Saturday, 3 August 2013

My Mission Trip to Japan

In the twelve days that The Messiah Project and Ballet Excelsior were in Japan we traveled all over the island. We held concerts in Shizuoka, Ishinomaki, Fukushima and Tokyo. Normally at each performance site, we would have a day before the show to rehearse and find out where the dancers could dance without falling off the stages. Sometimes, we would get to a performance site the day of the show and would get things set up in the morning and perform in the evening. The first show performed was at Shimizu Terrsa in Shizuoka. We were being hosted by Gordon's Equipping Ministries church. On June 29th, we rehearsed both at the church and at Shimizu Terrsa's stage. June 30th, we attended Gordon's church service before going on to rehearse one more time before the performance later that evening. The morning after the dancers traveled to a local Christian School and performed a few dance numbers for them. Then everyone hopped on a bus for the eight hour journey to Ishinomaki. On July 2nd the group went to a community center in Tomariahma, Ishinomaki where we would use their gym as a stage. The community center was located right next to a beach, and some of the group got to explore around the shore. The next day we made a quick stop at Fukushima First Baptist Church to do a show that night. Right after, we traveled all night to arrive in Tokyo at two in the morning. We didn't have anywhere to be on July 4th, so we took that day to go walking around Tokyo. Some of us went souvenir shopping, walked in a Japanese garden, and had dinner at the Tokyo Tower. On July 5th we got back to work rehearsing at Household of God Church in North Tokyo for a performance the next day. Our last show was at the Christian Academy on July 7th. We left Japan to go home the day after. This trip was an amazing experience and I will never forget it.

On our way to Ishinomaki, we passed a area that had been destroyed by the tsunami. There were buildings demolished and other buildings that had to be because they were no longer stable and safe. Beaten up, rusty cars were upturned and in lines that ran on for a very long time. I was told that the road we were traveling on had been to be covered by 45 ft of water. At Tomarihama we took a short walk down to the beach. The beach was mostly rocks and dock area. There were many mobile homes and homes that needed repair. We were walking through an area that used to be houses that had been swept right off the ground by waves of water. I didn't realize we were walking through destroyed houses until someone pointed out the tiny wall of bricks. Our hearts went out to Japan as we were told what the people had been through. They so needed to see God's love, and as I watched people's reactions toward Savior I knew God had everything planned out so that good would come out of the terror some of the people had faced. I continue to pray for the people of Japan. Praying for the pain and suffering to end. Praying that one day, Jesus will become the center of Japan.

I saw God work in massive ways everywhere we went. Japan was everything I hoped and dreamed it would be, and so much more than I ever could have imagined. My love for Japan grew tremendously as I saw, met and talked with the people there. The Christians love for God was astounding. There was one church service that I attended where I was close to tears as I saw the people in the Japanese church just so overpowered by the Holy Spirit. I could only stand in the crowd with my mouth open as I was taking everything in. They were so faithful, joyful, and hopeful for God, someday, to be the center of Japan. I made so many new friends, with the people in the choir as well as the people in the churches. I was truly honored to spend time with all of them. I will never forget the kindness and love I was shown. The Messiah Project and Excelsior brought the powerful message of the gospel with great success. The last show we performed was very special for me, because I had extended family coming to see it. Even though my family didn't speak English, they brought a friend along who acted as our translator. I asked them before the show if they were Christians and they told me they were “sort of.” I prayed for them as the show went on. I hope one day they will be saved and learn who God really is.

Every show went wonderfully. Sometimes the rehearsal before the show would be very rough and we would begin to think it wouldn't be good enough, but every time the show started, God would calm and strengthen the performers. He never failed to give us everything we needed. He never failed to reassure me that I was important as well. Even though I was not performing in the show, I tried to help with preparations for the show and backstage during the show as much as I could. Some times I would start to feel like I was there for no reason, or worse, in the way. Before I could get upset, or sad, I would suddenly be told that they were glad I was with them. They kept telling me that I had a place on the trip for a reason and God had an important plan for me. They told me I was a blessing, but I was truly the blessed one to have such wonderful friends and an amazing God looking out for me. I still can't believe that I was able to go and help minister to Japan. I am very restless, feeling like I need to travel, and I couldn't think of a better way to travel the world than sharing God's gospel with Japan.