My name is Daniel Lilly. I a missionary called to Japan. The objective is unity in the Japanese Church and widespread discipleship in Japan.
I first went to Japan with YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in 2012. I took part in the 2012 DTS (Discipleship Training School,) at YWAM Tokyo. I had been praying about going to Japan for missions work since 2007, when I literally heard God tell me I would go to Japan and make anime for him. Strangely enough, I didn’t even know what that was at the time. I have always loved Japan. I grew up hearing stories from my mom about here time living in Japan, and many of my friends who were also military brats would tell me of there time being stationed over there. I remember asking how to use chopsticks when I was about seven, and always asking to go eat Japanese food. After 9/11, my interest in Japan was lost. That day changed everything. Suddenly, everything I knew was torn up. It wouldn’t be till about 2005 or 2006 till, my interest started to come back. (The same time God started drawing me closer to himself.) After years of drifting, God used stories of bible smugglers and martyrs to draw me in. The faith and love they had was so real, I wanted it more than anything. REAL. Real is what I craved. Something to live for, and maybe even die for.
In the summer of 2007, I was reading the comics in the news paper, when a headline caught my attention. It said something like, “Japan’s Suicide Rate is The Highest In The World.” A question hit me. How many christians are in Japan? So, I looked it up. Every place I checked said .5% to 3% of the population. That is when I heard God’s voice in my head say to go to Japan. Deep down I said, “If you make a way, I’ll go.”
Just over three years later, I had decided to go to YWAM Tokyo. Unfortunately, I was really eager and didn’t want to wait. Then the 3/11 tsunami happened. I had to go, but God kept telling me to wait. I graduated High School two months to the day on 5/11/11. And I was already working my seasonal job as a Onboard Train Mechanic. I worked as saved up most of my money. And then, I couldn’t find a job from mid October till February, but I got excepted to YWAM Tokyo in December. I flew to Japan the end of March and began my DTS.
I loved Japan, and loved being with other believers. It was hard. And I had a lot of fears I had to face, but God got me through it. And I didn’t care that it was hard, because I knew where I belonged. Our outreach to the Philippines was the hardest part for me. There was so much brokenness, that I was overwhelmed. God did use me anyway. I even gave my first sermon on our second day. (God didn’t tell me what to talk about till literally five minutes before. It crushed my perfectionism, by forcing me to rely on Holy Spirit.)
My favorite part of DTS was the two trips I took to the Tohoku (the region devastated by the 3/11 tsunami.) I took two trips up there, and both had a huge impact on me. I could sit for days telling stories about all the things God did. I also loved the creative outreach we did in Ueno Park, in Tokyo. We created a full size presentation, with a graphic novel style poster, we had drawn that was an allegory of the bible. A man even excepted Christ after reading it. I was amazed God could use paper and pencil to communicate his wonderful message.
Then, I came home. Coming back to Alaska was really hard for me. In Japan, I had lots of friends. I was heavily involved in a church. I felt needed and wanted. In Alaska, I didn’t. I came back into intense and constant spiritual warfare. I once again couldn’t find a job, from Novemb
er till April. I struggled with what to do. I wanted to go back, but I knew it wasn’t time. I prayed about what to do, and God kept telling me to trust him. Then out of nowhere, I am back at my old job two days after I applied. I worked most of the summer doing 14 to 15 hour days traveling across Alaska. Then, I started University a month before work ended. This caused some issues, which ended up making me lose my Japanese class (the only class I wanted to take.) After work was done, I started to feel like I was aimlessly drifting. I started crying out to God at night about what was going on. Then one day, I was talking to my Mom about it and she said, “Why don’t you apply to go back as staff.” This caught me off guard. One, my mom doesn’t say that (ever.) Second, I had no respon
se. So, I prayed, for about a week. And I was really felling like this was God. So, I applied.
Then it got challenged. I won’t go into the details, but my faith was seriously challenged. I cried out again and told God, that I didn’t want to do this if it wasn’t from him. I asked him to take this desire from me if it wasn’t him. The desire grew. Then, I even got to meet one of my DTS leaders for coffee, since he was in town about five days later. Then when I met with my pastor about it, he was all for it.
So here I am. I am taking a leap of faith here. I have never had to ask for sponsors and I am leaving home for the foreseeable future. I am going to YWAM Tokyo as a full time missionary. I will be doing evangelism and discipleship with the base. YWAM Tokyo, also places a huge about of importance on prayer, worship, and intersession. Japan is frontline missions. It is has been said to be very dark, and it has had a history of persecution. This however, is not a concern. I am going because God has told me to. Into the hardest and darkest. We carry the light, and the Spirit is in us. I have witnessed God work in the impossible, and I will willingly follow him where ever he goes.