I came to Yonezawa, Yamagata a year ago not knowing what to expect. All I knew was that I would be located there to help serve a partnering church for the one year. But I did know that God wanted me to be there and that I was to obey. What I got was a life-changing experience that confirmed my love for the Japanese people and the ministry with them.
My mission supervisor informed me that OMF had not previously worked in the north-western prefecture of Yamagata. This would be their first partnership with Keisen Christ Church (KCC) and I would be there to serve under the church’s ministry. My primary role was to tutor English at their Christian school, to have conversation practice with college students and adults, and lead an English event at a nearby town in hopes of creating another cell group.
But, God placed a holy and exciting burden in my heart to do more. Partnering with KCC, I opened another English conversation time at two locations: the local library where many people go to study and meet and at a local cafe where I had befriended the owners.
Through these classes and meetings, I met scores of people who were mostly non-believers. It was through these encounters that I witnessed how valuable relationships are. Openness, eagerness, trust, and consistency were crucial in opening a door to present the gospel. There were even a few rare interactions when I was able to share God’s precious truths. There is a need and I found that creating a learning-English environment was a great bridge to make those heartfelt connections.
The people of KCC were not only beyond hospitable and welcoming but also supportive of the work I did there. My relationship with the pastor has also unearthed a new found appreciation of shepherding and exchanges built on love, trust, and bridging between our cultures. My adjustment to culture, language, and living can largely be attributed to their compassion and love for Christ’s teachings.
In all, the workload was large, but the relationships have been enriching. I learned that God’s timing is perfect and that by trusting in him I can already rejoice in being part of the greater work.
I hope and pray that those who read this may also have a desire to serve in ministry in Japan. There are people who are eager to learn the language and even more who are willing to find something more.
It is with faith that I accomplished so much and created life-long relationships. And it is with faith that I look forward to seeing how God will expand on the work that has been done here.
By David, an OMF Serve Asia worker
Will you pray for Japan?