It's an eventful year for Japan, 2020. It's an important year for Paz Church. It's a very significant year for me. God is calling Japan, our local church, and myself to step up in exciting new ways.
Well, the extra English and foreign language signage surfacing in stations around Tokyo is a big clue. The different inspiring ads sprinkled here-and-there are big giveaways. The two obligatory and carefully sketched kawaii (cute) Japanese mascots all point to one thing - Olympic-level infrastructure preparations for the big event.
The Olympics will also be an excellent opportunity for much-needed intervention ministry here too (but more on that in a future post)!
Our team is also excited to implement Paz Bible School within the upcoming year. Bible teachers will create quality courses to train all of our future Spirit-empowered Japanese leaders. The goal is that everyone would be able to mine scripture for truth in context by themselves, and then pass on that treasured wisdom to others.
January 2nd, 2020, will mark my 5th year of living and teaching in Japan. It's been a wholly unexpected and undeservedly blessed journey this far.
I've seen that generous and godly friends make for the pleasant and proper passage of time.
I'm grateful to God for finding His precious students, treasured friends, and needed mentors along the way. He always brings the right person at the right time. (Many of you are those people, thank you!)
Without further ado, my second goal for 2020.
#2. Transition into full-time missions work with Paz Church in Japan by May 24th, 2020.
I'm excited! I'm also a bit apprehensive. Standing on the edge of a cliff is usually like that, even with functioning rappelling gear. This means recruiting a prayer and financial support team starting now into next year.
A specific and measurable goal, indeed. But this only attainable by God's grace and world-class partners like you! This is an adventure I humbly and happily to invite you into, as the all-important belayer!
Belayer: a person who controls a safety rope for a climber.
Teaching is a phenomenal occupation. Transitioning into missions work means not teaching elementary schoolers for a while. I have so many opportunities to invest in precious young people at work every day.
Finally, after three years, I have confidence that I can adequately administer our one-of-a-kind, project-based cultural immersion program. Working with the church's coffee shop, in particular, is something I need to grow into.
Fear of the unknown also applies in other areas. The hardest thing about this goal: leaving a classroom of children that I've literally invested my blood, sweat, and tears into.
Why leave? I've learned that my work is an excellent ministry opportunity and a prime mission field. I love my job, and I am thankful for it.
The reason goes back to those students, and even beyond them. I believe kids need quality education and solid coaching. Just as they need a stable place to stay and a loving family. For the most part, they have those blessings, as much as I can see now.
But over and above that, they need a relationship with Jesus.
And certainly not in the preachy, religious multi-level marketing scheme sort of way, but in the who-can-take-care-of-them when Mom, Dad, and teachers aren't around sort of way.
Where is that friend for them that sticks closer than a brother? (Proverbs 18:24)
What is going to be the reliable, unmoving rock that even unthinkable tragedy cannot uproot? What is going to save them (and us too) from the utter nonsense and absolute evil that surfaces in the human mind out of human hearts?
The local church, Paz Church's members, are an integral part of the equation introducing the solution of Jesus into Japan. It's a great privilege to transition into dedicated service of these little-Christs, who in turn serve, little-Christs.
I must also be obedient to what Jesus wants me to do. The sense of calling to ministry in Japan has colored my prayers for a few years now.
Listening to the Holy Spirit's voice is the adventure of a lifetime. Ignoring that prompting would be at my individual risk.
#1. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 ESV)
Keeping our heart's priority on the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit's Kingdom isn't just Jesus' recommendation for a great year. It's the cornerstone of a meaningful life.
This year I want to give back my time to God generously. The first part of the day, first thing, I need to be spending quality time with Him. Pairing that with prayer, listening, and obedience to his Word. The second thing is everything else.
Easier said than done, of course, your prayers are especially appreciated I would do well in this goal. 🙏
What new challenges are you considering, or will you be taking on this next year?