In just 8 days I’ll be on the way to my next adventure…living and working in Sendai, Japan.
I’ve been saying my goodbyes/see you laters, people are letting me know that they’ll be praying for me, and my free time is generally spent thinking of how to pack a year of stuff into two suitcases limited to 50 lbs. It’s definitely almost that time.
And as important as those things are to me, God has laid something on my heart that is a lot bigger and I know I can’t do this one without His strength and others’ prayers. So here I am, asking for prayers and accountability as I explain how much I need to do in Japan beyond what I initially expected of myself.
My job in Japan will be to teach Japanese children English…no hillbilly accents or slang allowed. This I will struggle with because it’s new but I’m up for this challenge and confident that I can get through it with a good attitude and an open mind. Secondly, a goal I have is to volunteer in some ways. Sendai is one of the cities hit by the tsunami last March and I plan to help continue the recovery effort however I am able. These are the two big Japan things I have been planning to accomplish in my thirteen months there.
I will be living in an apartment. I will have electricity and clean water and grocery stores and transportation and internet and a phone and peace of mind about safety. (The last is a joke on Johannesburg…) This is not a mission trip. I will not struggle with daily needs or be asked to talk about Jesus on the radio. I don’t have to share Christ if I don’t want and there’s no one who can make me. I can be whomever I want to be.
Facts about Japan:
Ethnic groups: Japanese-98.5%, Korean-.5%, Chinese-.4%, Other-.6%
Religions: Shintoism-83.9%, Buddhism-71.4%, Christianity-2%, other-7.8%
(many followers of Shintoism are also followers of Buddhism so the total is greater than 100%)
—taken from C.I.A. World Factbook site
Other sites say Christianity is actually 1%. I also read that most of these Christians are on the west coast (Sendai is east coast) and that most of the Christian statistic is Roman Catholic.
“Don’t think of it as being outnumbered, think of it as unlimited target selection.”
With this information in mind, the encouragement of my best friend Anna who wrote on her card to me “Don’t forget your mission,” (no, I haven’t had this mission conversation with her yet), various other words that are given to me, and what God is putting on my heart Japan is my mission field. And I have no idea how to take it on. Who will keep me accountable to this mission? Who will baby walk me through the steps of evangelizing others in a high tech super intelligent society? How will I have courage or energy? Can I even keep my own faith together?
Though I don’t know how or even if I can commit to this mission I ask that people be praying for me, encouraging me, and asking me if I’m telling people about Christ. In many (selfish) ways, I’d like to take this thirteen months as a time to relax, focus on what I need to do post-Japan, and take in some cherry blossoms, rock gardens, bonsai trees, and Disney World. But I can’t do any of this without Christ as my focus and showing him to others as my mission. The thought of in-your-face street evangelism sounds awkward and terrifying to me, so hopefully that’s not what I need to do. Ever.
But prayer for the right opportunities for me to share will be needed( and that they will be undoubtedly obvious). Prayer for courage and friendly words and correct Japanese and a good attitude and anything else that I haven’t yet thought of will be appreciated, as well. Thanks for even taking time to read this, too. Really. My small community of online prayer-teamers are important to me!
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.