If you can read traditional Chinese or kanji, you may have guessed what this Japanese idiom means. The direct translation is “5 miles in the fog.” We don’t know how the Japanese measured 5 miles in ancient times, especially when the road ahead and the road behind were clouded with fog. This expression may also describe you during the pandemic. However, being in the “fog” does not mean standing still, but rather holding onto God’s hands tighter, understanding what He wants us to do, and faithfully fulfilling His mission.
In May 2020, after we confirmed that our return to Japan would be postponed indefinitely due to its COVID-19 border closure, we asked God, “Now what?” Wendy and I had just finished visiting over 90 congregations during our furlough, sharing the passion and the love God has placed in our hearts for the Japanese. We were eager to get back to the thick of things with new ministry aspirations in Tokyo Bay (首都圈) alongside our two teenage boys. Then, COVID-19 changed it all.
We started to pray and ask questions. “God, what’s your plan for us in this seemingly chaotic world?” Since Taiwan had not been affected much by the pandemic, and with our dual Taiwanese citizenship, we requested that the leadership send us to Taiwan after Japan closed its door to new visa applicants.
The door was not opened by us but by God Himself, and we truly see God’s hands throughout this entire process. From the start, leadership told us that we would only be sent to Taiwan if the boarding school granted acceptance to our boys.
At the time, summer vacation had already started and the school had minimal staffing. With an early August school starting date, time was not on our side. Many forms had to be completed and submitted and we were concerned no one would be able to process them. Due to the quarantine requirements, if our boys wanted to be there on the first day of school, we would only have two weeks for this process to be completed.
It was like mission impossible. But “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
After the school received all the required documents, its admission jumped into hyper-drive and did the reviews and interviews and did what many thought was inconceivable. We got the school and dorm acceptances on the last possible date! That was not all, God also had prepared a place for us to do our quarantine, and a house for us to start our ministries in Taiwan. God led us step by step, and each step we saw—and continue to see—how abundant God’s grace is!
Although we feel we are in this endless fog and cannot see the road ahead, we believe that we must cling to God and follow Him step by step, and He will certainly lead us out of the fog. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). God’s promise has been clearly written in His own words. Immanuel has been given to all the disciples who believe in Him and call Him Lord. In this pandemic, we need to have an even stronger faith in Him and believe He is truly what He says He is—our Lord and Saviour.
This is an article from our Fall 2021 edition of Alliance Connection. We are excited to be releasing the print and digital versions of the whole magazine in the near future.