New OMF missionaries to Japan write brief biographies prior to coming. I’ve been re-reading some recent ones. I was particularly interested in how they got involved in mission. What did I discover?
Short term trips are key.
One couple went on many short-term trips and said, “With every short mission trip, we came to learn more about the difficulty for Japanese to believe in Jesus.” Another couple said, “The two weeks (of the trip) were revealing and authentic to the challenges of serving.”
Most new workers do short-term mission trips, although not necessarily to Japan. Short-term trips may be expensive and hard to organize, but they are vital in raising a new generation of missionaries.
The influence of missionaries is great.
One couple said a missionary to Japan “encouraged us to get more involved in ministry” and they did and that led them to come to Japan. Many new workers talk of “conversations and relationships with missionaries” as being so helpful. The children of missionaries have also come to the field. It seems that missionaries, even though they are not perfect examples of Christian discipleship, do exert a strong influence for Christ and his mission.
Learning ignites passion for mission.
The Perspectives course on the World mission movement, Bible College or Seminary, learning Japanese language, reading OMF books—these have all contributed to OMF’s most recent batch of new workers coming to Japan. Our new workers learnt about God, about mission, and about Japan; and this learning fuelled their passion of God and his mission in Japan.
The fundamental importance of prayer.
Our new workers have prayed about a call to Japan. But before that they often prayed about Japan and for Japan, and they prayed for missionaries in Japan. God’s mission starts and continues with prayer. Long ago I remember realising that at the end of Matthew chapter 9 Jesus commands his disciples to “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” And then in Matthew chapter 10 Jesus sends them. It seems that those that pray, are often sent!
Active ministry now.
Each one of our new workers was deeply involved in ministry when God spoke to them about service in Japan. A similar recurring phrase in their short biography goes something like, “We love serving in the local church,” or “We ministered among international students,” or “While I was serving as a minister,” or “I served as an assistant pastor in church.” It is those in active ministry now that God moves into missionary service.
These are the ways that God has used to guide OMF Japan’s most recent group of new workers to serve him in Japan. In some ways this is not new information, for some years OMF has used the idea of the “6 Ways to Reach God’s World” as a tool to encourage involvement in local and global mission.
Of course, not every new missionary mentions each of these six ways or follows a certain path in their short biography, but these seem to be the general ways God leads. The only question that remains is—if you were to write a short biography about how you got involved in God’s mission to the world, what would you say?
By Peter, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that these new missionaries would continue to remember that God has called them to serve in Japan, especially when they’re feeling discouraged.
- Pray about ways that you can be more involved in reaching God’s world (check out the “6 ways” linked above for ideas).
- Pray that God would lead more people to serve in Japan.