The Detour was Better

Tags: From Canada, Japan, Story

Ana Aquino began her missionary journey with SEND International and has spent the last few years in Japan. Coming from a Filipino-Canadian background, she had to start from scratch when learning Japanese language and culture. Learning a new language is a laborious task, and the Japanese language is one of the most difficult languages for a foreigner to learn. It can take many years to become fluent. Ana has often felt like giving up; yet God has called her to his mission, and she presses on!

Challenging Communication

Ana is passionate about evangelism. However, without knowing the language and culture well, it can be challenging to communicate the message clearly and persuasively. 

To grow her understanding, Ana has been spending much of her time around Japanese friends who are bilingual. She can interact and learn about their culture while growing her Japanese skills. Sadly, many of these women are not interested in the Gospel Ana has shared.

Ana has been discouraged by not seeing fruit in her ministry to Japanese people. However, Japan is a place where spiritual fruit is not seen immediately. Effective gospel work requires patience and long-term relationship. Ana continues to learn how to present the message in a way that Japanese people understand and embrace.

An Unexpected Mission Field

Happily, God’s plans are far greater than a language barrier! Ana discovered another group of people in Japan who need the gospel: Filipino women. Many Filipino women marry Japanese men and live in Japan. They have been in the country for years and can speak both Filipino and Japanese! God has led Ana to reach out to these women, and already two have given their lives to Christ! And now, they desire to pass the gospel message on.

“God has encouraged me that my role is to evangelize, disciple, and train them, and then they can share it with their Japanese family and friends in Japanese,” Ana says. 

God's plan is far greater than a language barrier!

Ana has grabbed hold of this new mission and continues to meet and train the women. At the beginning of the COVID lockdown, she was meeting with two women over Zoom for Bible study. That group has already grown to 6! Despite a lack of Japanese language ability, Ana sees God’s gift in this fresh and creative way to reach those around her with the gospel. It may not have been the most direct path to reach the Japanese around her but, in this case, the detour was better!

Pray for Perseverance

Even now, language continues to be a challenge - and Ana is not alone. Learning a new language is a mountain that often seems impossible to climb for anyone, and many missionaries find themselves discouraged in the process. We must lift them up in prayer! 

  • Pray that new Filipino believers can use their bilingual gift to reach the Japanese. 
  • Pray too for perseverance for missionaries like Ana, who spend so much of their energy to learn another language and culture with the hope of sharing the gospel.

May God encourage their hearts as they seek to minister! “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9).

Written by Amy Magwood.

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