Land of the Risen Son
How excited we are at SEAPC to open our arms to the nation of Japan! For most of us who travel in and out of Asia, Japan is known as the stopover – the two hour transit point – between the USA and our ministry destination. It’s the place where we grab a quick burger (or sushi, of course) and stretch our legs before the final flight of the journey. Each time I travel through Japan, I am amazed at the standard of excellence that greets me. Flights usually depart on the minute. Efficiency is king at every level. Politeness and courtesy are hallmarks. However, I will never forget when the Father spoke clearly to me and said, “Son…You will no longer fly through Japan, but you will fly to Japan.”
The nation that was once my stopover had now become my stop. Japan, a nation that seemed to have it “all together” in my eyes, was now my burning ministry assignment from the Lord. To confirm without a doubt this was His will, God sent a missionary to Japan to my front door in Minnesota that very same day. A faithful and compassionate missionary to the nation, Nathan Michelson, was standing outside my house as I pulled up from a trip to the supermarket. Nathan said to me, “I am on home-assignment this Christmas, and I was praying. The Lord led me to talk to you about Japan.” I was blown away. God had sealed this assignment in me forever.
Over the next three years, God opened doors for me to go to Japan and pray, speak, and learn about its people. These were some of the most eye-opening and intense trips I have ever taken. I fell in love with the Japanese people and learned that things were not as “all together” there as I naively thought they were. Every time I went to Japan, I was greeted with genuine kindness and openness from so many. But as I connected on a deeper level with the people, I touched the inward heart of the Japanese rather than the the outward gifts they share with the world so well. For many, under the surface was a deep pain from loneliness, strained marriage, family relationships, and chronic depression. For way too many was the thoughts of suicide, and the effect of suicide in their families. I quickly found out the great longing of the Japanese heart—despite all the outward comforts and prosperity—is for the intimate and unconditional love of God the Father.
The heart is something that no amount of technology can fix. The heart is the core of who we are, and no earthly substitutes can ever satisfy its need for unwavering LOVE. In fact, when we continue to try to satisfy it outside the source of love, we are driven into even deeper disappointment. No one can love like our Father. No one can love the Japanese like their Father. Why? Because He is love. He is our roots. He is Japan’s roots. No one loved us before Him, and nobody loves us more. This is the message we take into Japan. This is the message that no amount of affluence can deny. This is the message that warms and awakens the hearts of Japan!
I will never forget an encounter I had on one of my first trips. My hosts took me to a temple outside Osaka. After prayer walking and talking with some of the people visiting the temple, I looked behind the main walkways that surrounded it. I saw a woman laying down on the ground. And as the voices around me grew quieter, I could hear a deep sobbing. Now both of these things—one a posture of laying down and one a sound of distress—are nearly never seen (at least to the public) in Japan. My curiosity took over. I had to see what this was. I quietly walked around behind the woman so she could not see me, and right there before me (behind the public eye) was a tiny “graveyard”. A graveyard filled with hundreds of little headstones. Headstones with the names of aborted babies. This woman had brought a little teddy bear and a rose for her child, and had both gifts tightly gripped in her hand. She could not hide her heart. She could not “keep it all together” on that day. The cry of motherhood was too much. Her heart was exposed, and her need was fully unveiled. As I watched her weep over this little tombstone representing a life she never knew, I wept with her. I saw the power of love. I saw a microcosm of the raw condition of hearts across Japan. Hearts longing for the deep healing, true love, and liberty found in Jesus. I saw the heart of why I was here: to bring the good news of Father’s love to broken lives and dreams.
This February SEAPC will be taking a mission in 3 cities across Japan. We will be bringing the message and love of the Father to local churches and families. We will be connecting with friends at YWAM Tokyo and also laying the groundwork for new ministry to abandoned children left at local hospitals in the nation. If the Holy Spirit prompts you to join us, or you would like more information about SEAPC’s ministry to Japan, please contact us!
Now is the time for deep and lasting breakthrough for this Land!