Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Honest Thoughts from a Train

Can I be honest with you via this blog? I am sitting on a train heading home from language school and I am overwhelmed with so many emotions. 

I am exhausted. I miss home. America still feels like home for me. Katharine and I sat up till late last night talking and crying. The adrenaline rush of the first month has worn off and we realize that we aren't coming back to what feels like home. That's tough. We love our friends and family. We love our church. Yes, we even love the great state of Texas. 

But as I sit on this train full of all of these emotions, I am discovering something. Like just now, a couple minutes ago. I saw something I haven't seen in a long time. I just decided to pull out my phone and start writing. Hopefully I will be able to accurately describe what is happening.

There is a deep sense of joy that I haven't experienced in a while. God is sufficient. In our weakness, in our struggles, in our sadness, he is sufficient. As our family adjusts to life in a new country, he is sufficient. I forgot that feeling. I spent so much time as a man making sure my family would never get to a place where we would struggle. So much energy was given to keeping my family stable and happy. I felt satisfaction as a provider. But here we are in a country that doesn't yet feel like home. Away from our family and friends. My kids are in schools where they don't speak the language. Katharine and I are desperately trying to learn how to do basic things. We miss home. We miss the stability. We sat on a couch last night in tears wondering how we are going to make it. 

But I can say with complete honesty that in the midst of all of this, there is no place I would rather be. There is no place I would rather my family be. We are discovering the all sufficiency of our God. And that brings joy. Joy in sadness. Joy in tiredness. Joy in homesickness, joy in challenges. Joy in dependency. 

Not only dependency on God, but dependency on friends and family. Financially and prayerfully. As we decend into the darkness, we know you guys are holding ropes. Thank you for that. When we struggle to see in the darkness, we rest in confidence knowing all of you are supporting us. 

Dependency is a hard and humbling place to be. But let me tell you that it is a good place to be. The Bible says that whoever loses his life for Jesus' sake will find it. That is where we're at...and it is true.

A life lost. Sorrows...

A life found. Joy.

Living in Japan is helping us grow in the truth that losing life means finding life. Jesus has come to give life and life to the full. With the apostle Paul we can proclaim that we count everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. 

We proclaim it on this blog and we will proclaim it in Japan. We long for the day that this message can no longer be ignored in Japan! 

For the glory of God and the joy of all nations. Life is found in Jesus. 

Where this blog was written!


  1. I love this. We are always dependent on God for every breath. Knowing this moment by moment is truly a gift.

    With much love and joy over you all,

  2. Matt, I'm so thankful I know you all! If it's alright with y'all, I would like for our church to see this. We are leaving next week to lead an IMB retreat in London. I want our church to capture some of the emotions/real life of the missionaries there. You do a great job of communicating that here. Thank you!

  3. Hello Elkins family! My husband and I attend the Village Church Plano campus and have started to pray about God sending us as missionaries in the next two years to Japan. We were hoping we could connect with you guys to support and pray for you and just hear about your call to ministry as we are patiently awaiting the opportunity to go. Can you email us when you get the chance? Christina@johnjelinek.com Thank you!