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Missionary life in Japan: an interruption and an opportunity

Earlier this year, a Japanese man in a smart shirt and tie unexpectedly came into a large room at our OMF Japan headquarters. I was in the middle of facilitating a course that prepares OMF missionaries for Home Assignment.

He was from the Post Office about ten minutes walk from the OMF office. Someone from our office had sent two overseas parcels from there. But the Post Office forgot to ask what was in the parcels and to get the Customs form filled in. This man had come to do all that administration.

We asked around the office and found who had sent the parcels. “What was in the parcels?” we asked.

“It was just origami paper.”

So the green Customs forms were filled in—boxes were ticked, “origami paper” was written as the contents, and the value of the contents entered.

Now the tricky issue of the postage charge. The original fee had been calculated thinking that there were letters in the parcels. In Japan, parcels with letters, and parcels without letters, are treated differently. So, with only origami paper the postage charge was less.

Mr Post Office had considered that possibility. So he had brought a new receipt and the difference in money to return. These were passed over. I thought, How kind, how thoughtful.

Then I thought, This is also an opportunity for the gospel! So, as a thanks, I gave him a colourful Christian booklet. Mr Post Office also had something to give; a white hand towel as an apology present. Then he went back to his office and I continued facilitating the course.

Such is missionary life in Japan (and in other places too I expect)—we are doing one thing for the Lord and get interrupted by something else. And we seek, at all times, to share the good news of Jesus.

By Peter, an OMF missionary

Will you pray for Japan?

  • That Christians will see opportunities to share the good news in the midst of daily life.
  • That missionaries will not be discouraged when their plans are disrupted.
  • For wisdom for Christians about how to shine for Jesus in a land that has thoughtfulness and politeness built into its culture.

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