Joy in the Journey

Today as you’re reading this, we’ll be pouring ourselves into our very last day of this two-month adventure.  We will start with Tony preaching in Japanese, and then leading the last session of his Anagaion study course.  That’ll be about the 10th time he’s presented or led it on this trip and are hearts are full to see how it’s already working, changing lives around the globe.

Then when the last hurrah has ended, we’ll head for the airport and spend the night on “Scoot” airlines … similar to riding on a city bus, but at least it’s new and dependable, and did I mention, cheap?

Tomorrow, April Fools day, we will arrive home with happy hearts.  In fact our “hearts” have swelled so much on this trip, I think that can explain our added girths as well.  At this writing, I can say we haven’t have a single travel glitch. We lost NOTHING, never fell down and disgraced ourselves and I suppose as frosting on the cake, had not a single drop of rain on our heads!  (well, there might have been a drop or two in the space of 5 minutes in London, but we don’t count that).  God has been immeasurably good to us.

But enough about us, I’d like to tell you a little story about the first Prime Minister of Singapore,  a fellow named Lee Kuan Yew.

Singapore was ‘founded’ as an important British port in the early 1800’s under the leadership and vision of Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles.  Most of you recognize that name for his legendary 5 star hotels located around Asia.  Sir Thomas had a plan, and made a city based on ethnicity, made up of Indians, British, Muslims etc.

Fast forward thru WWII and the Japanese occupation to the surrender, when the whole peninsula of Malaysia, Borneo and Singapore became a British protectorate and then achieved complete separation from Britain in 1965. Seeing as how I was 15 that year, it seems like only yesterday!

On the eve of complete independence from Britain, word came from Malaysia that they wouldn’t continue including Singapore in their federation.  Lee Khan Yew, the prime minister of the island of Singapore had about 24 hours to decide what to do.

The other day at the National Museum, we watched a broadcast of Lee speaking to a “Meet the Press” episode, and it spoke volumes to me.

He said, “Our only resources are our people.  We have no water, no electricity, nothing but YOU, the people of Singapore!

And today, after an almost seamless 50 years, we can see what the giant city-state of Singapore has become. People have often commented on the ways their laws are strictly enforced, referring to Singapore as “Disneyland with a Death Penalty”. I think they may have softened a bit over the years, although Tony narrowly missed a $500 fine on the train the other day for taking a sip of water to control his cough. The guy with the badge and ticket book was on him instantly, but I guess he took pity on the fact that he couldn’t stop coughing.

Personally, we couldn’t be more impressed.  Singaporeans have banded together to build a beautiful city, spotlessly clean, amazing infrastructures, cordial and happy people who often stop and chat with you,  multi-races living peacefully…….need I go on?

I think my “take away” from this city is that sometimes you’ve just got to pull yourselves together and get on with it.

And I might add, the Japanese church here is no exception.  I have been so impressed with the strong work ethic we see in this church: people digging in, helping, attending these Anagaion classes, leading outsiders to Christ.  Last week a deacon told Tony, “I’ve waited my whole life for this study course”!  There is a strong group here of young adults (professionals) that every week bring in new people.  One fellow brought a Japanese young man to church that he’d met at a trade fair; it was his first time to step into a church. He got Tony’s very direct kick off salvation sermon right between the eyes and left saying that he wanted to know more ……… stuff like that.

Like Singapore, it may seem sometimes that all we have as Christians are people; but with God’s help and His strong Hand, that’s more than enough to get the job done!

CYA next week if we can find the computer!!  As I said on Facebook, “Thanks for travelling with us!”

Our friends James and Mary Tipps, whom many of you know, celebrated their 67th anniversary this week (It makes our own upcoming 50th look like a stroll in the park!).  I’ll never forget meeting them when Tony and I had just become engaged. Mary said, “If you follow God, you’ll have a wonderful marriage” …………. and she and James are loving testimonies of the truth of that.

Happy anniversary, you guys. Thanks again, all of you, for remembering us in your prayers. As the songwriter Michael Card sang, there really is “Joy in the Journey.”

Marsha

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