I had been wanting to join a Japan mission trip since New Life PJ started mission trips going there. Due to my tight work schedule, I was unable to do so until Angel mentioned that she will be doing a children camp in Okinawa this year.
We were received by Pastor Taku and his family who were very hospitable. We were introduced to Pastor Masato and his church and joined their Prayer Meet on Wednesday. They were very particular regarding the meanings to our names, which I find interesting as no one did such lengthy discussion on the meaning of my name. I initially thought that we were to minister to the church, but to my surprise, they ministered and prayed over us instead. Pastor Masato even had a word and prophesied over me and Angel.
We visited Mount OIive Hospital. This is a hospital for mental and hospice patients. Pastor Masato works there as full time pastor. With his team of six(6), they go around to minister to the residents there. We did a baby church program with the children from the hospital staffs. There were 30+ children and they were excited to listen to bible stories, sing songs and play games. Because of us, the hospital childcare givers even prepared the children to sing some songs in English. Pastor Masato runs a weekly worship service with the patients in the hospice. The elderlies are all fragile and they are either bedridden or in wheelchairs. It was quite depressing to see them in this state, yet we were encouraged to know that even with simple worship songs, they are basking in God’s presence.
Pastor Taku took us around Okinawa to prepare for the children bible camp. He later shared with us his prayer needs. His company requested a transfer for him to Tokyo as the Okinawa branch was closing down. He was worried as he would need to transfer his whole family and to think that they had just found a comfortable church here in Okinawa. There were also concerns regarding his deteriorating vision. God is good, the next day Pastor Taku testified that his transfer was not required as they have found work for him in Okinawa.
Children bible camp started with Japanese-speaking children. It is a bit difficult to communicate as they were not able to really understand us. However, by God’s grace, they seemed to warm up to our teachings and able to understand the things Angel had prepared for them. Pastor Taku’s children were the only ones that could speak English. They helped to translate, otherwise we would use body language. We were able to minister and pray over the children. Despite our language barrier, we trust that the Holy Spirit had spoken to the hearts of these children.
Sunday worship service and “Malaysia cultural night” were good experiences. It is interesting that they had not tasted Malaysia snacks before and find them spicy. They wanted to listen to what is happening in Malaysia. They also invited another Japanese guest who was going to Myanmar later this year for her mission work. We had a good time sharing experiences.
While we were there, an imminent typhoon heading towards Okinawa was in the news and Pastor Taku explained that this typhoon just might hover for a few days. As we were at the tail end of our trip and couldn’t afford to be stranded in Okinawa, I was very concerned. Pastor taught us how to monitor and be updated on typhoon news. He comforted us that we were in God’s favor as this typhoon will only touch Okinawa peripherally, not head on. Despite that, we still experienced strong winds, I wondered if the typhoon did hit us straight on, we probably would be blown away.
Due to the typhoon, our flight got delayed until wee hours in the morning before we finally departed. Nonetheless, we were grateful that we reached home safely, having deposited God’s love and ministry with the folks in Okinawa.
Yap Jing Jing