We Made it!
After a 2.5 year home service, a change in ministry location and missionary agency, we’re back in Japan, now serving with the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). We are spending this term at Morioka Minami Church, a church plant in the capital city of Iwate prefecture. Iwate is one of the least reached prefectures in all of Japan, and was hit hard by 2011’s tsunami. Our goals for this term are to be a blessing and encouragement to Morioka Minami Church, bring my (Jon’s) Japanese level up to a fully capable church worker, to participate in tsunami survivor ministries, and to investigate where (likely in Iwate) God wants us two years from now. Our first Sunday at Morioka Minami Church they had a nice welcome cake for us.
Perhaps the most fun of our seemingly endless set-up necessities, was picking out this car. It seats 5 with great trunk space or 7 with no trunk space at all. It also is classified as a small car, which keeps registration fees down and makes driving on small roads easier.
We live right next to a park, and I noticed that all the neighbors had cleared the snow from the park areas adjacent to their own homes, leaving only one two-foot high snow drift in the whole park. Aquila and I tried to rectify that, but I quickly realized I was doing it the American way. We had an audience. Maki assured me that it was still a positive display of attempting to be part of the community.
This is me talking to a Japanese person in Japanese. Very important when ministering in Japan.
This is my language classroom. After three days of classes I’m feeling comfortable with most of the things I learned for the first time three years ago. My goal for this term is to be able to do each aspect of a Sunday service in Japanese (but not at the same time). The biggest goal then is preaching in Japanese.
If Christianity is basically about loving God and loving people, then being a missionary is simply conveying that love to your target people group. In that sense, learning how to preach in Japanese is important, but so is building relationships with people. For me this is one of the easiest ways to do that.