Link

10 Questions Missionary Kids Would Love To be Asked

10 Questions Missionary Kids Would Love to be Asked

A former missionary kid (MK) we know posted this link on Facebook and I think it addresses many of the issues we anticipate our own children will face when they return to America to “visit” or attend college. Going on two years in Japan, our kids definitely feel more at home here in Japan and less like foreigners. They speak Japlish, the mixture of Japanese and English and sometimes struggle with finding the right word in English (which is understandable since Japanese has many words with no direct translation to English). They have developed some Japanese mannerisms. And they are still changing and growing.

As a family, we’ve stopped referring to California as “home” for some time now. Home is such a relative term, and right now, our home is here in the Tokyo area. But it’s natural for our friends in California to assume we still consider it our home. We already sense the coming confusion for our kids as they contemplate staying in America after college or returning to Japan (assuming, of course, that we are still here).

I think one of the most difficult aspects of missionary life is the constant change in relationships. People come and go in and out of our lives every year, sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently (or at least a very long time). Other missionaries go on home leave or leave the field on a regular basis. Friendships are precious because they are fleeting and I think that’s what hits the kids the hardest.

We always ask for special prayer for our children because we know their lives are challenging and they made involuntary sacrifices in the stability of their social lives when they became a missionary family along with us. We are grateful for the grace the Lord has poured out on them in terms of friendships and opportunities to belong. But we also know these friends and opportunities tend to change rapidly. Thank you for supporting our children in this special way as we serve here in Japan.

Link

YWAM Tokyo Video – Why Japan?

 

We’ve been asked this same question, “Why Japan?” in many forms and nuances. What blew me away about this video, produced by YWAM Tokyo’s David McDaniel, is how similar the answers this video provides are to our own. Broken families, suicide, and hopelessness among a population of people with less access to Christianity than many people groups in far more remote or impoverished places in the world. A beautiful people, intelligent, hard working, hospitable and generous. Like David, I see an incredible opportunity for Japanese Christians to be bearers of the the good news of the gospel to other parts of the world. But how can they go if we do not first go to them?

A couple of important take-aways from this video:

1. This video could easily have been called “Why Tokyo?” rather than “Why Japan?” Nearly a third of the population of Japan live on the Kanto Plain, which is the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area along with the people of ┬ánearby prefectures. It is the single most populated metropolitan area in the world. We didn’t choose Tokyo, but God chose Tokyo for us. We believe He did this because of the impact Tokyo can make on the rest of Japan and the world. This is why I have been reading Tim Keller’s “Center Church” and following the Redeemer: City to City movement to better understand how the great city centers of the world will be used to share the gospel to all nations and people. Growing up in a suburban church, urban ministry is a stretch for us, but we are excited to engage the people of the city and share the gospel with them.

2. This video reflects our reasons for serving in Japan nearly word for word, which is amazing because I have never met David McDaniel before and we have no affiliation with YWAM as an organization. This is a huge encouragement to us, however, in that we can see how God has aligned the vision of many church leaders in the Tokyo area. We already know of several others missionaries and Christian leaders serving in the Tokyo area who also strongly agree with the content of this video. Sometimes hashing out differences in vision is what stands in the way of making progress, but being able to go to Tokyo and basically “plug ourselves into the machine” will be a great benefit to our ministry and hopefully a blessing to those whom we will serve alongside.

 

 

Link

Watch Your Tone With Jesus!

4334357860_237406ce27_z

Watch Your Tone With Jesus!

Shinsuke Ohtomo, a pastor at Jesus Lifehouse International Church in Tokyo and “friend we have yet to meet”, has taken on the challenge of translating the Bible in way that is unique to the Japanese language. Because Japanese uses several different words for relating to others based on things like age, social status or tone, it is a very rich yet complex language when expressing relationships between people. Original translations of the Bible to Japanese used one very formal type of expression for the way Jesus related to others. However, we know that depending on the situation, Jesus used very different styles of communication: harshly to the hypocritical religious leaders, persuasively to the masses, and compassionately to those seeking him in faith, just to name a few.

Though often overlooked, linguistics plays an important role in how we relate to gospel. A great novel like Les Miserables would not play out nearly as well if it were written by an author of technical manuals rather than Victor Hugo. In Japanese, with its vast richness of vocabulary for expressing relationships between people, linguistics become even more important. This is another example of how contextualization helps reveal the fullness of the gospel in the heart language of the people it is being addressed to.