2015 Japan – Sharon Kim

Flipping the Script

Now, this is a story all about how / My life got flipped-turned upside down / And I’d like to take a minute / Just sit right there / I’ll tell you how God flipped the script and how I got here…

Before I elaborate on the happenings of Japan, I must first explain where I was. Not physically, because I was in Korea, but spiritually. I feel that these things must be said because a missions trip doesn’t really start when you get to the field or even when training starts. It starts the moment you decide to go. Or maybe it’s the moment that God decides you will go.

My spiritual life was very stagnant prior to the trip, and for some reason in my head that equated to God using me less in the field. So what did I do? I fasted. I told myself to get closer to God. I fasted every weekday for the first three weeks of January before the trip.

I know how New Philadelphia mission trips go. I’ve heard the testimonies, and I’ve seen the videos. People come back with amazing testimonies of healing. They come back with stories of how people fell under the fire of the Holy Spirit. They come back even more in love with the nations. They come back changed. I have told some people this, but my two biggest fears going into this missions trip was: ONE, I would come back completely unchanged, and TWO, I would come back with no testimony to share. I know, it seems ridiculous now, but that’s the state I was in.

So on January 23rd I was sent out. Now, if you know anything about me at all, you would know that I love Japan. I love everything about Japan, the language, the culture, the people, and most of all, the Pocky. Therefore, going to Japan as my very first mission trip with New Philadelphia was a dream come true.

Our days started off with devotions. We asked God where He wanted us to go. People would receive words like burgundy jacket, triangle, a bridge, left knee pain. Then we would go. We just followed in faith. It was difficult for me at first because I’m the type of person who likes to know where I am going before I go. This trip was already challenging me. But the internal struggle got real. I felt that I wasn’t being of much use on this trip. What was I doing? Prayer walking? Being a tourist? Just dancing? No one really stopped to watch us. Who are we reaching? Oh wait! We did see a salvation! Ryo! But I took no part in that. That isn’t my testimony. Am I really on missions? My fears became real. I started to fear that I really was going to go back unchanged and without a testimony.

But on the fourth day, we had the amazing opportunity to go to Osaka and to Osaka Castle. That morning during devotions, a lot of people received words of sun or sunshine or something to that degree, but it rained. Our fearless leader, Danny, said that we were going to Osaka Castle anyway. I was glad he said that. We danced in front of the castle. We just gave it all we got, and that moment felt different from any other time we performed. There was so much joy shooting through all of us. We all felt it. There was something that happened or even shifted in the spirit. And that night, it only got better for me! Our Osaka contact (who has the best name ever) Sharon, took us to Doutonbori. Now, I mentioned earlier that I love Pocky. I collect Pocky boxes, and I have around 80 or so different boxes of Pocky. Crazy? Just a little. But Glico Man is the company’s logo, and he’s located in Doutonbori. He’s a famous icon! I got so excited. It was like I was a child meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time. I was ecstatic. Everyone knows. You can ask them.

The next day, I was actually feeling a little guilty about going into full tourist-mode in the field. That morning’s devotions were very special though. We got to meet a Japanese dancer named Saeka. She had devotions with us. And later we found out that during that morning’s devotions she heard God speaking to her clearly through the Word for the first time! Hallelujah! This was a day of breakthrough for her as a Christian and a dancer, but also for me. During our debrief later, there was a moment of clarity. He flipped the script on how I was viewing missions. We were talking about how Japan missions is different from other missions trips and that comparing this trip to any other trip would be doing an injustice. Our trip wasn’t about numbers, but about individuals and their stories. Like Ryo, Saeka, Sharon, Janine, and Vicente. It wasn’t about healings and fire, but it was about obeying God and being in one Spirit with Him. From that moment on, I realized that what we were doing was breaking ground through our prayer walks, and releasing joy through dance. It was sowing seeds and having faith that God was doing the work, and partnering with Him. The fears that I had started to subside.

The rest of the missions trip went by in a blur. We went back to Tokyo and were able to participate in Fuse Ministry’s cell groups. It was a powerful time of speaking life and praying for the people of the church. Fuse is filled with amazing people, and I am personally very excited for their ministry and how they will grow spiritually and in numbers in this new season.

But the biggest revelation I received was actually after we got back from our trip. On the Sunday after we got back, I was standing in the front row of Hongdae’s worship service, and the song that we were singing went like this: “Jesus, we love You / Oh, how we love You / You are the one our hearts adore.” But God said, “No, I love you.” He flipped the script again. “Sharon, I love you / Oh, how I love you.” He reminded me of the prayer that I prayed before the Leadership Retreat in 2014. I had actually prayed for a revelation of God’s love. I figured that if I had a revelation of His love, then life would be easier. I could love more easily. But God was saying how He sent me on the Tokyo/Osaka missions trip as a revelation of His love for me. He loves me so much that He made a way to make sure that I was on this trip to Japan. The moments when I felt guilty about going into tourist mode, He was saying that it was okay. Because it was when I got excited about things like the “Glico Man” that He was excited with me. That was it. I cried (like I always do). I was amazed that the fears of being unchanged and the fears of not having a single testimony were changed by three little words.

“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” – Deuteronomy 7:9

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