That was what Elliott Snuggs of Asian Access advised after the tsunami hit Japan in 2011. Though it was difficult seeing other churches heading out to the devastated Tohoku region, we waited.
On May 7-29, we will embark on the biggest surge of ministry overseas in recent memory. And it all came about by waiting.
Last September, we sent out our worship pastor Ian Nagata to roam the land of Japan to discern his long-term ministry there. A few weeks later, we commissioned Garrett Inouye for a two-year term with Asian Access as a church planting associate in the Tohoku region.
The Prayer Council had been praying for a missions trip where they could train up churches in prayer ministry. They were invited by Asian Access to do prayer ministry at their annual staff and missionary retreat in Japan this year. However, Pastor Ron was hesitant about committing until they heard who the speaker was going to be.
When Pastor Cory was asked by Asian Access to speak at their retreat, he was open yet reluctant, because of his reluctance to travel. When he heard members of the Prayer Council were invited, he knew God may be calling him and his wife Reine to Japan.
Elliott had asked me if I wanted to attend the retreat but I saw no reason to, until I found out Pastor Cory, Auntie Reine and members of the Prayer Council were going. I asked Pastor Ron if I could be an honorary Prayer Council member and assist in their ministry, as I already made a promise to Ian and Garrett that I would visit them within their first six months in Japan.
After the retreat, Pastor Cory will be speaking to various groups of pastors in the Tohoku region. This came about due to the impactful time of sharing he had with a visiting group of pastors from Japan on the day Garrett was commissioned. The prayer team will train churches in the Tohouku region in prayer ministry. I will spend a week with Garrett and pay for my family to come join me to see Garrett’s church and thank the individuals and families that have supported him. We will visit Kelly’s family in Nagoya during the following week and then head to Tokyo on the weekend to visit Ian, his church and also thank the individuals and families that have supported him.
I believe it is because we waited, that God has allowed us to embark on ministries with a longer projected impact than if we had simply responded right after the tsunami. We are heading into the Tohoku region when all the major relief organizations have pulled out.
Even prior to the tsunami, our ministry in Japan had grown dormant to the point where people were questioning whether we were even called to Japan. But our ministry in Japan is not done.
God just wanted us to wait for such a time as this.