Saturday, May 13, 2006

Prayer Requests 5-13-06

Excited and scared today. I found a bunch of boxes and have started packing, packing. Why do I have so much stuff? At least I can throw/give a lot of it away.

  1. Praise God that we are going to Japan. After so many years of waiting and longing for a job and a ministry, it is finally here.
  2. Pray that I will be wise in sorting through my stuff and the things I give away go to people who need them. That God will be glorified even in this.
  3. Friends to help me pack, find boxes and run errands these next few weeks. (I have some already, but need more)
  4. Some guys to take heavy stuff downstairs and away.
  5. The "right" realtor/management agent to handle my condo. Wisdom in knowing whether to sell, rent or combo of both.
  6. God to work in the hearts of the car dealership so I can give my car back and pay a penalty rather than voluntarily surrender it (affects credit rating almost like a repossession and not a good testimony)
  7. Calm, patience -- not two of my natural traits
  8. That I will be willing to lean on God, remember to turn to Him when I get nervous or overwhelmed
  9. Pray for Bonnie. She has a good attitude, but this is a big thing for her. She is watching her stuff go away and is losing all her friends and everything she knows. I can see God's peace settling over her. I'm so grateful for that.
  10. Pray for the Crafts, Bonnie's adopted grandparents. Many of you know them and you know what a knife this is in their hearts right now.
  11. Pray with me against the enemy who likes to remind me of all the things I didn't like about Japan and bring up seemingly insurmountable obstacles and all of my insecurities.
  12. Money, money, money. Just pray. God will move people to give. I am not being disingenuous. I am not asking YOU to give (or give more). But we need more monthly support for one year and definitely more one-time money. It doesn't even have to come from people. It could come through the sale of our stuff (I am not selling all the household goods because it's not a good use of my time, but I do have some nice items that I will consign) or other ways, but that is my biggest worry right now. I have no savings whatsoever and I do have some debt that has accumulated over the lean years.

Our God is an awesome God

He reigns from heaven above

With wisdom, power and love

Our God is an awesome God

Friday, May 12, 2006

I can't breathe

June 28th

That's the date. Had a meeting with my church and Raj this morning and we ARE going to Japan. I am going to get passports next week and put my house and car on the market. This is where the rubber hits the road.

I MUST trust that God will provide.

But I am SCARED! Good thing greater people than I have been in the same situation. Hudson Taylor the founder of China Inland Mission (now known as Overseas Missionary Fellowship, I think) said, "God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply."

I have tried to go about this in God's way. I'm sure it is God's work. So now I look for God's supply. Wish it was a easy to do as it is to WRITE! After my first support letter, I got pledges of about $150 per month and $500 one-time with more people saying they would make decisions when I had made MY decision. My church feels this is good enough to go on. It scares me, frankly. But, you know what? Even what I have now is more than I've made here in the U.S. for quite a while! So, it's not like I'm leaving a sure thing for a risky thing. :)

My faith is very, very small -- but it maybe is the size of a mustard seed. Another quote from Hudson: "God isn't looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him." I hope that's true. I have been willing to follow Him to Asia for several years now. Heck, I was willing to follow Him the first time He asked me if I wanted to go.

I'm scared, but I'm learning to throw that stuff on God right away. I can't tell you how many times in the past few weeks I have prayed these two prayers over and over:
1. God help me!
2. Satan get away from me!

Reminds me of another quote by Taylor: "God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him." I have always been weak and feeble, but haven't been good at leaning on Him. I have resisted that and it is still my tendancy. What a strange person for God to send as a missionary. I am not one of great faith. I am not a prayer warrier. I am not one who is "in love" with God. But I am a willing follower with an unquenchable desire to do "missions" in Japan. God surely chooses stange people, doesn't He?

But one thing I do have in my favor (if there is such a thing in a situation like this!) is that I believe God is BIG. Another famous missionary, William Carey, who worked in India, said "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God." That is a theme that has come out of my prayers the past two weeks. Either God is big or He isn't. If He is God and He is big then getting me to Japan is a small thing for Him. I want to see a big God. That is what I long for.

So I am going forward, but it is going to take a BIG God.

