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Tommy Park: 時間 (Time) in Japan

As I reflect on the past year, I am struck by how fast time flies, yet how slow it can also be as well. In Japan time is measured by seasons, something that I’m still getting used to coming from the eternal summer of Southern California. Each season has a new thing to adjust to learn from. Sometimes it seems to go on forever, like the unseasonably hot and long summer. At other times it goes by in a flash, like the fleeting life of the sakura (cherry blossoms), which only are in bloom for a few weeks at most. Seasons will change. 

I am learning to trust that challenging times won’t last forever, and I should be thankful for and cherish the blessings that God gives.

Change also brings opportunities to learn and grow. Most things don’t quite turn out the way I plan them, but being able to see God work through the good and bad times has been a real blessing and time of growth. It’s humbling to have to struggle through language or moments of utter confusion, but through these challenges I know God is working in me to make me more patient and understanding of others.

"Most things don't quite turn out the way I've planned them, but being able to see God work through the good and bad times has been a real blessing and time of growth."

I’m learning how slow it can be to adjust to life, especially when you don’t understand the language and culture. Currently, I’m entering a season of focused language learning: 5-6 classes a week plus study time. As Serve Asia Coordinator (SAC) most of what I do is in English, but it would be invaluable to improve communication with Japanese pastors and members of the community. So even if I cut back on the SAC role, I see it as a good investment in the future, assuming I can learn Japanese, haha.

God has also provided me with some exciting connections. I’ve been able to help with mobilization efforts in the Philippines, Indonesia, and the US, and gotten the chance to speak at universities in Sapporo and Tokyo as well. I will also have a chance to speak to some engineers at JAXA, Japan’s version of NASA! And as my Japanese (hopefully) improves, who knows what else the Lord might open up as I’m better able to communicate with others.

As for the SAC role, it has been a real blessing. I enjoy meeting new people and being a part of their missions journey, providing direction, and hopefully challenging them where God is directing them. I love leading prayer journeys, where I connect people with churches and ministry partners throughout Tohoku and pray for what God is doing. Even though it’s been a challenging season, I honestly love my job, and never thought I’d be able to say that. It's like God created me for a role like this, so thank you for being a part of it and allowing me to be here!

どうもありがとうございます!Thank you very much!

Prayer Requests

  • Deeper faith and trust in God and His timing, not mine.

  • Prayer for God’s help & protection. I’ve had many health issues while here in Japan: torn Achilles that required surgery, multiple infections (skin, eye), and something with my sinuses. Am thankful for the health system and your prayers! Also had a really challenging summer with repercussions that have continued through the fall, and need wisdom and patience.

  • Balancing schedule to being to really thrive and not just survive. I will be prioritizing language learning for the next 3-4 months (5-6 classes a week), but also making time for myself to exercise, rest and do life. This will be a challenge entering a busy ministry season with Christmas events and needing to spend my time studying when I’d probably rather do more events with people.

  • Good connections with people in my community and within church… especially if my Japanese gets better! Community and connection is a lifeline for me being the social person that I am, and am thankful for the connections God has brought so far.

  • Thank you so much for praying for me! I’ve learned how so many things are out of our hands, and your prayers are necessary to carry me throughout the day. I intend to send more regular prayer updates (monthly is the goal) to keep you all more updated on life here and what God is doing. Thank you so much for partnering with me in this very important way. Please also let me know how I can be in prayer for you... I love to hear updates from people!


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