Japan is known for natural disasters. From earthquakes and tsunamis to typhoons and landslides, there are many potential disasters that missionaries in Japan need to prepare for.
I suppose moving house does not fit in that list, but two days before I was due to hand over my keys, my apartment looked very much like a disaster site. Half-filled boxes and piles for recycling covered the already-limited floor space of my two-room Tokyo apartment. A large collection of ‘oversized garbage’ had to be disposed of according to government guidelines. And for a nice touch of irony, my cupboards were filled with canned goods that I had stocked in case of disaster.
Now, I’m sure that for many people moving house is a very smooth procedure taking place seamlessly over weeks, all according to a plan written months in advance.
I am not one of those people.
I am not good at forward planning at the best of times. And right after a busy conference, in the midst of leadership handover, and with ongoing planning for my upcoming wedding, I was even more disorganized than usual. Of course, the situation was nowhere near as serious as an actual disaster, but still, I felt overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed but not alone. A fellow OMF missionary generously sacrificed two days of his time to help me with the move. Together, we dismantled furniture, packed boxes, rented and loaded a truck, drove it across Tokyo to unload my belongings, and disposed of my oversized rubbish.
Honestly, I’m not sure what I would have done without his help. It would definitely have meant more stress and less sleep. But along with the practical support that helped to avert a mini disaster, I also got to enjoy uplifting conversation and prayer together. It was fellowship. Dare I say it was fun.
Moving house is one of the mini disasters that are part of missionary life. And holistic help in times of need is one of the many blessings that come with belonging to a missionary fellowship.
For God’s grace on missionaries experiencing mini disasters
For protection against the many potential natural disasters in Japan
By Levi, an OMF missionary