A House for the Kingdom

Tommy wanted to GO, but God has him living in Southern California, practicing hospitality. What does missions involvement look like for him now? And what does hospitality have to do with anything?

I’ve been interested in missions ever since I was in high school and have gone on various short-term trips to Mexico, the Middle East, East Asia, and most recently to Japan with my church. I see myself as a mobilizer and currently serve as a coordinator for a Perspectives class, volunteer with OMF International, host prayer meetings for the WCF Torrance group, and most recently have come on to serve on the Board for World Christian Fellowship.

One of my biggest “ministries” revolves around the house the Lord blessed me with. I am the steward of the house… His house. My name may be on the title, but it rightfully belongs to Him. This shift in ownership has shaped my perspective of the house and its purpose. I’ve hosted dinner parties, movie nights, poker games, sharing times, prayer meetings, etc. I love bringing people together, and I hope I’ve blessed others as much as I’ve been blessed by them.

Blessed to be a blessing

In Genesis 12:1-3, God tells Abram that he will be blessed in order to be a blessing to the nations, not for comfort or personal gain, but for His kingdom. I purchased the house with that in mind – to be a better blessing. God has not only used this space to host meetings, but to house missionaries, family, and friends and to provide a place of rest and refreshing. And I get to enjoy fellowship with others and hear what God is doing in the lives of people here at home and all over the world. I get to participate in what He is doing to call His Church to His purposes. It’s a real blessing for me to use the house this way, and I thank God for the opportunities He’s given me.

“Where I have sent you”

The funny thing is that I never set out to be a homeowner. When I graduated in 2004 with a master’s degree, I fully expected to be on the field in four years and never gave homeownership a second thought. After  passing my “four year goal” and no closer to going overseas, I began to wonder what He had planned for me.

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.’”
– Jeremiah 29:4-7 (ESV)

The Lord spoke to me: stop looking so far ahead that I ignore the ministry around me. I began to understand that ministry happens in the present through the relationships around me. Should I really desire to go overseas, it would serve me well to learn to minister here where I know the language and the culture.

For me, the next step is to be intentional with my neighbors. Maybe I’ll host a dinner once a month to get to know them. After all, most people won’t pass on free dinner. I’ve already had some neighbors over for poker, and I hope to continue strengthening those relationships.

I thank God for the opportunities He’s given me, and I encourage everyone to ask God how you can be a blessing where you’re at, whether you see yourself going overseas in the future or not. May we be His hands and feet to the ends of the earth… AND here at home!

Tommy

A Calling in the works

I Keep Moving On

God has had a calling for Andy since before she knew Him. She’s seen glimpses of it throughout her life, but couldn’t see how it could all work together until now.

A simple invitation to church from a friend has made all the difference in my life. At the age of 6 I began attending church with my family, and at 8 I gave my life to the Lord. You never know what might come from one small invitation.

Once a month at church, missionaries shared their stories with the congregation, and I always looked forward to these “missions moments.” I heard inspiring testimonies, heart-breaking ones, and other stories that helped me understand that missionaries are real people with real human trials. Occasionally my mom would ask how I felt after the sharing. I’d respond, “it’s sad; it makes me want to do something.” How could so few people in Japan know about Jesus?! Less than 0.2%! What about China? What about the orphans in the home we support in Thailand? I wondered how we could better support them and be part of their ministry.  I even bought one of those children’s daily prayer books where you pray for one people group a day. It was a BIG book.

Like any typical middle school pre-teen , I was wrapped up with my own life. When my youth pastor, Scott, asked me to join the Mexico short-term team that year, I said “No way! I don’t know anything about the bible and I don’t want to do church for a whole week!” Because the team’s ministry was focused on medical care, and because my dad is a medical professional, they really wanted me to go so that my father might go, too. After much convincing (and irritation), I eventually gave in. Since then, I have participated with this ministry at least five times, and both my parents have become leaders in this ministry.

Each summer in high school I joined the Mexico ministry team, but when I graduated, I envisioned a summer with larger prospects and went to Thailand. After I came back that summer, I told my parents I really wanted to go back as a missionary, working in radio ministry and studying language for two years. As Asian Americans, we have certain life expectations, e.g., going to college, getting a well-paying career/job, marrying and having a family. I call this the “Asian-American dream,” and clearly, I was not on that path. My parents, as well as many “uncles” and “aunties” from my church family took a lot of time explaining how a college degree could and would greatly benefit my life and ministry (for this I am very thankful). Little did I know how crucial this would be.

After community college, I transferred to BIOLA University in southern California. My time at BIOLA was one of the largest blessings of my life. Not only was I able to grow through the challenges of studying psychology and living away from home, but I grew ten times in my knowledge of the Word of God. In my final semester, a friend brought the up the opportunity to co-lead a team of BIOLA students to Japan. Joy and excitement filled my heart. Japan had been on my heart since first hearing the stories from our missionaries as a child, so I did not need much convincing. Leading this team was a challenge and a blessing at the same time. Working to fulfill the requirements and guidelines of both BIOLA University and our partner mission organizations (we chose OMF International) was very difficult and yet tremendously rewarding.

I prayed long and hard that God would use this mission trip to reveal to me his calling to serve the Japanese as a long-term worker. I came back from this 7-week trip inspired but confused; it just didn’t seem like God was calling me at that time to be a missionary in Japan. I spent the next six months working in an optometry office as an administrator, pondering where God might be taking me.

I sought opportunities to serve. I considered Vietnam, anti-human trafficking movements, and even English teaching abroad. I struggled to see where God could match my heart for East Asia’s people, my experiences at BIOLA, and my skills in administration and organization. I was still being mentored by OMF International’s follow-up coordinator (a regular part of their short term mission program), and as I spoke with her about potential job opportunities,  but they did not match my desire to serve East Asia’s peoples nor my focus on evangelism. She told me, “those are some big ‘buts’ Andy.”  She then went on to challenge me to consider a position with OMF International. This new position is only now being created, and it would require me to raise support (I’ll be fully relying on partners for financial provision) and to relocate to Colorado.  But I’ve never lived outside of California, and I’ve grown up around or within the Asian-American sub-culture, and I’ve been taught to be independent. So coming to terms with those two facts has been a huge challenge.

I am so glad to say that I am at 70% support and will be moving, hopefully, in September to be OMF International’s School Partnerships Coordinator. I will be working with private Christian universities (like BIOLA!), seminaries, and campus fellowships, etc. to create partnerships that help get students involved in missions. If I can mobilize just two people to East Asia as long-term workers, I’ll have increased my impact by 100%. If I can help get students involved in supporting, sending, praying, learning, and going on short-term mission trips, I’ll have multiplied my impact even further. It is these hopeful prospects that inspire and encourage me.

I was told during my application process, “we wouldn’t be creating this position if we were not serious about reaching East Asia’s people for Christ.” OMF International is serious about reaching East Asia’s people for the glory of our God. And so am I.

To continue journeying with Andy, follow her blog whatsupandymo.com
If you’d like to support Andy’s ministry through prayer or finances, please visit omf.org/us/partner

Andy Morimoto

Photo by Nathan Chang