With graduation approaching quickly, I’ve been asking God more urgently what life will look like post-college. How will he use me? How can I worship Him through my passion for work? ...That’s a glimpse of what my prayers have sounded like for the last year.As I prayed, a certain verse kept coming back to me — Matthew 9:35 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless.”
This is a verse God laid on my heart freshman year, and I have held onto it for years as a reminder that my God is a compassionate God, who longs for intimacy and reconciliation with His children. It’s a verse He wrote all over my heart — and He used the same verse to answer my prayers in this season. To illustrate what my life, and my ministry, should look like from now on.
It was an intimate answer to my prayers.
For me personally, I believe a part of it is to be a light in the marketplace; to go to the crowd and to show compassion. To rub shoulders and work alongside non-believers. To pour healing into those nooks and crannies of daily life. Ultimately, to bring lost souls home. During that same time, I was presented the opportunity to go with CFC, my church on campus, to Japan for a summer missions trip. I'll be honest:
I was not interested, whatsoever. Because honestly? I never had a heart for global missions... Don't get me wrong, I wanted to — I wanted to hand God a blank canvas and tell him to do big, big, big things with my life. I wanted to experience beauty for ashes and I wanted him to use these hands and feet of mine to expand His kingdom. I wanted to say the sky is the limit—I will follow him to places where my faith is without borders.
But, it was a lot harder than I thought it was.
Overseas missions was terrifying because down to the core, I knew I couldn't do it alone. I must depend on God.
So, I began praying... Asking God if this was the next step. I wanted this decision to be planted by God and carried through by God. I didn't just want to take a step because it was a good thing to do or because a lot of people were doing it. I wanted to be wholly sober throughout the process... which inevitably included a lot of wrestling and fear. Some of my concerns were legitimate (safety, family, job situation) and others were selfish (comfort, shower, pb&jelly sandwiches)... One by one, the concerns slowly dwindled away and all that was left at the table was me, my fear, and Jesus. I began to have different conversations with people, and I realized missions in Japan was very similar to my personal prayers at the time — doing daily life with the people, using your gifts to empower the church... Yes, it is about the lost souls in Japan, but bigger than that it is about developing a heart that beats for the gospel, that beats for His kingdom – in whatever context. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to say, God, here I am.
Right now, Japan has a Christian population of 1.5%. It’s a society surrounded around idolatry, materialism, and social pressures – and those are just a few of the hindrances to the spread of the Gospel, on top of earthquake and tsunami repercussions. Japan needs compassion, it needs relief, it needs Jesus.
I am going with a team of about 15 other college students, and we will partner with a church in the city of Osaka called J-House. Our main goal is to support the J-House ministry by sharing the gospel and connecting to college students through English teaching, creative arts, and friendship. We will be from June 14th to July 14th. We’ve already begun weekly training which includes prayer meetings, fasting, memory verses; and will begin daily intensive training in mid-May.
My prayer throughout this whole process is not just to train for one summer, but it’s to train for the rest of my life. I’m asking God for a heart that cries for Japan, but also for a heart that cries for lost souls everywhere – in my future workplace, and in my future community.
I'm not going to lie, we haven't even begun intensive training or entered the mission field yet but already it's been tough for me. A majority of the time I lose my conviction and doubt if I should even be going. My parents send me messages daily asking if I can just shorten the trip concerned about safety, and as my friends talk of their summer vacation plans, I feel that major #FOMO going on...
It's my last summer before I move to Minneapolis, yet I am choosing to devote two months of it to a missions trip, is it worth it? I ask myself sometimes..
But then there are other days, — rare, but they do occur — when all of these worries and pro/con lists are hushed, and I kneel before the Lord and He whispers radical obedience in my heart. He whispers and it feels right.
Related: Are You Trying to Earn God's Love?
And that's kind of where I am right now.Training, praying, fundraising, and trying to hold onto those whispers. i know now more than ever, I am in need of partnership... In need of prayers, in need of support. If you'd like to pray, please keep Japan, the team, the lost souls, and myself in your prayers. :)
If you'd like to support in a different way, I encourage you to check out my Etsy shop and consider purchasing a prayer card (or any card)! The funds will go towards the trip and be a reminder to pray for the nation. :)
I'm sorry this post was a lennnngtthyy one but thank you for reading it, and I will be sure to keep you all updated as I walk in foreign territory. :) We're required to keep a journal during this time to record our prayers and thoughts, and I want to try to share some of them here throughout the process to be as open with you all as possible. :)
Have you gone a missions trip before? What are your feelings about missions? I would love to hear your story!