Please pray for the following major things right now:

  • That God would provide the monthly support and one-time finances we need. This is mostly for things to be comfortable for Bonnie the first year. I could live on very little in Japan and have done so, but it's harder with a child.
  • If there are more people I should approach for support, that God will give me wisdom about that.
  • That I can liquidate my car and condo (this seems impossible to me)
  • That I can get my house packed up (I will need help from people on this)
  • That God will continue to reassure Bonnie about the move (and me, too, for that matter)


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What motivates me

If God calls you to be a missionary, don’t stoop to be a king.
Jordan Grooms
I have but one candle of life to burn,
and I would rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness
than in a land flooded with light
John Keith Falconer
Sympathy is no substitute for action.
David Livingstone, missionary to Africa
We talk of the Second Coming;
half the world has never heard of the first.
Oswald J. Smith
There is nothing in the world or the Church --
except the church's disobedience --
to render the evangelization of the world
in this generation an impossibility.
Robert Speer, leader in Student Volunteer Movement
When James Calvert went out as a missionary
to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands,
the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying,
"You will lose your life and the lives of those with you
if you go among such savages."
To that, Calvert replied, "We died before we came here."
Every man is a missionary,
now and forever,
for good or for evil,
whether he intends or designs it or not.
He may be a blot
radiating his dark influence outward
to the very circumference of society,
or he may be a blessing
spreading benediction
over the length and breadth of the world.
Thomas Chalmers
Lost people matter to God,
and so they must matter to us.
Keith Wright

Why we are going to Japan

I recently created a powerpoint presentation to explain why we are going to Japan as missionaries and why this trip is different from the simple pleaseure trip we took before. I have modified the power point for this blog. What are the spiritual needs of Japan? If you want to know more, read on . . .

When you think of Japan, what comes to mind?

The graceful curves of a Tori shrine?
A colorful kimono draped over a white-faced girl?
Majestic Mt. Fuji crowned in white?

When I think of Japan, I see all these things.
But I also see an extremely wealthy, consumer-driven nation where work defines the meaning of life and ancestors are gods.

In a nation teeming with 127 million people, less than 1 percent of them are Christians.
I saw this for myself when I lived in Japan from 1995-2001.
The first year I was there, I was telling the children in my classes about Christmas. “Who’s birthday is on Christmas,” I asked the group of 8-to-10-year olds. Expecting the obvious answer, I could hardly disguise my shock when I heard their answer.
“Santa Claus,” they replied confidently.
I took quick surveys in my classes and out of the 100 or more students I had contact with weekly, only a handful had ever heard of Jesus, much less knew that Christmas was the celebration of His birth.
“Yesu Kuristo” rang a bell with the few children who had gone to the local Catholic school.
Otherwise, I faced bewilderment.
“Kuristo” and “Kurisumas” I pointed out to them the similarity. Slowly the light began to dawn.
That year I found a book at the local Catholic bookstore (the only place in my small town that had anything Christian at all) that told the story of Christmas in Japanese. We got out paper and crayons and made a manger scene for the wall. I got candles and we lit them, while I got our Japanese school manager to read the story to them in Japanese. Then we sang silent night
and had Christmas cookies. One hundred more Japanese knew about Jesus that Christmas.

Japan is one of the hardest mission fields in the world today. recently polled its members about their religious belifs. “Religion clearly seems to be rather unimportant in Japanese daily life,” they concluded.
When asked what religion they affiliate with, 52 percent of those surveyed said, “none.” Forty-seven percent chose Buddhism or Shintoism (or both). Although 11 percent indicated they feel closest to Christianity, that doesn’t mean they are believers since most participants who did affiliate with a religion chose more than one (which accounts for the total of more than 100 percent) and only 16 percent of those surveyed admitted to being religious at all. Half of those surveyed said religion had no importance in their daily life. In total, two thirds visit shrines, temples or churches a few times or once per year. Only about 6 percent visit religious buildings weekly or even more frequently.

Most religious rites in Japan originate from a variety of religions. People have Shinto marriages, celebrate Christmas, and hold Buddhist funerals, Japanese do not adhere to one religion. But there is a common religious base in Japan. That is the religion of "family", in other words, ancestor worship.
According to, if there is any thought to life after death at all, the aim of the average Japanese person is to become an “ancestor spirit” by receiving the religious rites from his/her descendants. If there is a “religion of Japan” this is it.
But recently, due to a high rate of divorce, a decrease in the number of children, and an increase of nuclear families, the "family" system has gradually been disrupted. This means that ties to ancestors are being lost and the religious base has radically broken down. Now is a time of radical change.

Freedom of religion is allowed in the Japanese constitution, but traditional and modern culture combine to form a tremendous barrier to the gospel. Japan is one of the least evangelized countries in Asia. Japan is coping with rapid social change and insecurity. Japan prides itself on peace but shocking events like the Great Hanshin Earthquake in Kobe and the terrorist attack in a Tokyo subway station have rocked Japanese security. In a spiritual sense, Japan is a very needy nation.

