Back now for round three of our Shanghai adventure, we finally seem to be over jet lag. We’re getting back into the swing of things now, back to real life.  Eden’s friend Selah was here for a sleepover last night, and with Beowulf back in the mix of the family dynamics, there haven’t been many dull moments. And although work hasn’t started back yet, that feeling of being on vacation is certainly gone.

In some ways, that’s a welcome change.

Don’t get me wrong: we’d been aching for a little bit of America and for time with family and friends. And we thoroughly enjoyed all of them. But more than a month away from your own home, bouncing from house to house, on different people’s schedules, with no consistency from day to day, and it gets exhausting. Add a three year old to the mix, and watch the fireworks!

And as hard as the goodbyes were, it was time.

Now that we’re back, it’s quickly becoming time to get down to business.  School starts back soon, and it’ll be time to learn the names and faces of forty or so new students. It’ll be time to share summer stories with returning teachers, meet and welcome new ones, and fondly remember those who’ve moved on.  The same goes for the returning youth leaders, as KG will resume as well.

KG, Knowing God. Serving in this youth ministry has been my primary ministerial focus since being in Shanghai. My small group are seniors now, and this will be my last year with them. I’m wishing now, that I had made better use of my time with them, that I had equipped them more, that I’d prepared more and prayed more. But that’s of no use, and I have only the present with which to do something.

Realizing that time really is of the essence, I also pray that by God’s grace, I’ll not waste anymore time at home either. I hope for a reformation and subsequent revival in our family life. I want to show Eden as much or more of the gospel as I tell her. I want to be an instrument of God that leads my wife and daughter closer to Him. I want to build up rather than tear down as I so often do. I want to lead, rather than give up or give in. I hope for our family to be characterized by more consistency, more humility, and more desire for Christ than it has been.

I don’t believe in charms. But I do hope that this third round of our Adventure in Shanghai is one marked by a special outpouring of God’s glorious grace.