2015 Japan – Della Collins

God’s Treasured Possessions

“For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” – Deuteronomy 14:2

There’s a traditional hymn that goes, “For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.” It is taken from a passage in Matthew 10 where Jesus is reassuring us that we are much more valuable than sparrows, and that if God knows each sparrow, then He definitely has His eye on each one of us. I love the words of this hymn, but I have often found it hard to apply it to myself. However, after being sent by New Philadelphia Church to Japan, I can sing this hymn with a new heart and new faith.

Before going on this missions trip, our team leader often stressed that this would be a different type of missions trip than the others we are used to being on or hearing about. We would most likely not be holding alter calls with people flooding to the front and receiving healings and falling under the Holy Spirit fire. Nor would we see a mass of salvations at an outreach or revival service. Japan is a very different mission field and missions in Japan is much different than in a developing country. This challenge seemed perfect for our team, since as a dance team, we are not the usual missions team you see on the field either. We were not exactly sure how God would use us in the field or what exactly our days would look like, but this uncertainly brought freedom on many levels. It brought some free time during the day, but also freedom to follow God’s plans instead of our own. Through this flexibility and freedom, God showed me that His eye is not only on numbers, but on individuals that He would call His treasures.

On our first day of outreach, and second day in Japan, our team was brought to a popular subway station with tall, reflective windows and open space for dancers to come and practice. We arrived around 9:30 pm and began talking to some of the dancers there. There was no set plan for outreach, and as it got later, I began to feel tired and wonder what exactly we were doing. I did not know that this whole time God had his eye on one of the dancers there. Vicente, one of our Tokyo guides from Fuse Church in Noborito and also a breakdancer, began to egg on our team leader Danny to show off some of his breakdancing moves. Towards the end of the night Danny finally gave in, and shortly after he began he made a wrong move on his previously injured knee. As he walked off limping, our team quickly surrounded Danny and began to lay hands and pray for him. There was a breakdancer there named Ryo, who watched what was happening and out of great curiosity asked Vicente what was going on and what we were doing. This opened the door for Vicente and Danny to share the Gospel and about the great power of God in their lives. That night, we joyously witnessed Ryo receive Jesus Christ into his heart, and we welcomed Him into the family of God!

For our 4th-6th day in Japan, our team did ministry in Osaka, and met Saeka, another beloved daughter that God had His eye on. Saeka is a member of the church that hosted our team in Osaka. She is a college student and also a dancer. She joined us for our morning devotions and heard God speak to her for the first time through the Word. We had the privilege of dancing with her and praying for her as a representative of Japan. By the time she left us I’m sure she became a pro at telling her testimony since during our conversations with her, she already responded to the question of how she became a Christian 4 times. Saeka was highlighted that day.

During one of our last debriefs it had become evident that God was doing a different work on this missions trip. As we discussed together, we realized that instead of bringing in numbers, we had the privilege of bringing back individual stories. We could bring back names of the individuals we know God had His eye on. But this was not our only realization. Throughout the trip we could sense that God did not just want to work through us. He wanted to work in us. It was such a blessed time of joy, unity, freedom, and growth that our team leader even wondered, “What if this trip was just for us? What if God brought us here just for our sake?” After he said this I could think of the various times during this trip where it seemed God was ministering directly to me. They were such clear moments that I couldn’t deny the fact that His eye was also on me. One passage from our morning devotions reads, “And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts?’” God’s eye was not only on me, but He also knew exactly what was going on in my heart. And out of the abundance of His goodness, He was also able to make Ryo, and Saeka, and each and every one of our team members the focus of His attention. The number of His children is not too many, nor His arm ever too short to work in each of our lives. We are all His treasured ones.

Thank you all for financial and prayer support that made this trip the best I have experienced thus far. As you remember, please continue to keep Ryo (the new believer and breakdancer) in your prayers. We believe that he will grow strong in faith and lead many of his Japanese brothers and sisters to Christ. Also pray for Saeka that she will continue to study the Word and hear from God. Declare that despite not having a community of believers at her university, she will not waver in faith but rather be a spark for revival. Please also pray for Vicente and Janine, our guides from Fuse Church in Noborito, that they will continue to become a beautiful family that continually shines God’s glory and wins souls for Christ.

I praise God that He is not just the God of Israel or of a multitude, but also the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He sees each and every individual and I am so blessed to be called His child and to have partnered with Him to minister to His children in Japan.

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