2013 Japan – Sarah Kim

Life Flows Through Relationships

Life flows through relationships. On July 27th to August 3rd, I went on my very first missions trip to Tokyo, Japan. As I was preparing for missions, the four areas I focused on in my prayers were for boldness, unity, divine appointments, and fresh inspiration. I wondered how God would answer these prayers but I just surrendered and trusted that He would move.

And indeed, God exceeded our expectations each day in the field. On our first Sunday service at Noborito Ecclesia and Fuse Jesus Community Church, Pastor Lydia Ra preached on desiring God and we had our first altar call. I was surprised to see how hungry the people were, as about half of the congregation rushed up to receive prayer. There was no hesitation. Their hearts were so hungry and so open for receiving more of God. After service, I walked up to a middle-aged man to introduce myself. As we were exchanging greetings, he started to share a little about his background and family struggles. I saw into his heart and before he could finish, I felt tears flowing from my face. I was so embarrassed at myself, but I stretched out my hands and touched him gently on his shoulders. I told him that I felt that he had a pure heart. He closed his eyes in a posture of receiving and stretched out his hands, even before I started to pray. I was caught off guard by his hunger to receive so quickly. How did he know that I was going to pray for him? But I prayed for the man’s family. I told him that he was a good father, and that God was proud of him. I began to intercede on behalf of his family and spoke truth into his life. When I finished praying, the man had tears in his eyes and shook my hand, so grateful for my prayer. From that moment on, every time I saw him outside of church in a social setting, he’d point to me and share with people that I had prayed for him and made him cry. This is only a glimpse of the restoration that God was bringing through relationships.

Indeed life flows through relationships. Before this missions trip, the words “unity” and “relationships” kept on being highlighted to me and the other team members. I reflected on the verse from 1 Peter 4:8-11 which states, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Our team leader had received a prophetic prayer during the last missions training that unity would be a key theme on our trip. During our time in Noborito, the leaders at the church kept sharing how they were blessed by the unity of our team. The unity of our team allowed us to move together in one spirit to bless and affect the Japanese ministries at even greater levels.

Before going on missions, I was under the impression that the number of physical healings and salvations on a trip showed how powerfully that missions team was moving. But I was wrong. God revealed to me that He was releasing intimacy and personal relationships within our team and the Noborito Church family. It was through this that He was wanting to bring breakthrough and healing and deliverance. And indeed it was through personal relationships that we were able to release breakthrough and bring people closer to God’s heart. During one night of small group ministry, everyone broke off into groups of four and took turns praying for one another. Later that night, our team leader Megan received an email from Pastor Paul (the church leader). He wrote that one of the male college students- a nonbeliever- was really blessed by the prayer time. The student had never had anyone lay their hands on him to pray for him. He was interested in getting to know more about God and also about the gift of tongues [as one church member had received the gift of tongues at that night’s service]. We later found out that this student scheduled a time to meet with Pastor Paul the next morning to talk more about God. Praise the Lord. Life truly flows through relationships.

One of my favorite moments with Noborito/Fuse Church was during another small group session. My teammate Samantha and I were in a group with two young men from the church. Pastor Lydia Ra led us into an activity where we had to prophecy for one another… using animals. For example, we had to ask God for a vision of an animal to release prophetic words over the other person. The two guys in our group had never heard of anything like this before. To be frank, we were all a little bit weirded out by the activity. However, in faith, we all jumped into it. For one of the guys, I saw a monkey, and prophesied that he had a playful spirit. I also prophesied that he is one with artistic talent, perhaps in the graphic arts. I said that he is a person with many ideas, and is one who creates. Later, I found out that the man is an artist, a sculptor, and also does animation! When it was time for the two guys to prophesy over me, their vision was so accurate that I started to cry. Again, I felt embarrassed, as I was the ‘missionary,’ sent to Japan to minister to people. Yet as I was sitting there, wiping away tears, I soon realized that our mission was not only about releasing blessing and strengthening others. It was about mutual edification: pouring out and also receiving. For everything we did with the church, there was a mutual edification. God is so good.

Through this trip, I realized that missions is not only about seeing salvation, but also about establishing personal relationships. It is through personal relationships that we saw God taking people to deeper levels of understanding Him, and filled with a greater desire to love Him. It is through personal relationships that people were able to experience breakthrough and healing and deliverance through prayer time. God exceeded our expectations as He answered all of my prayers for this trip. I personally felt supernatural grace everywhere I went and in everything I did. I was amazed at my own boldness and Holy Spirit’s fresh inspiration as I was reaching out to people. I went, unashamed of my identity, reaching the unreached, and God divinely set up divine appointments for me to demonstrate the father’s heart. I was able to connect and establish personal relationships with not only the people on my team, but with the members of Noborito and Fuse Church as well.

God fathers the fatherless and He is going to restore the nation of Japan. The stories I’ve shared are only a few of the many ways in which He is working in this nation. God has His hand upon Japan and revival is coming soon. Japan is cultivating forerunners for the Gospel and will soon be sending out missionaries to other nations. I’m so excited to see how God will continue to move in Japan. Thank you so much for sowing into this trip and making this testimony possible!

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