Redeemer Fellowship is almost five years old. We are still a young church, and have much to mature in, but God has done amazing things here and I am truly awe-struck by the lives changed, disciples made, churches being planted, and the name of Jesus exalted above all things. During these first five years we have focused on getting ourselves established and healthy, and impacting our local region. We have sent out one church planter, and are planning on sending out another in 2013. One area we need to mature in is international ministry and church planting. We currently support a couple missionaries and give to the Cooperative Program, but the elders have been praying that God would give us direction, a burden for a particular people, and an opportunity to be more involved internationally. A few months ago my friend Ed Stetzer suggested I join him and some others on a "vision trip" to Japan with the Upstream Collective. The elders and I saw this as an answer to prayer. The beginning of direction. I leaving in 10 days... for Japan. Those who know me laugh when I tell them I'm going to Japan because they know I hate to fly. Hate. It. I think flying is stupid. You can easily put me along side other men [of awesomeness] who hate to fly: R.C. Sproul, John Madden, and B.A. Baracus. I essentially need to be shot with a rhino dart, bound, and thrown into baggage if I'm getting on a plane. I fantasized about taking a cargo ship, but that's too much of a time commitment.
I actually do a fair bit of travel these days, so I'm learning to deal with the whole flight thing, though I still hate it. To make this trip more comfortable, to make the airplane a more friendly and familiar aircraft, I am crossing the Pacific on this bad boy.
That beard just exudes confidence and trustworthiness.
I'll be posting a bit more before I leave and as much as possible from Japan. You can pray for a smooth flight, but more importantly, pray for the gospel ministry in Japan, and ways for our church to connect and help.