Destination: Japan

Designation: Language learning 

Sending church: Saintfield Road, Presbyterian Church


John and Birita Timothy

Like our upbringing, Birita and I have different stories to tell about our call to mission. Birita comes from a very remote set of islands, not in East Asia where I originally thought they were, but between Iceland and Norway, the Faroe Islands.

Like many of its inhabitants, her father was a sailor and would return home with interesting stories to tell about people of other cultures and their way of life. That was the initial spark in the call to the mission field, which came much later whilst unknowingly signing up to improve her English as a volunteer at All Nations Christian College - a missionary college! That was also when my geography was corrected and I learned that Faroese people didn’t eat rice, coconuts and mangoes, but like the Irish, lots of potatoes.

Back then I was a skinny young man who had just come from working with my hands in the aerospace industry for several years to embark on an educational Everest, despite previously vowing myself done with school for life. It is funny how God leads you in ways that you could never predict. I would have laughed if you had told me 10 years ago that I would be discipling men in the workplace and leading Bible studies. People often ask us what we will be doing in Japan. Well, for the first two years we know we’ll be studying language and culture at OMF’s Hokkaido centre, but longer term we don’t know how God will use us. Reflecting on the picture God has painted of our lives so far, we go with open hearts, because really, anything could happen. This is God’s mission at the end of the day.