This is where I feel God wants me and Bonnie to go and here’s why:
I lived there for six years and saw a fruitful ministry even though I wasn’t there in a ministry capacity
God has planted a love for Asian people in my heart.
About three years ago, God began calling me to take the gospel to people in Asia.
Working for God in Japan will teach Bonnie the spiritual lessons she needs to learn if she is going to do great things for His kingdom.

The power point presentation goes on about things you've heard before. I hope this explains a bit more what you are participating in by joining us in this work in The Land of the Rising Sun. IF you would like to see the powerpoint, I'd love to send it to you, just let me know. Send an e-mail to:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Support letter

I sent the following letter to my friends and family today and wanted to post it here as well, for the record. :) If you received it already, just delete it. Sorry for the double mailing.


Most of you are aware that Bonnie and I are seriously considering going to Japan for one to three years as English teachers/missionaries. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know a lot of details, but for those who haven’t, I have decided that we will move forward with plans to go to Japan until God closes the doors. The next step is gauging what type of support we might have since we can’t do this alone. Please look over the areas below and let me know if you feel you can support us and in what way. I do not want to put any pressure on anyone, but believe that God will move people to give out of the resources He has provided. Maybe this is His way of making sure we don’t go to Japan and try to do it all ourselves. Also, going to Japan will have more meaning for me if you share it with us – by praying, by communicating, by giving your time and even financially. Bonnie and I may be the ones going to Japan and touching the Japanese people physically, but you can be involved in God’s work in Japan, too, through us. Won’t you join us?

Come and join the reapers
All the kingdom seekers
Laying down your life to
Find it once again
Come and join the harvest
Help to light the darkness
For the Lord is calling
Faithful men
- Twila Paris

If you want to be a part of the harvest in Japan, please talk to the Lord about it and if He leads you to get involved in a specific way, would you let me know so I can make
plans to move forward? If I don’t hear from people, I will take it as a closed door. Please don’t do anything unless you believe God is leading you to do it. I know He can provide all we need, but I want it to be His way, not in my way. Just so you know, I will be endorsed by my church – either officially “sent” as a missionary or more informally “blessed” as a tentmaker. That will be determined when Raj meets with some guys in my church next week. Any money you give will be tax deductible and will be channeled either through my church or Agape English Language Institute (Raj’s school). Expenditures will be approved by someone from one of those organizations so there will be accountability.

I don’t want to offend anyone or “bug” anyone so if I don’t hear from you, I will remove you from my mailing list so make sure you respond to that question. I would like a response as soon as you can make it since my time is short (Raj wants us to leave in June!) so keep that in mind. Thanks for standing with us the past few years as I pursue my dream of missions in Asia. I hope this is “it” but if not, I will keep pursuing it!

To find out more about what we are doing visit these links:

My blog

The English School in Japan

Agape English Language Institute

Power Point presentation
I prepared a quick powerpoint presentation on the need for missions in Japan. If you would like to see it, let me know and I’ll e-mail it to you.

Will you look over the areas below and prayerfully consider what, if anything, God may be leading you to do to be a part of missions in Japan? Please hit reply and let me know what God is putting on your heart. I am thrilled to have people like you as my partners in this ministry! If you can give me an indication of your level of commitment, that would be great as well!


If you want to remain on my mailing list, please hit reply and let me know.

Will you pray for us regularly? I will continue my blog and will make sure it gets sent to you when it’s updated. If you are on the yahoogroups distribution list for the blog, let me know so I won’t send it to you twice.

Can you send us care packages from the United States (videos, music, food, English books, etc.) a few times per year?
I also need help from people in Rock Hill with
taking stuff to Goodwill and consignment shops
finding boxes
taking stuff to the post office
using your contacts to help find a buyer/renter for my condo and my car


One Time Gift
This would help with expenses in getting to Japan (shipping personal items, storage space in the U.S., packing and moving expenses.)I don’t know our total need at this time, but I’ve been unemployed or underemployed for a long time and have no savings at all (in fact, my church has been giving us money every month since December!). Agape pays for our plane tickets to Japan, which is good. But we need a return ticket before Japan will let us into the country. Also, I won’t be able to get a salary until my working visa comes in. The school will pay our room and board while we are volunteers, but there will be some other expenses for those first few months. If we somehow get more money than we need, it can be applied to our monthly support (see below) or spent on materials for the school. I would think that if we received even several thousand dollars, it could be used.

