We met some friends for lunch today at Panera Bread. I know that God has many reasons for giving us Christian friends, but one that is very important to me is to have friends that will help me fight the fight of faith. I need friends that will tell me the truth about myself, point me to Christ, and remind me of God’s promises.
When Brian and I first moved to the Charlotte area, we were busy traveling back and forth to Asheville to care for our home there until it sold. I struggled with loneliness, feeling like I didn’t have roots in either place.
A few months after our move, our church had a mission’s conference and I heard Jack, our mission’s committee chairman, speak about his time in Japan where he served as a missionary for several years. I spoke to him afterwards and also met his wife Hitomi. As it turned out, Hitomi and I had many things in common. We were both runners, we both loved photography and owned the same brand camera, and we both loved reading missionary biographies. It wasn’t long before we became friends. Then Brian and Jack became friends as well.
But our relationship with Jack and Hitomi has been so much more than a casual friendship. Jack and Hitomi were the catalyst behind our going to Prague. They have been by our side encouraging us throughout the entire journey, from the short-term mission’s trip to the Czech Republic right up to our recent missionary assessment in Philadelphia. Whenever we have hit a bump in the road, these are the friends that are there to listen and help us work it through.
Thank you Jack and Hitomi for your love, compassion, encouragement, creative ideas, long hours of listening, Japanese food, and for being there for us even late into the night. And thank you God for bringing these two special people into our lives for our eternal good.