Three sleepy short-term missionaries gathered in my office with Bibles in hand last Friday morning, with two more joining us via a video call on a MacBook.
The hour started with the question of the day, “What is something that your family, friends, or church members back home did that was encouraging for you during your mission trip?” After this ice breaker, we asked God to bless our prayer meeting and read Psalm 79, taking turns in our British, Swiss, and American accents.
Then we did rock, paper, scissors—a Japanese way of dividing into two groups—to split into smaller groups to share. Rachel was paired with the two short term missionaries on the MacBook—they live an hour away and Skyped in to join the weekly English fellowship.
In our groups we share our thoughts on the passage, thanksgiving from the past week from our personal lives (yes, not ministry!), and a prayer request for the coming week. Our one-hour fellowship ends with lifting each other up through prayer.
During another prayer time, Tavi, a German SAW, mentioned how thankful he was to God that he had provided a cello. I was surprised and also rejoiced over this provision from God, but also convicted. A few months before, I had half-heartedly prayed for a cello for Tavi. He had been playing the cello in an orchestra back in his home country and missed playing this beautiful instrument after arriving to Japan. I said to myself, “I don’t think God’s going to give a cello. Cellos are expensive and rare to find here.” But I thought it was rude for me not to pray for it, so I did with very little or zero faith. A few months later a Japanese church member who had bought a cello a while ago but wasn’t using it now offered Tavi to rent!
On days when we have short term workers who are finishing up their mission trip, we ask them to share some final words. They share their highlights, something that God has taught them while here, and a word of encouragement for those who have been left behind. These times are filled with fun memories, honest thoughts, laughter, and sometimes, tears.
This is the Tohoku Serve Asia Worker (SAW) prayer meeting. An hour each week when short term workers from different walks of life who happen to be serving with OMF Japan in Tohoku at the same time, gather together to encourage each other in the Word, prayer, and fellowship.
By Naomi, an OMF Japan worker
Will you pray for Japan?
- Give thanks for this weekly prayer meeting with short term workers in Tohoku, Japan.
- Pray that missionaries would take time to pray for one another and encourage one another.
- Pray for short term workers who are having a difficult time at the moment—either during their trip, or after—that they would find small (or large) encouragements on their path today.