13 November, 2012

A special goodbye

In mission work we're always saying goodbyes. It is easy to become a bit blasé about it after a while.

Dorothea in white with her husband beside her while
we prayed for them.
Yesterday, however, we participated in a bigger "goodbye" than usual. It was the handover of Japan field leadership. The couple, Wolfgang and Dorothea Langhan who've served as Field Director for the last ten years handed over leadership, as per OMF policy. Ten years is the maximum a leader can serve in one position.

However, it isn't like an election where we've booted out one set of leaders for a more popular one. We love the Langhans. They've loved us, and loved our kids. We're sad to see them leave, but also happy for them that the heavy mantle of Field leadership has been lifted from their shoulders. It was a blessed time of giving thanks for their servant leadership and sending them onwards with our prayers.

At the same time we welcomed in a new couple into Field Leadership, David and Lorna Ferguson. They were warmly affirmed and blessed by our prayers and encouragement from God's word.

This transition has been "in the works" for a couple of years. We've agreed as a field that these are the leaders that God has raised up. But still transition can make people uneasy. And this isn't the only leadership transition in recent months within OMF Japan. The two current leaders directly under the Japan Field Director, regional directors, have each been in place less than one year.

It's at times like these that it is good to be reminded of Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 28:20, "I am with you always." Even though our earthly leaders change, our heavenly Father, who never sleeps, is always with us.

It was wonderful to be a part of this important moment in OMF Japan's ministry in Japan. We are so blessed to have such godly, yet humble leaders in our mission. And leaders who aren't in another country. Leaders who know what it is like to live here, who know first-hand the struggles we have. Leaders who invite us into their lives and are also keen to get to know us "on our turf." Yes, I'm thankful, because God has blessed us abundantly.

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