Back in January, I looked in the LifeGroup Menu to find a good small group/Bible study to get involved in, and only one stood out to me. It was titled Understanding God’s Heart for the Nations, was being led by our Missions Director, and the description said something about it being tied to a mission trip to Japan. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to go to Japan, but the subject intrigued me.
Later that same week, I met with the Missions Director about something entirely different, but at the end of our meeting he asked me if I would be interested in going on the mission trip to Japan. I said I would take a look at the information, pray about it, and think about it.
By the way, I made the decision to go. I actually didn’t read the information packet, and had no idea what we were going to do, but I felt like I was taking a small step of obedience by going to the first meeting.
A week before we left, I was ready for whatever Japan had to offer, still not completely sure of what we were going to be doing.
We went. We toured Tokyo. We took the bullet train to Yamagata City to the local Zao Church. We spent a couple of days at Camp Kinshuko, which was founded by Jim and Dottie Webber, missionaries from LifePointe Church. We taught conversational English to children at Zao through games, crafts, worship songs, and dance. I got sick but didn’t let that stop me.
We spent a couple of days in Higashi-Matsushima, an area affected by the tsunami. We met an eight-year-old boy, Hiroki, who was found in the debris at age 3 with only his hand sticking out. We heard several other stories that were humbling. Josiah made “survival” bracelets with the children, and they talked about how they would use it to survive the next tsunami.
I really got to love the Japanese people and their customs. Except for the heat, my love grew for the country of Japan. I am happy to be back home with my family, but I also want to go back.
First, I hope to lead a team from LifePointe to go on another mission trip to Japan in 2017.
In the meantime, I will prepare for the short-term trip in 2017, and explore the idea of serving long-term in Japan. I do not say this lightly and am actually scared of being that far away from family, but I am going to take small steps of obedience to find out what God’s plan for my life is. And Japan may be in His plan for my life.
This is the first of a series of posts about my trip to Japan. I will continue to post pictures, videos, memories, and reflections over the next few weeks and months.