Do you know how difficult it is to gather s’more supplies in Japan? We learned the hard way, but it was totally worth it to give students living in Chiba (outside Tokyo) an American “youth group” experience!
Earlier this month we were invited to CCSI (an international Christian school started by MTW missionaries) to speak with parents about recognizing and coping with stress in school-aged children. We took the opportunity while we were in the area to plan a one-night youth event for middle and high school students (a sweet reunion for us since we haven’t seen most of these students since last November). We gathered together for a time of worship (led by students), teaching, silly games and of course a fire with real s’mores. It was a joy to be around these students and see them engage deeply with each other and with God.
Sometimes we wonder how effective we can really be discipling MKs from such a distance. In the States, we relied on consistency and time together to help forge relational bonds, but in this role, we only see our MKs here and there, on facebook, and on Skype. We deeply desire to be listening ear and a gospel voice in the lives of these students as they navigate the challenges of adolescence in an international environment, but sometimes we wonder if they can sense that for the irregularity of it all. The Lord used this trip to encourage us with little evidences of fruit: a deeper peek into a kid’s life, a shared experience that’s become an inside joke, a conversation revisited, or a scary question they’ve dared to ask. Though it feels like our contribution is woefully inadequate, God seems to be standing in the gap and multiplying the loaves we’ve offered. Thanks for helping us make a real difference one meager interaction at a time.
One of the best things we have to offer these students that WE KNOW makes a difference is the prayers of 500 strangers half a world away. So, will you please join us in praying for our friends as they continue to develop and explore their own personal relationships with God apart from their parents. As the church of today and leaders of tomorrow, pray that God might use them in a mighty way, both here in Japan and as he sends them out around the world. Please also pray for their parents who are navigating the responsibilities of ministry while trying to love and equip their children well for service in the kingdom. God is doing great things in Japan and we feel so privileged to meet and spend time with the people who are on the front lines, no matter how old they are!