On February 25, 2014, I left my home in Alaska to cross the ocean and arrive in Japan. I landed in Narita, Chiba on February 27. I have been living here ever since. It has been a beautiful journey, that has pushed and grown me in ways I never predicted.
When I touched down, I was met by a friend from the YWAM base named Kyle. He asked me a question that has really encouraged me. He asked me, “Why are you in Japan?” I thought about it and answered, “Because God called me to come.” He then told me to hold onto that and remember when and how God had told me. Just a few days in, felt I didn’t fit in and I heard the lie, “You aren’t supposed to be here.” I recognized it right away and remembered why I was here. I wasn’t here because of me, I am here because God has the perfect plan and I agreed with it. Now, I love Japan far more than ever before. In away, this has become the first place I have ever really felt to be home.
Not long after getting to Japan, we went to the 2014 YWAM Japan National Conference in Nara prefecture. We met with all of the YWAMers in Japan for fellowship, worship, and a business meeting. This was a wonderful opportunity to meet YWAMers from all the YWAM bases and I even met with some friends I hadn’t seen in years. Also, the conference hall was at a sports facility deep in the mountains and the scenery was overwhelmingly beautiful. Currently, I am actually preparing to back to this years one in March. The conference as a whole was very encouraging and I was blessed by the worship in Japanese and English. I have never before felt such unity between so many people from around the world.
In my time at the base, I have taken part in a number of activities. I will give a quick list of them below.
- Three times a week I have two Japanese classes for about an hour each. Six hours a week total.
- On Tuesday Nights we have an outreach called Livingroom where we gather with the Christian community in Tokyo and worship and just let God do what ever he wants in our midst. This happens in Hongō Sanchomē outside of Tokyo University.
- On Friday Nights we worship in a park in Ikebukuro and just invite God to move. We have seen a number of healings and people coming to Christ. The area has also been changing a lot.
- I am taking part in what we call Team-Team. We organize and work with teams that want to stay with us will doing ministry in Tokyo. We house them and help coordinate their stay.
- On Mondays we have Staff Meeting, where the base meets up and discuss what is happening. We pray people in when they arrive and pray them out when they leave. We also discuss upcoming events and take time to see how everyone is doing.
- Also on Mondays the guy’s at the house I am at meet together and pray for each other. On Thursdays we have a community meal with all the guy’s at the base. We cook and fellowship together.
- On Mondays and Wednesdays we have LifeTrack. We study the bible and bible passages together as well as discuss DTS course topics. We also spend time sharing testimonies and learning to preach and teach at any time in any environment. We also spend some time focusing on prayer. This is basically a Staff Training program plus learning to disciple a nation.
- On Saturdays I have been attending Cornerstone Tokyo, my home church in Tokyo. I started going there late last year, but I strongly feel I need to continue going and helping with them. I originally went in 2012, but most of the people I knew are no longer there. I have however made some friends and absolutely found my home there again. Please be praying for them, they have had a very difficult time the last few years.
- When I came back, I wanted to continue ministry at Waseda University. I went there weekly for a few months, but the bases direction focused more towards Rikkyo University. I really like Rikkyo, but still really have Waseda on my heart. Just recently, I started attending a bible study with university students from many different universities. In a few months, I will get to choose which of the Universities I want to continue working with. Waseda is an option, but I don’t know what I will choose. This is a wonderful opportunity that I am very excited about.
- During my time at the base, we have had two moves. They were both quite smooth and not much a burden.
- Then finally, at the base I have been helping other staff by making support videos and taking massive amounts of photos for events, newsletters, and blogs.
Now about what has been going on with me.
Life has been intense. It has been fun, but trial some. God has spent so much time healing my heart. He has been bringing stuff up, addressing the lies I believe, and then healing those areas and showing me the truth. He has been very gentle, but honestly it has hurt like hell. Then, when I get breakthrough in one area, he is good enough to move on to the next thing. My relationship with God has been growing in leaps and bounds. Being completely and totally reliant on him sure makes it easier to give everything up to him. God never gives up on me. I can never push him away or make him leave. It isn’t about me any more.
I am learning that there is so much more to this than I had ever hoped and there is already fruit that can be seen. I have been learning that I am not who I thought I was. God has so much more for me. He who gives good gifts chose me to receive them. He has let me encourage so many people. He has used me to help people see who they are and to speak life and hope into their lives. He is so worth the sacrifice and pain I have carried, but he still takes those things and gives better back.
So, what is next?
For me, this year is a year of the impossible, a year of peace, and a year of restoration.
There are so many major things on the horizon.