Every year OMF UK has the privilege of enabling Christians interested in mission to serve alongside missionaries in Asia. Here are a few snippets from some going and recently returned.
I am both excited and nervous ahead of my trip to East Asia. I have travelled to Asia before, but I am expecting something very different this summer! As I prepare to go, the question going through my head is, ‘how will God use me?’
I am primarily going to serve him through teaching English, though I suspect I will learn much more than I will actually teach. Not being entirely sure of the finer details of my placement in Asia is causing me some nervousness, but I know that I will meet many Christ-centred men and women with a heart for Asia – that excites me!
I’d like to share a verse of Scripture that has been a real encouragement to me this year for a whole variety of reasons, but is particularly encouraging as I near my trip to Asia: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1: 9). The part that seems to bring the most comfort to me is the word ‘commanded’. By the authority of God, not in our own strength, we can do what he asks or commands us to do and he will give us everything we need in order to do it.
It was very rewarding to see that people remembered us from the previous year and appreciated our commitment to keep sending prayer teams, sharing the burden of praying for Japan.
I think that because the Japanese people are generally more reserved, regular trips will help to build relationships despite the obvious language barriers. Short term prayer trips are a great blessing and encouragement for the Christians and missionaries in Japan, but probably even more for everyone on the team as our faith is strengthened, and our eyes opened to the spiritual needs of a country.
We started off in Kitami in a lively and active church that has the vision to plant churches in the city of Abashiri, Monbtesu. The prayer vision for the Nayoro church is to plant a church in Wakkanai, the northernmost city in Japan by 2020.
Early on, the team had the impression that the Lord would give these churches creative ways to present the gospel in their own context. We felt this was confirmed when they told us about a new course called FUMINETO (i.e: don’t step on the net).
This is a fun way to connect with elderly people while singing and activating coordinated movements to prevent memory loss. It was also in Kitami that we experienced three small earthquakes. But the greatest news was to meet a woman who had been having bible studies with a friend and now accepted Jesus as her saviour, on the first afternoon of our visit.
We finished our prayer tour in Tokyo, praying for the city and doing a street outreach in Yokohama and Akihabara.
Jesus is the only one who can save people. No one else in the world is able to save us.’ (Acts 4:12) *
It’s a very simple truth. In fact, it’s the biggest fact in the universe and the only truth that we can hope to rely on. This will be the theme of Kids’ Gospel 2015; Jesus saves. Original eh? But something that so many people in South East Asia, and particularly Japan, do not know.
Through a mixture of singing, wacky games, Bible teaching, and hopefully learning a word or two of English, we are going to run two holiday clubs in central Japan, which will be attended by primary school aged children.
By partnering with two amazing churches, who have great links with their local communities, our holiday clubs will culminate with a concert of the songs that the children have learned with testimonies and a Gospel presentation for the parents.
It is our prayer that the children will start to see that they are known, loved and treasured by the King of the Universe and that their worth will not be bound up in their job, their status or their looks. We want them to know that they are never alone or forgotten, never forsaken.
I would love it if you can partner with us in praying that the children who attend this year will carry this wonderful truth in their hearts, so that this big world will not overwhelm them, because God is holding them in his hands.
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* International Children’s Version.