Hello from Japan

1 Dec 2017, Tokyo, Japan

(Hi from three staff members from YWAM Sarasota who are doing an outreach in Japan for three weeks!) 

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A mission trip - or missions in general - is such a big task. Go to the whole world. Save the whole world. Preach the gospel everywhere. Great, and if God calls you to do that, great. But then you also feel dissapointed if you don't. There are a million areas to help out with. A million things to do. And in Tokyo, there are people and possibilities everywhere, we could do a bit of everything. And feel dissatisfied. We could try to do a bit of everything, to fill out space in a schedule, to do what we think we're supposed to do. But there's also power in being a specific person, with a specific purpose. 

There's a beauty in how creative our God is. And how many different ways there are to live with him, to talk about him. During this trip I randomly bought a disposable camera during one of my layovers. And all of a sudden my main personal project here has become to go out with the camera to a specific café and ask people if they want to be part of my art project. I take a photo of them and ask them a question, and when the photos are developed I'll write the answers on the back and use them in an exhibition.

The question I've been asking is "What is something that's happened in your life that has taught you not to give up?" And I don't know what answer comes up in your mind, but for me it's something quite deep. And it's opened up for some good conversations. One lady spoke about how seeing other people work and study hard inspires her to not give up herself. That even if she has difficulties in life, other people have as well, so that's never a reason to stop working hard. I took her photo, we talked a bit, and then I told her that even though that's great, you would be just as worthy and beautiful even if you didn't work a single day in your life. And as I started talking about that, and about how God and Jesus would love her no matter what, she started crying. I got to pray for her. She was the sweetest person and it was this genuine meeting in the midst of a place with so many people who never quite see each other. A lot of things are never shared because no one ever asks. So we're breaking the silence. 

And for me, the main thing is that this helps me to not see people as projects. If you walk up to a person, they always know that you have some kind of purpose with it. And that will be in the back of their mind until they've figured out what it is. Here I get to honestly ask them to be part of an art project, and so it's completely clear what the conversation is about. Anything outside of that gets to be my genuine care or curiosity. And maybe that - that people are not projects - is what God is teaching me. 

But this is not really about how to do missions. It's just about the grace and goodness with which God has led me into something I want to do. It is always good to practice doing things simply because God tells you to - that is our trust and our obediance - but probably you'll always end up here. Doing something you were created for. 

- Linnéa Strömberg

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