Assemblies of God Empowered Magazine Kingdom Initiatives - Page 24

MISSIONS ASK, SEEK, KNOCK…. A JOURNEY TOWARDS JAPAN By Emma Kalin, Citywestchurch, New Plymouth, NZ, Missionary You can vividly remember significant world events that happen in your lifetime, not necessarily because you were there, but because they made such a huge impact on your life. They stir some strong emotions, send you to prayer, and usually you can remember where you were and what you were doing at the time you heard or saw the news. The Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 was one of those major events for us. We can remember that our conversations around dessert with friends came to a standstill, and we gathered around the TV screen to watch what had happened. Little did we know that this was the beginning of seeds being planted in our heart about this nation. Some years before this happened we had felt that God was calling us to fulltime overseas ministry, and those years had been spent praying and asking God to show us a country. Months after the earthquake and tsunami the Holy Spirit whispered in our hearts about Japan, a country that at that time we knew very little about. Since then we have learned that Japan’s total population is around 127 million and less than 1% are Christian. Many towns and cities have no churches, and numerous rural areas have hardly been touched with the Gospel. Church congregations are small and ageing and Pastors are retiring with no one to replace them. Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” In this scripture are three commands: to ask, seek and knock, but we’re not to stop there, but to keep asking, keep seeking and to keep knocking. Each 24 | EMPOWERED MAGAZINE of these commands has a promise attached to it: we will receive, we will find and the door will be opened. The intensity of the commands grows and each one requires more effort from us. It’s easy to ask for things in prayer, but seeking requires more energy input, and knocking requires our persistence and perseverance until a door is opened. This scripture became a method for us in prayer and initiating faith steps towards overseas missions. We had been asking God for a country and we received Japan. Next we followed on to seek out information, which took a lot of effort, but through researching God began breaking our hearts for the Japanese people and we could see the great need and why God was drawing us there. Through seeking we had found the need. The things we ‘find’ are not found by accident or coincidence, but are found ‘on purpose’, God’s purpose. All that’s required is that we move forward and abide in Him. As we moved forward we knew doors wouldn’t open unless we knocked. At this stage we still had no idea what God wanted us to do in Japan, or who we were to work with. So we initiated a two week trip to Japan, where we set up appointments to meet mission agencies and missionaries, to hear their stories and see what God was doing through them. Not knowing if any of these meetings would be the open door we needed, we continued trusting that God would lead us to opportunities to meet others in the unplanned moments of our itinerary. The outcome of one of those moments was when we attended a church we found through a Google search when we were looking for a church close to our accommodation. Remember, when we are abiding in the Lord we don’t find things by accident but on purpose. There we met an Australian couple, Alistair and Marlene Paterson. On returning to NZ the connection we made with them developed further, and in time we were invited to join them at Hakata New Life church, a Japanese A/G church in Fukuoka. Fukuoka is the largest city on the southernmost Japanese Island of Kyushu with a population of 1.5 million people. Unlike many cities in Japan that are in population decline, Fukuoka is a vibrant and rapidly growing city with the highest growth rate for the younger generation aged 15-29. We will be leading university student ministry and be involved in other local outreaches that the church runs. Our passion is to see healthy, Spirit-filled, vibrant churches grow across Japan and to encourage and support the next generation of young adults to train for ministry and to plant more churches. We plan to leave for Japan at the end of this year once our financial support budget is met. Biography: Glenn and Emma Kalin We have been married for 16 years and have three boys, Riley (11), Lachlan (10) and Connor (8). We live in New Plymouth and are part of the citywestchurch family under the leadership of Ps Steve and Ps Pip Batten. Our involvement in church ministry has been in various leadership roles over the years in children’s ministry, worship team, Connect groups, teaching / discipling and hospitality. In 2013-2014 we spent 2 years preparing for crosscult