Since the beginning of the year we have been on Home Assignment in the US touring 20 of our partnering churches in the six months from January to June.
Home Assignment is always a good time to look back over the years of ministry and to look ahead to the years to come. While visiting one of our partnering churches we were asked how our view of missions had changed over our 23 years of ministry in Japan. Wow! Where do you start?
When we went to Japan the Japanese people were a target people that we were sent to bring into the Kingdom. Their language, culture, and way of thinking were un-familiar to us. Now they are our friends and neighbors who need to know the truth of the Gospel. Our hearts are softer now and we see their need from hearts of compassion. This change has come as we have gotten to know people as well as culture. Missions isn’t just about sharing the right words in a culturally appropriate way. It is sharing our lives and hearts with another person incarnationally. It is about caring about their soul more than they do and then sharing our own souls with them.
As John says while on Home Assignment he feels like he lives two lives, in two cultures, and two jobs. Part of our heart and energy goes to visiting our partnering churches and dreaming how we can be more effective together and connecting with people new and old. The other part of our ministry looks forward to our return to Japan. Well, we are about half way through and we share our hearts here too.
We came back for this tour with several desired outcomes that we would like to see accomplished while we are back and we are making progress:
- To recruit more workers for Japan both short-term and career.
- To develop several key US church partnerships with Japan churches.
- To maintain our financial support.
- To continue ministry responsibilities with the BGC Japan Mission, the Church Planting Institute, and complete a major research project on reproducing churches.
- To spend time with our families, especially our children and John’s mother.
Continue to pray that these outcomes would be accomplished by the grace of God. Pray also for our hearts to continue to burn with Christ’s love for the lost souls of Japan.
John and Elaine Mehn
Converge Worldwide (BGC)
On Tour in the US until July