Dear friends,

Located in southwest Wisconsin, Richland Center is a small town which prides itself as the birthplace of world-renowned architect, writer, educator and interior designer, Frank Lloyd Wright.

Years ago Wright was given the impossible task of building the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. No comparable construction job ever before had been undertaken. In the land of earthquakes and terrible tremors Wright proposed his plans for this building with uncanny patience and an eye for detail. During the process of the design Wright discovered that eight feet below the ground lay a sixty-foot bed of soft mud. Wright suggested a design to “float” the massive structure in some way to make it absorb the shock of an earthquake.

After four years of intense labor, ridicule, and the jeers of skeptical onlookers, the difficult work was completed. Not long after, the worst earthquake in 52 years caused nearby houses and buildings to topple to the ground in ruins. But the Imperial Hotel was able to withstand the massive earthquake because it adjusted to the tremors of the earth.

Now I’ve never experienced an earthquake or even a tremor. But I know those who have, and I understand it can be an unnerving experience. As Wright discovered, surviving a potential tremor or even an earthquake requires the capacity to absorb the shock and make adjustments. In other words, flexibility is key!

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to “tremors,” disruptions,” “interruptions,” and “cancellations,” all of which cultivated within him the qualities of patient endurance, steadfastness, and contentment, not to mention the necessity of flexibility. One particular occasion stands out from Acts 16:6-12. Paul and his friends set out obediently to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. He tried going northeast into Asia Minor, but the Holy Spirit said “no.” Then he traveled on and tried to go into Bithynia toward Russia, and again the Holy Spirit said, “no.” Every time Paul encountered a “tremor” in his plans, he didn’t go back, he didn’t settle down, he kept moving. In fact he kept moving all the way to Europe, for which I’m thankful because like many of us, I happen to be of European descent.

Recently, BrookLink experienced a minor ‘tremor’ of sorts. Last year we made plans to conduct training this month in a politically volatile part of the world. Having visited this country twice before, my attitude was ‘no worries.’ However, when I applied for my Visa the consulate denied my application. I smiled politely at the consulate official and attempted unabashedly to convince him of my legitimacy, all to no avail.

In the end, I was disappointed at this “shaking,” but was reminded that God “makes our steps firm” (Ps. 37:23); “He guards our coming and our going” (Ps. 121: 8)! Therefore trust and flexibility are called for.

I’m home the month of January and will use the time to study and prepare for my next trip (to China) which begins on February 20th. I’ll tell you more about this next month in our February newsletter. In the meantime, we invite you to “Like” BrookLink’s Facebook page so you can participate with us in, “30 Days of Prayer for the Church in China.”

As always, thanks for standing with us with your financial generosity as well as your prayerful support.

Standing in Him,