Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I am accepted

December 22, 2004

I received in the mail today my acceptance letter from MUPs.

Dear Will:

On behalf of the Board, staff, and missionaries of Mission to Unreached Peoples, I want to take this opportunity to officially welcome you to this ministry. Your application, references, interview, and psychological profiles have been carefully reviewed, and we have agreed to accept you as approved Mission to Unreached Peoples personnel.

You are now officially ready to begin preparations for your anticipated ministry to serve in Japan. Your preparation for ministry and transitioning your life in Japan will be a team joint effort between yourself and the guidance provided for you from your field leadership.

Will, we are standing with you, asking God through the power of the Holy Spirit to help you. Getting ready to leave to do the work God has prepared for you is an exciting time, full of anticipation and hope. But it can also be a difficult period, one full of hectic activity, doubts and testing.

I encourage you to begin go over the information contained in this packet. You will need to know the information it contains, and we need to be able to rely on the fact that you've read, studied, and are acting on it. We will be contacting you shortly to personalize your preparation and departure paperwork. It is imperative you know the steps necessary to take in order to reach your ultimate goal of service in the Great Commission in the wisest and best-prepared manner possible. Kathy Cranston will be your Candidate Manager, and will be your primary contact here in the office. Please especially take the Planning Steps suggestion and establish a prayer support group now and begin meeting with them weekly.

In the interval between now and the time you leave, it will be important for us to build good personal relationships with each other. Whenever you have a question or a need, please contact the office. You are joining a fellowship of like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. We will be praying for you regularly and desire to stay in close touch with you.

You will need to begin to put together a mailing list and to think about sending out prayer letters for supporters and prayer partners now. It will be important to start to build this base of prayer and financial support and to keep your supporters informed about what's happening with your preparations.

It is important for you to know that, in accordance with IRS regulations, any funds sent on your behalf will be kept in an account in your name until you leave. Should you decide for any reason not to proceed with this ministry, the money received would then be channeled in consultation with you to other workers or projects. It normally cannot be returned.
Please also read through the Policy Manual carefully. We will contact you shortly to develop your personal budget and to finalize the Financial Agreement and Overseas Service Agreement.

I will be sending a letter, along with a copy of this letter, to your pastor telling him of your acceptance and suggesting ways in which we might work with your church and missions committee as they support you both with prayer, encouragement, and finances. We ask that you continue in discussion with your church about their involvement in your calling to this overseas ministry. This is a team effort, and we pray that your church will feel a part of this ministry in a vital way. We are available to help you with fundraising and with your relationship to your home church in any way that we can.

What an opportunity we have to be a part of the Great Commission and to work together to reach the unreached! Ahead of you is adventure, growth in faith, some setbacks and trials, but the Lord will be with you through it all. Remember, "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against authorities, against the powers of darkness, and against spiritual forces of evil... therefore put on the full armor of God." We are praying that our Father will be helping you as you prepare spiritually, materially, and financially for this new adventure of faith.

"Praise be to God and thanks be to Him who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing (II Corinthians 2:14-15)."

As always, should you ever have questions, concerns, or just want to discuss or pray about what is happening during the preparation process, don't hesitate to give me a call or to write. May our heavenly Father bless you with peace, joy, and power during this time as you rest in Him! (Philippians 4:19)

For the Kingdom,

Jeff Kwon
Director of Mobilization

Monday, December 20, 2004

Pondering Authentic Glory to God

A few days ago I was pondering. I am posting this more for my own future benefit than for anything else, but of course anyone is welcome to peruse it.
Authentic praise is heartfelt. Too often in the NA church the praise comes more in the form of rhetoric. I think there may be too much rhetoric in our churches today. But that aside; when we praise God in North America, culture, language, and our worldview all come very much into play. Our praise is generally offered in context of these things. We generally praise God in our own language, we use words that are meaningful to us based on our experiences with life as well as with church.

How does one offer authentic praise in Japan? What is authentic praise from a Japanese standpoint?
I suppose they might offer up or elevate values they hold near and dear to their own hearts, core values and transfer them to God? For an example I think a core value in the Japanese culture is honour. Being honourable is especially important to the average Japanese person. So if God was infinitely and perfectly honourable, honour personified, that would constitute mighty high praise indeed, in the eyes and heart and soul and mind of a Japanese person. Or as a second example loyalty. Loyalty is another core value I think. So if God were worshipped as being omnipotently loyal, that too would be beautiful in the estimation of a Japanese person.

In our culture (North American, European) we have developed a large body of music and songs, poetry and stories, pop culture and high culture, over the years in praise to God.

But in Japan the cultural legacy is one built without God. Can we export our resources into a Japanese culture very different from that of western culture and expect that to be meaningful? How is authentic praise being generated in Japan? How can it be developed? How can we help in developing it?

Can there be Japanese music that is Christian? Can there be Japanese Literature that is praiseworthy? How can we develop art that is glorifying to God in Japan?

As a rookie missionary I look with not a little trepidation at the mountain that needs to be moved. I need to learn not to focus on the mountain but on the Mover. That is key to success, and to my well being.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Weaving Belief and Behavior

Sometime ago Gideon Strauss blogged about Makoto Fujimura, an artist of Japanese decent, a Christian, who is the owner of some impressive credentials.

Robert Kushner (an artist and critic) has written:
The idea of forging a new kind of art, about hope, healing, redemption, refuge, while maintaining visual sophistication and intellectual integrity is a growing movement, one which finds Fujimura's work at the vanguard.

In the past I have wondered about Japan, it's lack of Christianity historically and the impact that has on art and music and culture in general. Conversely, how do we as Christians impact Japan with music, art, and culture.
I think it is a good thing to have people like Makoto sama in the world today, as we seek to proclaim the gospel in Japan.