Justin, spent three fruitful months in Kyoto with WEC Japan as part of his internship with his church’s Missionary Apprentice Program (MAP) with a view to discerning whether Japan might be the place where he might serve in the near future…
I had the privilege of starting my 3 months internship by participating in the annual WEC Japan Field Conference. It was held in Notogawa in Shiga Prefecture, set amidst countryside and rice fields. I had the opportunity to meet the whole WEC Japan team, and spoke with many of them. We worshiped God together, praying with one another, serving one another through our daily duties, and discussing the new vision and strategies of WEC Japan. It was a big gathering of God’s family in Christ.
I also followed a missionary to shopping streets in Kyoto and Osaka to do street evangelism on a few occasions. As we were walking with the banner, an announcement was playing over the PA system in the background, saying “No religious activities allowed in this shopping street” in different languages, including English, Mandarin and Korean. The missionary turned to me and smiled, saying “It’s okay. I have done this before. We won’t be chased away. I used to do street preaching in this area, but was kicked out. But what we are doing now is peaceful.”
The message on the banner says “Christ has conquered death and come to give us life.” The message was in front of us when we walked, and we were God’s instrument of His truth. Shoppers would read the message, and as they passed us, they would try to sneak a peek of the person behind the message. Hence we are also God’s ambassadors of His love and grace and mercy wherever we are placed. There are many people who know and read the Holy Bible, and they are observing how Christians live out their faith. If we don’t even love one another in the Church, how can we say that we are Christ’s disciples? How can we tell people that we are Bible-believing disciples?
Another missionary shared with me that she was sitting next to a man in the train one day on her way home, and she noticed the man was reading the Bible. She asked if he knew and understood what he was reading, he answered yes. But he was not a Christian (yet).
During my time in Japan, I also spoke with some young adults in local churches, and they shared with me their struggles of being young adults in church, and also challenges of doing outreach in their own country.
My Take Away:
The time in Japan has helped open my eyes to the reality of doing mission work in Japan long-term. No longer is there any evidence of a romanticised notion of going to Japan, the food, culture, language, seasons, Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), whatsoever. I am entering into a spiritual battle zone under the banner of Christ’s victory on the Cross.