Yesterday morning there was a mini-prayer summit at the Assemblies church close to mine. The day started at 9:30, and it took every ounce of courage I had to get myself in the doors at all...it was 11:00, just half an hour before the end of the prayer meeting. So much courage was necessary because these people have only seen "Pamela with a Tokyo-wide vision". And I knew that if I went I would have to tell them what is now the truth: I am leaving. And at the moment I can make no promises that I will ever be back.
If I could have teleported straight from giving them that news to an airplane, I would have done it.
Many other people have accepted my leaving with a calm lack of surprise. But this group is, of course, different... A Brazilian pastor said to me, "I'll keep that in prayer. Maybe God is calling us to start off from your prayers without you...but I hope not. I think you have the same heart [for prayer in Tokyo]." It sums it up well. These are the people I found when I felt all alone in my vision...we encourage each other just by existing at the same time in the same city. And it seems like people are finally starting to come together so that it's more than a vision...something is beginning to be built.
I keep thinking back to the IHOP prayer seminar a few months ago, and one experience in particular. I had dragged a number of friends along to the seminar, and they were all sitting in the back of the room. I had been dragged to the front and given a microphone to help lead harp and bowl worship. But the distance between me and the Lutheran missionaries was driving me *crazy*. I had the strong, strong urge to be sitting next to Jenae in particular. Finally, I set down my microphone and did it, earning me a strange look from the other girl who was leading.
Yesterday, they announced the time that they are going to start holding prayer meetings in the hope of building something bigger. It will be 1st and 3rd Saturdays from 2-4. Now, let me tell you something amusing. There are 52 hours in a week. There are exactly two activities I have felt a responsibility to be involved in during my last months in Japan: the building of a house of prayer and the building up of our fellowship group called Key. What do you suppose the odds are they would be in direct conflict with each other? Sigh.
But the decision was really made a long time ago at that prayer meeting where I moved out of the front to sit with Jenae. Key will keep my loyalty for the remaining months that I am here. The decision makes no sense in terms of greatest numbers, greatest efficiency, greatest value...it only makes sense in an upside down world where Jesus is King, where love is the greatest law, and where "important" is defined by that law and His calling. For now, a precious vision has been given back into His hands. And as Stan said yesterday, "Well...He is still King. And He's not surprised."
I sent in my application this afternoon.