International Ministries

Relationships: The Heart of Ministry

October 7, 2009 Journal
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Dear Friends,

It's World Mission Offering time once again, and we want to thank you all for your faithful giving which makes it possible for us to continue serving as your representatives here in Japan! 

It's a busy time for us.  125 years ago today -- October 6th -- American Baptists (then called "Northern Baptists") started a seminary here in Yokohama, Japan.  Over the years that seminary has grown into Kanto Gakuin--an institution which currently provides education from preschool to post-graduate levels on 5 campuses, serving over 15,000 students.  This week, we're celebrating that anniversary (in rather grand style) and IM's director, Reid Trulson is coming to give some words of congratulations, along with IM’s Japan/East Asia Area Director, Stan Murray.

Missionaries have always been important at Kanto Gakuin as teachers, chaplains, administrators and student ministry leaders.  But whatever we’ve done, that ministry has always depended first and foremost on building strong relationships — relationships with colleagues, local leaders, students and parents. 

As shown in one of the photos above, Kari is leading a craft-time with some children.  As missionaries, we’re often busy “doing” — leading educational or evangelistic activities, participating in Christian programs put on by churches or by one of the schools, or (heaven knows!) doing our fair share of administration!  But doing is not as important as being, especially here in Japan where resistance to Christian work is still rather high.  I often feel that the most important work we do is sitting around tables, making friends with people in the community, showing others how interested we are in them and in their culture, and learning new things as others share their lives and spiritual worlds with us.

Of all the people we know personally who have been added to Christian churches here in Japan during the past year, every single one of them came in as the result of having had a friendship with a caring, Christian person.  That is, those people decided that Jesus was important because a welcoming, gregarious person had been a witness to God’s unconditional love.  During this month of reflection on world-wide evangelism and service, may we all be a little better about slowing down, and taking the time to focus on being a Christian rather than just doing Christian activities! Sometimes it’s easier to do, but in our experience, it’s almost always more rewarding to be.

Thanks so much for your continued prayer and financial support.  God is working through you to change lives and hearts both where you live and around the world!

God’s richest blessings,

Dwight & Kari Davidson

MPT Website:  www.davidsonjapan.org