I have a new answer to the question “why are you going to Japan?”

Because I’ve been sent.

A statue pointing into the distance

“Why Japan?” (or variations thereon) is easily the most common question I get when people hear of my plans to move out there. Fair enough really. If you were going to move overseas my first question would probably be “why?”

So I’ve worked at coming up with succinct ways to answer that question. I’ve tended approach the question in two ways:

  • My “calling” to Japan
  • My passion for Japan

Neither of these happened overnight, and they intertwine a bit, so I still don’t have particularly brief answers here.

But now I do have an answer that did happen overnight.

I’ve been sent. It happened on Sunday evening.

You see that was my “commissioning” service from my church in Leeds. They are the ones who have sent me to Japan. Well, them and the folk at OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship, as they get called when they’re in trouble). Together they have sent me to Japan.

The service was, in a word, affirming. I don’t mean affirming for me personally (although it was), but affirming of the fact that I should go to Japan. That I have been sent.

The sermon was really cool, if not slightly surreal because it was largely aimed at me. As in, the pastor addressed me directly a lot of the time. I imagine it was kinda like the sermon when you get married, except I’m yet to hear a marriage sermon that references divine bowel movements.

Actually the whole commissioning service was a bit like wedding. I even got to choose one of the songs. But the main reason I make the comparison is because there were vows.

I affirmed my commitment to follow Jesus, to emulate His life as best I could, ad to seek in humility to learn from and serve the church in Japan.

A member of OMF affirmed that they were content that I was suitable to go to Japan.

And then the church, affirmed that they were happy to send me to Japan.

Lots of “I do” and “We will”s, all affirming the fact that I was being commissioned to go to Japan. I was being sent.

So, why am I going to Japan?

There’s a few ways I could answer that question, but the shortest is this:

I’ve been sent.

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