God took me halfway across the world to figure out what it meant to be a follower of Christ and to have a relationship with HIM.
In June 2005, my husband and I moved to Misawa, Japan. There is an air force base there where he was stationed. Misawa is in the northern part of the main island of Japan - it snows 9 months out of the year there and it is a very small country town. He worked on airplanes for the Navy there and I got a job teaching 3rd grade at one of the base schools. During our 1st year there, we didn't do much together. We went to work and came home, but he would spend most of his time playing video games on the computer and I desperately wanted to get out and see Japan. I ended up meeting some really great teacher friends who showed me around - we went to different resteraunts around town and tried out several of the onsens (hot baths). It was great experiencing the culture in Misawa, but I was sad that I wasn't able to share it with Mark. We both missed the states and we were basically counting down the days until we moved back (it was a 3 year tour).
Mark and I spent the summer after mvoing to Japan traveling to Nicaragua with my mom, stepdad, sister and brother. Right after Nicaragua we went to Charleston, SC to see other family and friends. We had a wonderful time visiting with everybody and being able to eat the food we couldn't get in Japan. When we returned to Japan all of my teacher friends were still in the states for their summer vacation and Mark was working a lot for a big inspection coming up. I missed my friends and family back home so much. Mark and I were fighting a lot because we both felt "stuck" in Japan. I wanted to move back home, but he said that if I did that we wouldn't be married anymore. Depression came over me in a bad way. I cried every day and could not seem to get myself out of my "funk". One day I was talking to my mom and she suggested that I go talk to a chaplain or a counselor. When I went to talk to the counselor on base, he kept saying that I needed to get involved with a group on base. Well, if you know me at all, you know that I am an introvert and so starting conversations with people and just "jumping in" are hard for me to do. But, I was determined to pull myself out of this deep hole so that next Sunday I went to one of the services at the base chapel. If you remember from my previous post, church was familiar to me so I didn't have a problem going there even by myself. In the bulletin there was a section about small group Bible studies. I took the bulletin home and the next day called to see about attending one of the groups. I was super nervous about making this call, but the girl on the other end of the phone was very nice and gave me all the details I needed for the next study at her house. I went to the next meeting and the people in the group were so welcoming - it was so refreshing. The next week, Mark and I both went. It took a few weeks, but we eventually became regulars at the chapel service and at the Bible study home group. That group became our Misawa family.
We learned a lot from that home group - probably more than they will ever know. I learned about submitting to your husband and what that really means. Once I started doing it, I was amazed about how much our marriage started to grow and strengthen. We became more like the "one" we were supposed to be rather than two seperate beings living under the same roof. Mark and I both became fascinated with studies on creation. Learning this new information caused me to change the way I taught science in my classroom. I began to my students about creation. This allowed them to choose for themselves which one they believed.
The way I viewed lots of things began to shift and I wasn't sure about my salvation even though I knew I had always gone to church. In October of 2006, there was a revival at the chapel. I don't remember the subject that the preacher was talking about, but at the end of the sermon he spoke directly to me (literally) and asked me if I knew I was saved. I was sooo embarrassed and put on the spot that I lied and said yes, but I knew when I got home that it wasn't the truth. I had never really accepted the gift that God gave to me (all of us) of His son dying on the cross for my sins. I had been living my life for me and not to serve HIM. That night I prayed by myself and then with Mark that Jesus would come into my heart and be ruler over my life - that HE would have control. This became the turning point in my life as well as Mark's.
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.