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The sacrifice is real, but so is the joy

Some people say there is no sacrifice involved in working with God: Jesus is so good, anything we “give up” for His sake just pales into nothing. But I feel a bit differently.

It’s hard

I do feel I have made sacrifices in moving overseas—learning (as a not-so-young person) a difficult language completely unrelated to my mother tongue, giving up reading the daily local newspaper, not being able to find the comfort foods I crave.

But most of all, I gave up being close to the people I’m close to. Every time I see my parents now, I’m shocked by how much they’ve aged. And I’m tired of constantly starting over with friendships, reintroducing all the silly and more important things about myself, things my close friends from home already know. There are many days when the sacrifice of these close relationships threatens to drag me down and self-pity looms large. Was it really worth all this pain and loneliness to pull up my earthly roots and move to a far-off country where no one even seems interested in the gospel?

Why I stay

When these thoughts assail my spirit, I pause and remember what I have seen and heard in Japan. I remember the time I taught a short Bible lesson on Zacchaeus in the sycamore tree to a group of five non-Christian ladies after their English class. I remember how they fell silent after we read the Bible story and then one lady asked, “What was it about Jesus that made Zacchaeus change so completely?”

I remember another Bible lesson with a different group of English students, where we read Psalm 23 and I asked, “Why does God lead us by still waters and provide all this for us?”

One older non-Christian woman answered, “Because He made us and He loves us.”

These women did not grow up hearing about Jesus. They didn’t know who King David was, who the disciples were. They didn’t know that God created us by hand, that He longs for us to be with Him and that, indeed, He loves us. They never would have heard any of this news unless someone came to tell them. In their case, it was the foreign missionary who had the amazing privilege of sharing this good news with them and of being the bridge between them and local Japanese Christians.

When I remember these ladies and the millions of people like them in Japan, then yes, I have to say from the depths of my spirit, it is worth it to come here. It is an honor to partner with God in this way. The sacrifices are very real, but so are the joys.

By Christina, an OMF missionary

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