Small Group Missionary
I am currently living in the United States, but I lived for two years in Japan. I was teaching the Bible, teaching English, and working in the office of the mission organization with which I was in Japan. My desire right now is to return to Japan as a small group missionary with TEAM. I will be encouraging local believers, leading Bible study and working in the mission office supporting missionaries in the field.
I became a Christian in my teens. And then became a high school math teacher. But I loved to travel. As I got older, I felt God calling me towards missions and to unreached people groups. I spent two summers working with street children in Bolivia which is where I was born. But I didn’t feel a strong calling to Bolivia. Later through a conversation with a former missionary to Japan, I felt that that was the place where God may be calling me. I pursued a short-term missions experience in Japan. And now I am considering returning full-time.
This class at Christian Leaders Institute has reminded me of the importance of having a daily quiet time. I used to incorporate the reading of a hymn each day in my devotions, but for some reason, I stopped doing that. I was reminded through the Getting Started class that that would be a good thing to incorporate back into my daily quiet time.
I would say I identify most with a small group leader. As a teacher, I work well with small groups. When I was in Japan before, I led small group Bible studies with one or two or up to five or six students. I really enjoyed that experience. I learned so much from my students. I especially loved hearing their questions and interpretations of scripture coming from an honor-shame culture.
One of the key experiences that prompted me to pursue ministry was living and working in Japan. There was such an openness to hearing the gospel. Yet, so many people have not heard the gospel. I felt like here in the United States many people already have a negative connotation of Christians. Yet in Japan, they see Christianity as a western religion but they’re very interested in learning more. There is an openness to the gospel that I haven’t seen in the United States.
One of the unique challenges in Japan is that Buddhism is so ingrained in people that it is more of a cultural religion than a faith religion. People find it hard to make a profession of faith because of many of the customs of Buddhism. There are many people that I have met or heard of who must worship in secret or attend Bible study in secret because if their family finds out that they attend church or study the Bible or have become a Christian, they will be disowned. Being disowned by one’s family is even more difficult in an honor-shame culture. Sharing the Bible with friends and students in Japan, though, does transform lives. One of my favorite stories to study and teach is Ruth. The story of Ruth really resonated with many of the women I taught. Although my church would like to see me return to Japan as a church planter, I know that I can use my skills to help in supporting missionaries who are on the field or are called to the field.
A scholarship at CLI allows me to complete the Biblical studies classes I need in order to return to Japan. Please pray for discipline in time management to complete the classes and all the things I will need to complete in order to return to Japan as a small group missionary.
Learn about local “ecuministry” ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.