2015 Japan – Kate Kim

Don’t Stick to the Status Quo

In the last week of January, I had the privilege of going on my first-ever missions trip. Ever since my senior year of high school, I had passionately wanted to go on a missions trip, but every year, something would come up and I wouldn’t be able to go. However, this time around, I claimed in faith that I would be able to go and signed up before I even got clearance from my workplace. But lo and behold, my schedule was cleared, I got my company’s approval, and everything worked out for me to go be God’s messenger to Japan.

As you can imagine, I was super excited. I have seen and cried to numerous New Philly missions recap videos. I have heard testimonies of people who went on missions- testimonies of salvations with large numbers of people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, as well as powerful stories of God releasing His healing power left and right. I have also heard stories of the Holy Spirit moving powerfully in the nations, fire falling on people living in the slums and in orphanages, God moving supernaturally through signs and wonders and bringing revival to churches and cities. I was so excited to experience this for myself.

However, my experience in Japan ended up being very different. There were no revival services with people falling under the heavy presence of the Holy Spirit, nor were there altar calls with hundreds of people giving their lives to Christ. Did this missions trip look like the other mission trips I had seen and heard about? No. But did God move in Japan? Yes. Most definitely, yes.

Just because our ministry fruit wasn’t the same as what was witnessed in the Philippines, Cambodia, or India, didn’t mean that His presence was any less powerful. The ministry we did in Japan was not exactly in line with the grid I had of mission trips. But I soon realized that the Lord wanted to give me a new paradigm for missions ministry. At the end of the day, successful missions ministry and even a successful walk with the Lord is marked by being sensitive to His leading and obeying His commands. Thus there would be days in Japan when our team would simply ask the Lord, “What do you want us to do today? Where do you want us to go today?” and we would then be obedient to the leading of His Spirit. And throughout each day, God revealed His goodness, and He revealed a gentle yet powerful, a subtle yet attention-grabbing side of His nature. Through these nudgings of the Spirit we were able to connect with, encourage, inspire, and bless many people. We were able to sow many seeds of love that will only continue to be watered and shined upon to bear much fruit.

In addition to growing in sensitivity to the Spirit and obedience, I also learned in Japan about the importance of perspective. 100 people saved, 50 healed, 40 responded to the altar call! These are beautiful testimonies and amazing statistics that we hear from different mission trips, and that we will continue to contend for in our future trips. However, I realized that in a country like Japan where less than 1% of the population is Christian, I must not look past the value of simply leading one person to Christ. One person is a big deal! It is one life completely transformed- one who was on the road to eternal death, but now is on the path to eternal life!

Our team was able to firsthand experience the joy of rescuing the one lost sheep when we got to know a young Japanese breakdancer named Ryo. We hung out with him for a while at a subway station where breakdancers are known to gather and practice. Towards the end of the night, our team leader Danny shared the Gospel with Ryo, and Ryo ended up accepting Christ into his heart. We gave him hugs and high fives and celebrated with him with big smiles on our faces. I imagined the angels in heaven rejoicing when Ryo accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and I couldn’t help but rejoice as well. He might have thought that our team was a little too happy, but I think our indescribable joy drew him in because he even came to Sunday service the next day. Team Japan greeted him with the love of the Father and with a joy that we couldn’t contain. We ate dinner with him and kept in touch with him throughout our trip, inviting him to small group and giving him a new Bible as a gift. I genuinely felt as if one of my own family members or best friends had just accepted Christ because I was able to wholeheartedly celebrate with him. Ryo was my new brother in Christ! Through his salvation, God gave me the revelation of how precious one saved life is to Him. I started to realize that numbers are important, yes, but missions cannot be boxed in or boiled down to trying to hit a certain stats so that we can come back home satisfied. As valuable as it is to see masses turning to Christ, the Lord had a different plan for our team. He wanted us to realize the importance of investing in and building relationships with different people, of being sensitive to and obedient to His spirit’s leading, of valuing even one salvation, of connecting new believers to a local church community, and ultimately asking not for our will, but for His will to be done.

During our one week in Japan, I may not have seen fire fall but I saw hardened hearts softening through simple conversations. I may not have been part of packed revival services, but I participated in intimate small group meetings where God spoke to each person in very specific ways. I may not have witnessed the blind see or the lame walk, but I witnessed the greatest miracle of all: the life-altering moment when a man realizes His need for a Savior, and invites Jesus Christ of Nazareth to be Lord of his life. I believe that through our missions trip to Tokyo and Osaka, many spiritual seeds were sown. Many seeds were planted on the streets that we walked through and the ground that we danced on. And I believe that Japan will continue to reap a spiritual harvest from these seeds for years to come. I am confident that our team did everything that had to be done – the work that God called us and sent us to do in the time that we were our the mission field. May these seeds continue to bear fruit 30, 60, 100-fold, and may God’s saving grace soon sweep over Japan!

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