Sunday, September 21, 2008

Reflections...

Today I'm sitting on the train on my way to the other side of Tokyo. (I'm on my cell phone right now. I'll paste this to my blog later.) It's still about another 30mins before I arrive at my destination and I find myself with plenty of time to reflect.

Today is cleaning day. No, not my house, though it really needs it. Next week 4 new volunteer missionaries will arrive in Japan. Just like I did years ago, they will spend 6 months in Tokyo learning Japanese and other important things before beginning 2 years of teaching English and ministry. So today we are preparing for their arrival in an annual tradition of house cleaning.

It's a strange mix of feelings I find myself with. This isn't the first time I've helped clean this very house for girls who might possibly replace me. The last time was two years ago when my original term of service was about to end. There were 4 new people coming that year as well. At that time I wanted to extend, but we weren't sure there would be enough room for me still. So at that time I felt maybe a sense of slight resentment for these unknown girls who had the power to take away my job,my students. But God provided as always and that year a new position was created and I've been blessed to extend not only one but two years past my original contract.

Now I'm satisfied with my time in VYM and I'm ready to move to the next stage of my life. So I find myself on a train on my way to clean a house with the very girls whom I cleaned it for two extensions ago. Now they are also the ones preparing for the possibilities of replacement or extension. My resentment for these girls has been transformed into community and love. It's amazing how God gently shows us the better way sometimes.

So now, this time, I'm merely experiencing bitter sweet acceptance instead of sullen rebellion. It's good to know how far I've come. Today I'm looking forward to a day of laughter and fellowship (even if we are cleaning). Maybe in another two years I'll be anticipating an event such as this with true joy, the evidence of my relationship with my Father. I'm so thankful for all the ways I've changed and grown these past two years.

Now if I could only learn to clean my own house...

5 comments:

Amanda said...

Hi, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions? I'm considering becoming a missionary and going to Japan. How did you know that God wanted you to become a missionary? At first I felt at peace, but now I feel very unsure about it. Did you ever feel that way?

Shihu said...

Well, actually, becoming a missionary was kinda a last minute thing for me. I wanted to be a youth worker, but due to various circumstances, that fell through. While looking for a job, I learned that I could become a missionary to Japan, and as I love both church work and Japan, it seemed the perfect fit for me. Of course I felt unsure (trying to remember that far back is a bit hard) and like I was jumping off a really high cliff. But I've never regretted it. Japan is a hard place to do ministry, but I've grown so much here as a person and as a Christian. But honestly, being a "missionary" was never my calling. Japan was. So that might be the difference between me and some other missionaries here.

Anyway, I think I'm rambling now. I think prayer is always a good thing. And if this decision is tugging at your heart and won't let go, then it's probably a good sign you should listen and come, no matter how scared you are. It's normal to be scared before big life changes. But we have to learn to keep moving forward. :-)

amanda said...

Thanks, I appreciate it =] Did you get your visa yourself or did your church handle it for you?

Shihu said...

I'm working through LCMS (Lutheran) World Missions, a group related to my denomination. They took care of all the arrangements for me and I'm working in an established program in Japan called VYM (Volunteer Youth Ministry). I felt very safe and taken care of with this kind of arrangement.

Actually, in April I will have to start a new job, and I think the scariest part is that I won't have an organization to take care of me any more. haha.

amanda said...

Lol, yeah, all that visa stuff gives me a headache.

I'll keep you in my prayers for when you change jobs. Who knows, if I go over there we might meet up sometime. =]