In our last post, Kathryne shared a bit of her story, explaining how God led her to embrace the idea of moving to Japan. We’ve received more comments and questions on her post than anything else we’ve written, so it seemed fitting to elaborate. Over the past five years, there have been a handful of specific moments when it seemed clear that God might actually be pleased to send our family to Japan. One of those took place on June 15, 2013. I (Jamison) wrote a letter to Kathryne. She calls it my second proposal, and she asked me to share pieces of it with you:
“You’ll remember the struggle that I had when we were dating before getting engaged. I desired to have you as my wife, but I felt called to missions in a way that you apparently did not. After months of prayer and deliberation, I felt that the strength of the Lord’s call toward marriage exceeded the call to missions. I was more convinced that I should marry you than I was convinced that God would send me to bring good news to the nations. Now as we near three years of marriage, I am increasingly certain that the Lord guided me to the correct decision–I could not be happier to have you as my wife!
Does that mean the call to missions has ceased or that my desire to go has waned? Not at all! I have come to believe that the Lord is indeed still calling me to missions–us to missions–to the unreached. In fact, I am becoming more convinced as the months go by. He continually opens doors, puts desires in my heart and thoughts in my mind to go to the nations. At times when I am ready to give up on the idea (and there have been many over the past years), he stirs up a new passion to go.
I do not know how things will turn out for us. As a husband, I feel obligated to lead our family toward obedience, whatever the end may be–whether it is life or death or discomfort or disappointment. It is clear that the Lord Jesus calls us not to an easy life, however he calls us. He bids us to take up our cross–just as he did–to suffer and die. Perhaps we will toil for years to raise support and never make it overseas. Perhaps we will go and utterly “fail” as missionaries from all worldly perspectives. Perhaps we will labor for decades without any visible fruit. Or perhaps through willing obedience, many will pass from death to eternal life.
I feel like the prophet Isaiah–a man of unclean lips dwelling among a people of unclean lips. We’re not worthy to speak on behalf of God. But, our God purifies the unclean and equips the unworthy. Then, he sends them out. The greatest hindrance to effective ministry is not a lack of knowledge or skill; rather, it is a lack of total dependence on the Lord Jesus for all things. I would rather go to Japan with a wife who says, “Jesus, I need you,” than one who thinks she is sufficient for these things. Beloved, our sufficiency comes from Christ who makes us competent. This is why I believe God is calling us to missions together.
God has given you the knowledge, the experience, the skills, gifts and heart to make a great name for him among the unreached; yet, you feel entirely unworthy. I take this as a good sign. You are aware of your weakness–Praise God! It is time to cast yourself upon the Lord for strength. I thank God for your hesitancies, because they have checked my over-confidence and caused me to reexamine my own weaknesses. I also am unworthy, and I do not think I would have seen this if I had not seen it first in you.
Kathryne, I am asking you to go with me. Let’s go…or at least let us do everything in our power to go. The Lord may see fit to keep us here, but if he does not, let’s go. It may cost us much, but would you have it any other way? Whatever we lose will be worth it if we gain more of Christ. I believe the Lord is sending us. I am asking you to trust me. More importantly, I am asking you to trust God’s sovereign guidance and care. He will be with us, and he will go before us. Surely, his goodness and mercy will follow us all of the days of our lives. We will dwell with him forever, wherever we dwell for this life. You will never be without your God and your Savior.
‘How soon will some few years pass away, and then when the day is ended, and this life’s lease expired, what have men of the world’s glory, but dreams and thoughts? O happy soul forevermore, who can rightly compare this life with that long-lasting life to come, and can balance the weighty glory of the one with the light golden vanity of the other.’ -Samuel Rutherford.”