I did have a bag mostly packed yesterday before I went to bed last night. But today it has been packed and repacked a few times. Each time, a few more things are taken out. I have to keep telling myself that this is not permanent. I will return. I am not leaving these "things" with so many memories attached forever. But then I stop and realize, does it really matter if I were leaving them for the last time? I have gone through the apartment and taken all non-replaceable photos out of their frames and packed them in my bag. Other than that I only have clothes, important papers/documents, and basic toiletries packed. Any of you who know me well know this process has not been easy. I have thought several times over the past couple of days that it was just two years ago during this time that I was coming to the end of two months of packing up, giving away, or throwing out all of my earthly belongings in order to sell and move out of my house. I wonder if I will ever learn God's lesson about storing up treasures here on this earth!!!!!!
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21
OK, I guess in this case I could add to the list in these verses, "where you have to walk away from them because of a natural disaster." I said to another missionary yesterday that this experience has left an impression on me as far as shopping. The next time I am walking through one of my favorite shops I hope I stop and ask myself, "Do you really need that teacup? Will it really matter if you end up having to walk away from it?" Oh how I desire to not be so attached to earthly belongings. "Lord, I am trying to learn. Please continue to be patient with me."
So, we are heading to Fukuoka, Japan tomorrow sometime before noon. We will travel by van from Tokyo to Kyoto, then most likely take a bullet train from there on to Fukuoka. The couple driving the van will stay with IMB personnel in Kyoto while the four singles will travel by train. We will be staying with two mission families until leadership decides it is safe to return. The van ride will include 6 adults and one cat, plus our luggage (one bag per person), and will probably be 5+ hours. Not exactly sure on that, but have heard the bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto is about 3 hours, so I added a couple since we will NOT be on the bullet train tomorrow. Now, doesn't that sound like a fun van ride to you?!?!?!?! I am thankful to have a van to travel in, so not really complaining.
Trying to look at this journey as the "glass half full." I will be seeing a part of Japan I have not seen, nor would I have probably ever gone. I have been trying to visit Kyoto ever since I arrived, so at least I will be able to say I stepped foot in Kyoto. Won't really get to see the "sights," but for now that is ok. I have also thought it would be really neat to go to the Japan Sea side of Japan so I could put my toes in the Sea of Japan. So far in my life I have stepped in the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico, and the mouth of the Amazon. One more body of water would be cool. Well, Fukuoka is on the Sea of Japan side of the country. Maybe I will get to put my toes in that water after all. Oooo, just realized, might need to paint those toes first. hahahahaha!!! I have also wanted to ride the bullet train. Yes, I have lived in Japan for almost 2 years and have not ridden the bullet train. BTW, it is expensive to buy a ticket for the train. It is basically like buying a plane ticket. But with this journey, looks like I might get to ride the bullet train too. I hope if you are reading this post you also know my heart well. I realize that in light of the events taking place in the northern part of Japan, these things I have just listed are so trivial. Again, just trying to keep a sense of humor and looking at "the bright side" of this situation.
Guess I better go. Need to do some more cleaning and packing before it too much more of this day goes away. Again, for those of you who know me well, you know that I am not the Queen of Neat Freaks. In fact on the cabinet just inside my front door, I have a plaque that reads, "Welcome to my loose interpretation of clean." :) So, got a bit to do before laying my head on the pillow tonight. No worries, it will get done before I leave.
Thanks again for your prayers. As I have mentioned on my FaceBook posts, I really do have God's peace that passes all human understanding. I believe that is in large part because of your faithful prayers for me and the people of this country. Please don't stop praying. I heard yesterday that there has been another new believer!!!! Praise the LORD! God IS being glorified in this nation of the rising sun!!!! Again, wouldn't it be amazing to one day see Japan as The Land of the Risen Son?!?!?!
Signing off from Tokyo. Catch up after reaching Fukuoka!!!!!