Monthly Support for One Year
The biggest need right now is monthly support for about a year. Currently the school is expanding and that is why they are adding another teacher. But the salary is based on the needs of a single person, not a mom. J I will need money to provide Bonnie adequate childcare while I’m working and to supplement the difference between a single and two people (health insurance, food, visas, transportation expenses in Japan like train tickets, etc.) As students are added, the school will be able to raise my salary until it is adequate for our needs. It’s impossible to know the future, but the plan is that I will only need this support for a year. In any case, that is all you need to commit to at this time. After a year, we will re-evaluate our needs and if we stay in Japan, we will solicit long-term support through traditional methods. It is critical that I know about how much monthly support will come in so if you are comfortable, I really need to know about how much you plan to give. I don’t know the total need yet, but we are thinking it will be about $500 per month (most missionaries in Japan need $6,000 per month or more so our needs are modest). This means that even if you can give $10 or $20, it will go a long way.

Please remember that this is all speculative at this point. I am simply trying to gauge if there is enough support to move forward. Thanks for reading this far and for your love and support for us, not only in this venture, but in our lives. We love you very much. Please pray for us.

Karyn and Bonnie

Sunday, May 07, 2006


I have been in utter turmoil for the past few days. Unable to make a decision. I would even test it out to see if I had peace. :) Iwould say, "Yes I'm going" and wait to see if I had peace. Then I would say, "No, I'm staying" and wait. Guess what? I never got peace at all!!!!!

One of the guys from my church, who has been guiding/listening to me for several months now, asked me, "What does Karyn want to do?" Last night, I wrote to them both and told them what Karyn wants and at the end I told them I was NOT going.

But after that, I saw myself in Kurashiki. I saw myself working with the students. I saw Bonnie going to school happy. I saw myself building relationships and gently showing people the God I know. What was this? Somehow, telling them I didn't want to go, freed me to go!

But this morning I still wasn't sure. Then I got this e-mail from my friend Violette (the TEAM missionary) this morning:

Violette wrote: One time I was worried about a decision I had to make. Finally I was able to commit it to God and just expect Him to answer. Then I heard His still small voice telling me what to do, when I wasn't even expecting it. It was while I was working on something. But I felt Him telling me the answer and then I could go forward in confidence.

I learned that worrying, fretting, fearing prevents/hinders you from hearing God. Believing, trusting, expecting prepares you to hear God. It seems worry and fear clutter your mind - so you can't hear! Faith and trust clears your mind - so you can hear!

I read somewhere that worry replaces God on center stage of your life.
Confess it, and put God back on center stage through faith. I like this definition of faith - faith is expecting God to work.

Well, I pray that God will give you faith that He WILL guide you! It would be fun to have you back!

That is where I’ve been for days. After getting this e-mail, I recognized myself. I threw myself on my bed, crying and said, “Daddy, tell me what to do.” And I felt a peace envelope me.

Here is what the new, confident, unafraid Karyn wants:

Karyn wants what God wants.
Karyn wants meaning and purpose in her life no matter where God sends (or keeps me)
Karyn wants what is best for Bonnie (that means eternally best, not necessarily best here on earth).

And finally, Karyn wants to make an informed decision.

So this is what I NEED to do in order to make this decision and this is what I am going to do:

Send an e-mail to my friends/family telling them about the need in Japan and our desire to work for God there and ask if they are willing to support us – with prayer, with their hands (for people in Rock Hill who can help us move) and financially. I won’t ask for a pledge or commitment, but some idea of what they feel led to give. I need to know that before I can decide to go because I simply can’t do it on my own.

Talk to Rachel (the girl currently doing the job) and get some potential childcare lined up (she gave me at least 10 definate possibilities, including a 24 hour daycare center that Agape goes to to teach English and we may be able to work out a deal with them).

Talk to the Japan education expert about what the law is in Japan regarding homeschooling, etc. so I know what I am required to do.

Talk to Raj and get something definate from him about what will happen if my car/condo doesn’t sell/rent/lease before I leave.

If I get the right answers to the above, I will go to Japan. If I don't, then it will be a closed door. Maybe God wasn't telling me what HIS WILL is because the answer was "Not yet. I gave you a mind to make an informed decision. A foolish man presumes upon God. A wise man is prudent and knows what he is getting into before rushing ahead like a fool. "

When I said I didn't want to go, it was out of fear. My dream is the same now as it has been for years -- to go overseas and serve God as a missionary. What in the world was I thinking?

This is MY DECISION. I am totally confident with it.

I am going to Japan IF

  • I get the money I need
  • I can get quality childcare for Bonnie
  • I have aPLAN for my home and car if they are not sold/leased/rented before I leave
  • People here in Rock Hill will help me pack and get it all done

    If not, that is a closed door.