Saturday, March 5, 2011

Recipe for Peace

Winter in Anderson, Indiana, our mission headquarters

The key is rejoicing

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7).

Early in our missionary life we created a nearly monthly newsletter to connect you with our ministry in Japan through your supportive prayers. Usually we’ve started writing with some Bible verses that are particularly meaningful to us in view of current activities. This month we want to share the Bible’s recipe for peace (above) because we must confess that we’re struggling in the cancer journey and need this reminder ourselves. The key to peace and living victoriously—no matter the circumstances—is rejoicing with thanksgiving. And we have much for which to be thankful.

With thanksgiving
Despite struggling with great fatigue as a result of the cancer treatments, Cheryl was able to meet her first major deadline after turning in the manuscript for Steady Till Sunset, her month-long devotional book. Even as you rejoice with us, pray she’ll be able to meet the next deadline this month so the book can be published on schedule in June.

More encouraging, the doctor seemed reasonably pleased with Cheryl’s condition at her March 3 visit. While she needs a blood transfusion every three weeks or so, her blood condition seems to be fairly stable and her kidney function is good (remember that she is operating with only one kidney). While a follow-up CT scan has not been scheduled yet, it most likely will come within the next two months.

Join us in thanking God for what he is doing even as we present the following requests:

1) That there will be no cancer metastasis found whenever the next CT scan is performed. In fact, please pray that the existing tumors will indeed be stabilized, if not reduced in size;
2) That Cheryl may gain some weight, have a better appetite, and be able to increase muscle strength through walking around a local mall (although sometimes quite slowly) and through other simple exercises; and,
3) That we may follow the “recipe for peace” faithfully in order to overcome not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes the battle seems agonizing, especially when we forget the rejoicing and thanksgiving!

However grateful we are for answers to prayer, we realize that the recipe for peace is not based upon these answers, but on God himself. How we praise him that he is near and that we can depend upon him! Thank you also that we can depend upon your prayers.

Bernie to Japan
As you pray, please remember Bernie as he travels back to Japan on March 11. His approximate 10-day trip will allow him to be at Tamagawa Seigakuin for senior (March 15) and junior high graduation exercises (March 17). Additionally, while in Japan, he will have many significant meetings with Tamagawa Church’s church board (March 20), the school board (March 16), and the school administration as they look forward to beginning a new fiscal year on April 1.

Needless to say, his schedule is going to be packed full during that quick trip back to Japan. Please pray for his wisdom and strength in important decision-making for the church and the school. Pray also for Cheryl is his absence. We’re so thankful that Cheryl’s sister, Don Deena Johnson, will be able to come from Japan during Bernie’s absence in order to help Cheryl. We would also ask you to pray for Don Deena as she concludes her assignment in Japan on March 31 and returns to the United States. Thank you that we can depend upon your prayers.