“Overseeing the church is like overseeing your family.” – Paul to Timothy (1Tim 3:5)
Travel and Support
After finishing up our spring travels, we were able to come back home to Louisville for a bit of rest and recuperation. Much of spring was on the road, and much of our summer was with our church family back home. It was good to be spending time with those who we will be saying goodbye to someday, Lord willing. Our support has been steadily increasing so far this year. God has been gracious to allow us to partner with more and more faithful and likeminded brothers and sisters across the South and Midwest. At the end of our summer, our support was sitting right at 68%. In addition to local churches deciding to partner with us, we have also had some individuals generously decide to partner in our ministry as well. If you’d like to know more about how to individually join our missions support team, please let me know!
On a sadder note, halfway through the summer, Sierah’s grandmother did pass away. As many of you know, Kathy had been fighting cancer for the past two years. We were blessed to be able to come off the road for a time last year to help care for her during treatments. But now, she is with the Lord. This July, we drove out to Oklahoma for the funeral and spent time with family for a few days. I had the privilege of officiating the funeral and presenting the gospel to many dear friends and family who attended. It really was a sweet time, in spite of the grief.
How We Are Doing
Even as I write, we are a few weeks into our fall itinerary. This has come after a summer of learning, growth, and schoolwork as always. The road has been tough on our marriage in a few ways, and God has used this to reveal several areas in our relationship that have needed attention. What a gift it is to be part of a healthy, local church to support us in this time! In addition to wise counsel from our pastors throughout the summer, we have benefited from many edifying and challenging conversations from other mature brothers and sisters in our local church. It was a profitable summer. I’ve been reminded of the importance for aspiring pastors to attend first to shepherding their homes. The spiritual welfare of the home is the most important ministry of the two. This is why “pastoring” the home is one of the qualifications of an elder in 1 Timothy 3.
A quick update on seminary: I’m currently taking the last class towards my MA in Biblical Counseling at SBTS and I’m set to graduate this December. However, there is a twist. Since our departure timeline for Japan is uncertain (more on that below), I’ve been pursuing extra classes the last few semesters towards the larger MDiv degree in that same field. Until we depart for Japan, Lord willing, I plan to continue pursuing a full masters degree.
Update on Japan
There is no significant news on Japan’s reopening to common visas, particularly missionary visas. As I said in January, Japan could change their visa policy any day now and restore things back to normal. As many of you know, they’ve hinted several times this year that they were about to, but they just haven’t yet. The latest I’ve heard is that they plan to re-open things back to normal in October. We will see. On a positive note, one interesting thing I’ve been pondering lately is just how many missionaries to Japan are waiting State-side for Japan to reopen its borders. What will happen when Japan finally re-opens? Will there be swarms of young families pouring into that country ready to preach the gospel and plant churches? I can only hope so. We are thankful for all of you who are faithfully praying for us and partnering with us in our missions endeavor.
Grace and peace,
Joe and Sierah Pliska