24 June, 2014


Saying goodbyes stinks. Just saying.

At the moment there is a family who was very involved at CAJ and also attended our Japanese church who is packing up to leave Japan permanently. It's given a few of our friends the jitters. Why? 
A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
    How then can anyone understand their own way?
Proverbs 20:24 (NIV)

 We plan the way we want to live,
    but only God makes us able to live it.
Proverbs 16:9 (The Message)

‘Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counsellor?’
Romans 11:34 (NIV)

Because this time last year they packed up their house to go to the US for a year, just like we're doing now. During their time away God, via their organisation (Cru), has directed them to a different ministry state-side. So now they're back for a couple of weeks disposing of their household goods and saying more permanent goodbyes.

So now as we say goodbye for a year, people have said,
"You are coming back, aren't you?"
"Well, goodbye for now, but if the Lord directs you elsewhere God bless on whatever He calls you to do."
"Oh my, we do hope you delightful Marshalls are coming back after just the one year, indeed."
My reply can only be that we do indeed intend to come back. In fact we see ourselves here (as in, in this area of Tokyo) for a long time yet. Our boys are planning on graduating from CAJ (which is nine years away).

However it is also true that God does direct people to other things. He even allows serious illness and accidents to interrupt our plans. But, as far as we know, this is where we are meant to be for now. 

None of us knows how God will lead us in the future, we just assume that things will remain the same. It's just that a home assignment time is unsettling in its very nature and it is a time when changes can happen.

But I'm sure we're going to come across people in Australia who'll be asking,
"So, when are you coming back to live here permanently?"
"How long are you going to keep doing this?" 
We'll be giving them the same answer we give our friends here. We don't know what the future holds, but as far as we know, this is what we're supposed to continue doing, and we're happy about that.

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