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31 December 2019

How a short term missions trip changed my life

Have you ever wondered if God might be calling you to serve overseas, but don’t know if your gifts and background could be used in mission? Back in early 2012, that was me. I was interested in mission in Japan, but didn’t know how to get started or what ministry I could be involved in. I had been a children’s Sunday School teacher for many years at church, and I liked singing, but I didn’t know if either of those things could be used, especially because I didn’t speak Japanese.

A short-term mission trip

One night I was wrestling with these ideas and I decided to do an internet search on “Japan, children, short term mission”. To my surprise, a short term team with OMF was going to Japan that year to serve children in a singing ministry! The participants didn’t require Japanese either, since everything would be translated. I remember feeling so excited upon discovering this opportunity, I couldn’t believe that such a perfect fit was actually available! I immediately clicked on the link and wrote to OMF.

God continued to open doors, and by mid-2012, I found myself in Japan serving alongside other team members for three weeks. Our program reached out to many Japanese children and their families. I’ve heard some of them, all these years later, are still in contact with the local Christians and missionaries.

Something bigger

However, I didn’t know how much at the time the impact this short term mission would have on my life too. This OMF Serve Asia trip opened up a new love for Japanese people in my heart, which grew stronger as the years went past.

By 2015 I sensed the Lord challenging me about serving longer term in Japan. I discovered that OMF Japan was looking for a Serve Asia Coordinator. That seemed to be a good fit for me because my background was in administration. I had really valued the time spent with OMF as a short-termer, and so I was excited about the possibility of joining their team again.

Once again, God opened all the doors, and now I have been serving in Japan for almost three years. I have seen hundreds of people in these three years come through our short term program, and through this I have experienced first-hand that God (in his good timing) does provide a place in mission for those he calls. People of various ages, backgrounds, gifts, cultures, and personalities have come to serve with us—all for the one purpose of making Jesus known here in Japan. And my prayer is that he will call many more, since the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few!

By Jane, OMF missionary

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray for more people in 2020 to sense God calling them to serve in Japan.
  • Pray for a new Serve Asia Coordinator in Japan to replace Jane who has returned to her home country to persue Bible college training.
  • Pray for all those whose lives have been touched by Serve Asia workers in Japan in 2019—those who’ve sent them, those who’ve received them, and those who they’ve reached out to—that God would continue his good work in each one, drawing them closer to him.

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