2015 Japan – Joyce Ku

The Cycle of Blessings

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)

If my life was written out in a book, there would be a separate chapter for the days from January 23 to 30 of 2015, when New Philly sent me to Tokyo and Osaka for dance outreach. My time in Japan can be described as the moment when after days of swimming in solitude, a fish comes up to the surface for a breath but sees the sunset for the first time. The past few years had been personally difficult for me. But I believe these seven days were purposefully marked with joy and freedom to be a prophetic sign for me this year. It is all thanks to my wonderful team, my awesome team leader Danny, the missions administration, the prayers people have sown in, and God. By God’s grace, I was blessed to be a blessing to the missionaries we met in Japan and the missionaries we met were blessed to be a blessing to the team, and to me.

When the team arrived in Japan and met up with our contacts from Fuse Church in Noborito, Janine and Vicente, I was immediately drawn to Janine. When the team had our morning devotional in their home, we separated into groups and I ended up in the same group as Janine. We were sharing about the blocks in our lives that hindered us from loving the Lord with all hearts. Janine shared that she felt busy juggling her roles as a mother, a wife, and a missionary. So it was difficult to be in the place of intimacy with God. Everyone in the group prayed for her and spoke encouraging words. But her prayer request stayed with me until we returned from Osaka a few days later and I found myself in the same Fuse community small group as her. That night, Danny and I lead the group of about fifteen people into a time of praise. While we were singing, I looked over at Janine. All the lines of exhaustion and busyness were gone. Peace glowed from her face like a full moon. I knew she was finally in that quiet place with God. Later, she came up to me and told me that she was blessed and I knew what she meant by that often vague, and dare I say it, sometimes cliché phrase. But it meant a lot to me because of the back story that led to this moment.

In the months before I left for Japan, I was practicing my guitar and preparing songs to use on the missions field. I was meeting up with Pastor Jon Neufeld, our Worship Director, to receive teaching. But to be honest, it was still hard and I was stubbornly and secretly annoyed with myself during the trip. In the past season, my Familia leader, Ruth had told me not to despise my musical gift. But I found myself despising this gift and despising God all the more for giving it to me. But God was so, so gracious and kind to show me a way through my childish behavior. He led me to hand the guitar over to Danny, the team leader, so I could focus on leading worship with my voice. I think everyone on the team will agree that after this change, our praise sessions became dramatically different. And through the praise sessions that led up to the praise session at the small group with Janine, God worked on my worship leading skills so that I would be prepared for that night. It wasn’t just what happened with Janine that blessed me. But it was the gentle way God led me, a ball of bad melodramatics and childish tantrums, to be blessed by the ones who, He blessed, so that I might also be a blessing.

During one of our morning devotionals, my teammate Mary, shared a revelation she had before she boarded the plane. It took one man (Jesus) to change the world, and thus it can take just one man to bring revival to Japan. I believe that the sons and daughters of God we met in Japan together embody that “one man” who is Christ. The prayer request for Japan that I would like to share comes from this revelation. Pray that the sons and daughters in Japan would arise and shine for the glory that is rising in them as the body of Christ- the one man who can bring revival to Japan.

Thank you everyone who supported me and encouraged me throughout this process. I’ll be praying that the seeds you sowed into me would flourish in your lives.

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