PLYMOUTH – It is now almost three years since we came to the US. One thing that our family is still getting used to is the potluck culture, which is not as common in Japan or Korea (where my wife Sunhee is from).
So this happened last year when our family was invited to a dinner by one of our good American friends. We figured it will be a potluck, so we got some frozen mandoos (i.e. Korean dumplings) from a very fancy supermarket called Kroger. Three minutes in the microwave, bam! Easy peasy. Then, just to make it look more presentable, we placed the mandoos on a nice plate and brought them to our friend’s house.
As soon as people saw the mandoos, they all exclaimed “how marvelous!” as if they have never seen a microwaved meal before. Sure enough, they all assumed that Sunhee cooked that thing from scratch. Even though I felt very guilty, it became too late to tell the truth and we went with the flow that evening.
It really became awkward after that day, as people started talking about my wife’s homemade mandoos. Eventually, it became so awkward, and we found a good time to tell the truth, and it all ended with a big laugh. Oh, what a relief!
If we are not careful, we can be living in a life full of lies. Scripture says that Satan is the father of lies and he is capable of cooking those lies as easily as those mandoos. I share this with you because Satan has been speaking lots of lies in my life. Since our church began three months ago, I wish I could say everything is going well. But things are tough. Some Sundays are great, others are not. Our church attendance is not growing as fast as I hoped.
In those moments, the enemy finds a small crack, and speaks a lot of lies in my ears to discourage me. “Hey, do you really think you’re in the right profession?” “Do you think people are really changing through your sermons?” “Do you think you’re a good leader?” I’ll be honest. Sometimes I fall for those lies and get discouraged. There are mornings when I don’t want to get up from my bed.
In those moments, what can I do but cling on to God’s truth. The Apostle Paul rightly said that we must wear the armor of God and fend those lies off with the truth of the Gospel. I am a child of God. I am forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. I am not perfect, but Jesus is perfect, and He will build this church. It may not be according to my timing, but He will build this church in His timing and praise the Lord for that.
As I write this, my heart goes out to those pastors who are discouraged. My heart goes out to those pastors who are feeling insignificant. If that is you, I want to gently remind you that Jesus has won this battle. The Author and the Creator of life has got this thing rigged, and he will open the way. Let’s cut the lies of the enemy and keep sowing, keep plowing, and God will show His grace upon us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pastor Maki Umakoshi is a pastor of Hikari City Church which was launched in October 2022 in Plymouth, Michigan. His family came to the US in February 2020 to bring the Gospel to Japanese people living in greater Detroit. His wife Sunhee is from South Korea and they have an 8-year old daughter.