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How do you balance ministry in Japan and a kid?


People always ask, ‘How can you work with a kid around? How can you balance your ministry and family life?’

This is our seventh year as a missionaries in Japan and our son just finished primary school. That means most of my missionary life, I’ve had a primary school kid while learning to do ministry in Japan. But since our son has been at a local Japanese school, it’s been a huge benefit and great help to our ministry to have a child.

After we finished language study, we began work with a church planting project. We wondered, as foreigners with limited Japanese and knowing no one in the area, how could we meet locals? I discovered that through the class visits and PTA meetings at our son’s school, I was able to meet other moms and even some of the grandparents. I could naturally build relationships.

I worked as a volunteer at the school to help teaching English to the 3rd and 4th grades, reading Japanese story books in the mornings to 1st grade students, and helping with the school bazaar as a PTA member. Through all of these, I was able to meet students of different grades, as well as the teachers at the school.

Meanwhile, every two weeks, we ran a children’s English club (ABC club) at the community center to teach simple English and share Bible stories to the kids and parents. We were able to invite a lot of kids and parents from the school to join our ABC club activities. We were allowed to give out the leaflets in front of the school. The school even asked us to help run a summer programme for them and we were able to tell Bible stories to all the children and parents who attended.

Since our ABC club mainly focused on the students and parents in my son’s school, he found his place in the ministry. Every time when we had our ABC club, he would invite his friends, and remind them the day before. He also helped with the preparations, setting up the projectors, leading the songs, etc. When his friends arrived, he always took care of them, help them feel at ease and like they would love to come and join again.

He always said ‘I am not only a participant, I am one of the staff in the team.’

He built a sense of belonging in his parents’ ministry, as well as an identity of a little missionary himself. We are thankful that we can serve the Lord together as a family in this stage of our life.

“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”—Joshua (from Joshua 24:15 NIV)

By Karen, an OMF missionary

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray for missionaries with children, that they would find ways to be faithful parents as well as faithful in their ministry.
  • Pray that missionary parents to be wise in how they involve their children in ministry.
  • Pray that the people that Karen and her family have met will become part of God’s family.

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