Rob earned his bachelor's degree from UW, a master's degree in organizational psychology from Florida Institute of Technology and has been in human resources with a focus on personnel selection. For fun, he loves spending time with friends, going to coffee shops, reading, hiking, and studying Japanese. He was part of the 7 man global engagement team we sent to partner with local churches in Japan a couple weeks ago, and when we asked if he would like to share more about his trip, he couldn't wait. This is why:
The transformation began in Tokyo where we hosted several sports camps for Japanese children followed by English class. Now, I’ve never thought of myself as a kid person. I’ve always shied away from working with kids and never felt I had enough energy for them. But I had an absolute blast working with the Japanese children and felt genuinely invested in them. What more, I had energy every step of the way—something I can only praise God for because it couldn’t have come from my own strength. And now I think I love working with kids.
The second half of the trip was spent in the Kansai region of Japan, where a friend of ours hosted us in her church. She took 3 full days off work to hang out with us, taking us to festivals and fireworks among other things. She demonstrated a genuine expression of Christian love in the way she used her time and made various sacrifices for us. Many close bonds were forged during this time and I was really touched. I tend to be somewhat reserved in relationships, so to experience these kinds of connections with others was profound.
This was actually my second trip to Japan, and I’ve been very involved with Japanese students over the past 3 years through the Eigo Café English teaching program. Prior to this trip, God began giving me a deeper burden for the Japanese people. It pained me to see a people I love live in spiritual darkness in a country where many cities don’t even have a single church. I began to feel more invested in them, almost as if I had a direct responsibility to reach the Japanese people. Yet as big as my heart was for them, this trip showed me it wasn’t as big as it could be. My heart grew to love the Japanese people even more.
While we were in Kansai staying at our friend’s church, I would go down to the church sanctuary just before bedtime to reflect, journal, and pray. I noticed I felt at peace being in Japan, despite the hectic schedule we had every day. I also had the crazy thought that it felt like home to me. I found that my heart was ablaze with passion for these people. Then I began to think what this said about God. If I love the Japanese this much, how much more does God love them? God told Moses that if he saw His face it would kill him. I think if we knew the full extent of how much God loves us, it would do the same.
God works in us and transforms our hearts and desires for His great purposes. What purpose He has in mind for me is not yet clear. Perhaps I am to live among these people one day bringing the light of the Gospel with me. If I do, all glory to God for putting me on this trip and shaping my desires, because I wouldn’t have chosen it before.
And all glory to God for providing numerous opportunities to serve the Japanese on this trip. The disciple John saw a vision of heaven where all nations, tribes, people, and tongues were standing before Jesus, worshipping him (Revelation 7:9). I have no doubt many seeds were planted during the trip that God can and will water, nurture, and grow so that His Kingdom may be found in Japan as it is the world.