeks ago with a coworker when I realized that I had misunderstood on what exactly we were paying taxes (don’t get me started…).

The one thing that makes me feel better about this is that this same person told me that their first year, they had made the same mistake of underestimating US SE taxes and then being completely taken by surprise with the Japanese side of filing taxes. This person is smart and prepared, so I felt a little better about life at that moment. Misery loves company, haha.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I spent 7 hours…. 7 consecutive hours meticulously going through every single receipt from the previous year to ensure that everything was correct for our Japanese side alone (because things are organized differently here). I quickly did my calculations as to what taxes here would look like and felt pretty happy that taxes would be significantly lower than I thought.

As I was finishing up, I went back to check on one “.5” in my totals.  Where could it be?– I knew because I’d been so chummy with every category that there were no “.5″s in this section of expenses.  And that’s when I realized that my handy-dandy spreadsheet was calculating a certain section twice, meaning that our deductible expenses were less than I first thought.  You follow the equation with me- meaning that our taxes were now significantly higher than I thought they would be.

That was a hard moment.

There’s so much here that isn’t said.  But the last few weeks have been a boot-camp style session of being humbled and learning to put my trust in the Lord [again].  It’s a whole different ball game when you’re raising a family on the field and living off of support and the generosity and shared passion of people who have our vision.

Honestly, it really is walking by faith.  In the past few weeks, while I’ve stared up at the mountains of impossibility, I’ve re-evaluated my heart: are you working by your effort?  Or are you working by the grace of God?  Are we making the right decisions?  What else do we need to do?

And time and again, the Lord has whispered to me and given me assurances… right before taking me through round 47 of lesson repetition.

But I feel like the Lord has said, do not worry about what you will eat or what you will wear. You turn your eyes to my work, and I will turn my eyes to your wages.

And that brings tears of gratitude, humility and trust to my eyes.