What’s the first phrase you learned in Japanese? Even people with nearly zero Japanese language ability may know “thank you” — arigatou gozaimasu.
As a new missionary going to language school and learning Japanese culture, saying thank you is part of my daily life in Japan. In fact, it is essential for maintaining harmony with others.
I thank the retail worker who helps me find a plate mat for the kitchen table. I thank my language teacher when she hands me a worksheet for my next listening exercise. I thank the supermarket worker when he helps me park my bicycle. I show gratitude by bringing some fruits or dessert to a dinner party. I even say thank you when I pay my water bill at a convenience store.
Thankfulness gives me more meaning as I live in Japan doing God’s work. I am thankful that God gave me a heart for the lost in Japan, and that I can learn Japanese from kind teachers. I am thankful that I am in a fellowship that shares the same passion of sharing Jesus’ love here. I am thankful that my friends and family from my home country can help support me and pray alongside me.
When I say thank you to people I interact with on a regular basis, what I really want to say is, “I love Christ, and I want you to know him, too.” But “thank you” is the first step.
By saying thank you, I can make a connection. With connection, I establish common interests and then develop trust with those around me. With trust, I nurture relationships and share how Christ is real in my life and that he is the Truth.
Having thankfulness show in every gesture, remark and step leads me to know God more and make him known. In this season of thanksgiving, I pray that the gratitude we show in our words and deeds will open opportunities to speak about Christ.
I thank God for how he is already using you in his work in Japan.
by David, an OMF Missionary