So why Japan? Well, because of anime and sushi, of course . . . and because it’s unreached. Though Japan was always on my dream vacation list, I never once considered missions there. First, because I had never considered missions; and second, because Japan didn’t seem like a place that needed missionaries. So, how did I get from there, to here—serving as the OMF Finance Manager in Japan?
I’m not completely sure actually, it was a long and confusing process and I still can’t get it straight; but simply put, it was all God. In my second to last year of college, I attended a missions conference, Urbana, where I learned Japan is an unreached country and I was challenged to consider going. Hearing the words “unreached” and “go,” I put the two together and began exploring what my role was in reaching Japan.
Immediately upon graduation in 2014, I went on a two-week mission trip to help with relief efforts in Ishinomaki—a town in northern Japan that had been devastated by the 2011 tsunami. By the end of the trip, I realized how desperately Japan needed the hope of the gospel. I wanted to explore this some more, but I had a brand new, shiny tax accounting job waiting for me back in America.
Though I studied tax accounting in college, sitting in a cubicle and crunching numbers for a corporation was not my passion (is it anyone’s?). The first two years on the job, I constantly searched for a way out and applied for several mission trips to Japan, but they all fell through. In hindsight, I may have been trying to use missions in Japan as a way to escape my discontentment with my life at that time. But God had other plans for me, and I was forced to settle into my job, learn to be content, and find joy and purpose where he had placed me.
Four years later, as a slightly more content person, I went on a two-week vision trip with OMF to visit various ministries in the Tokyo area. As I reflected on the trip afterwards, I didn’t feel like God was saying no to Japan for me, but I also wasn’t sure what my next steps should be. Then, six months later, there was an opening for a Finance Manager for OMF Japan, and I decided to apply.
I was originally supposed to leave for Japan in April 2020, but then COVID-19 happened. Seven months later, I have finally made it to Japan where I will serve for two years as the Finance Manager. I still have no idea what my exact role in reaching Japan may be, but I hope to serve well and take one step of faith at a time, trusting my good Shepherd to lead me.
By Candace, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that God would call more missionaries to Japan.
- Pray that missionaries in Japan would continue to know that they are serving in the place God intended.
- Pray for new missionaries, that they would trust that just as God has called them, that God will use them for his glory.