In October of 2008 I moved to New York City after graduation as many young professionals do each year. With high hopes of establishing a career as a buyer, I invested my time, energy, and efforts into my job. It was a year (to the exact date) after being in the city that I read Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller. I was overwhelmed with the reality that my career had slowly taken God’s place in my heart. Through a lot of personal and corporate prayer, through vulnerable accountability, and through the work of His grace, I have been humbled and continually reminded of his rightful and satisfying headship in my life.
This past April, God called me to Tokyo as part of a of 4 member team from Redeemer to serve a new church that was started with assistance from Redeemer City to City (CTC). Our main objective for the trip was to assist two year old church plant, Grace City Church Tokyo, through outreach and fellowship. The church is focused on providing relevant answers from a gospel centered perspective. Issues include the meaning of work, relationships, stewardship of money and social justice.
Throughout the week we spent time alongside Pastor Fukuda, a trainee and grantee of CTC, and the de Boos, a Dutch missionary family, visiting small groups each day after work, passing out food to the homeless, and scheduling lunch dates with members of Grace City. These conversations opened my eyes to the challenges these Christians face in a country where Christianity is in a minority. I was paired up with a few women in the congregation that spoke candidly about their struggles with keeping a work-life balance, and they also openly shared with me about the scarcity of men within their faith and the challenge that poses in finding a mate.
These conversations opened my eyes to the challenges these Christians face in a country where Christianity is in a minority.
It’s been 7 months and there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about my experience in Tokyo and the people of Grace City. Three new friends have visited New York City since our trip and I continue to email with one of them on a weekly basis as we share our praises and prayers 7,000 miles away. I’ve also been able to maintain a relationship with the missionary family and they have been a huge source of encouragement to me over the past few months. I tell them all the time about how I never thought that I could love people so much that I’ve only been with for a week.
Only God can build the bridges of friendship, of faith and career and, ultimately, transform His purpose and place in all areas of my life. I’m grateful that CTC opened the door for these new friendships.