OMF Content Feed

18 October 2019

Learning kendo challenged me spiritually

I joined my first kendo class in Sapporo, northern Japan, in April this year. The mums of the children in the class told me that I was the first foreign member of the class.

I was not allowed to buy the clothing and protective gear for the class until I had reached the basic level of skill required by the class master or teacher. But once I had, the mums not only taught me how to fold and wash the uniform, they also taught me how to tidy up the protective gear correctly.

Their respectful attitude toward to the gear and clothing surprised me. Doing this was like a ceremony, but it also was a type of training for the minds of those learning kendo. Through respectfully taking care of our uniform and gear the kenshi (practitioner of kendo) is reminded of their identity and the attitudes that they need. No one is allowed to be shy or ashamed when they wear everything and step into the training hall, even it is only for a practice session.I think this is good training, both physically and mentally. The gear is no longer being used as merely a tool, but as a necessary part of the kenshi; the gear and kenshi are united as one.

All this reminds me that as a Christian, we claim that God’s Word is our weapon and our protective gear, but do I always respect and take good care of it? Do I study the Bible well and cherish it enough? Am I proud of my special and holy identity? Do I seek to remain unified with God whenever I breathe?

Philippians 2:1 states that “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?”(NLT). Let’s not forget these things.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me a chance to practice kendo. Thank you for reminding me I can be proud of my identity as you call me daughter. And please keep guiding me every day to put on and use your Word as my protection and my weapon. Help me to lead my life, worthy of your calling. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

By Karis, an OMF missionary

Photo by Bernd Viefhues on Unsplash

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray that Christians in Japan (including missionaries) would never forget to study God’s word and cherish it.
  • Pray that our special identity in Christ would be recognised by others who watch us live our lives.
  • Pray that Christians engaging in sports in Japan would have opportunities to tell those they meet about Jesus.

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Coming here for a few days, a couple times a year has been a huge blessing and I think it has helped me stay the long haul—long-term missionary in Japan