Japanese Prayer Wall

Japanese Prayer Wall

Friday, October 1, 2010

From Independent to Extremely Dependent

Konnichiwa and greetings from Hatogaya City, Japan!

This week was devoted to getting settled in and taking care of the necessities like registering with the city hall as a foreign resident, setting up a bank account, and getting a cell phone.  It’s amazing how all of these simple tasks become much more difficult when tackling them in a foreign language and trying to figure out the customs and rules of another culture.  Thankfully the new missionaries are appointed a guide to help with these tasks and any other similar circumstances that will arise while we’re here. Cindy works for the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church and will be our guide, translator, and go-to person for the next 6 months.  She is already turning into a life saver!

Only a week ago, if I wanted to take care of any business I’d hop in my car and accomplish my goal in no time.  Now I am mostly illiterate, have limited means of communicating with others, and need guidance with the simplest of tasks.  I even needed help figuring out how to work my super-high-tech toilet!  This morning’s small victory is figuring out the washing machine, mostly using a guess-and-check method with pushing buttons.  More often than not, I have to ask for help with just about everything.  Where does this leave an independent woman who likes doing things for herself?

My current situation reminds me of God’s desire for us to rely on him rather than to rely on our own strength and abilities.  Yes, we can try to do things all by ourselves, but we will find ourselves exhausted, overwhelmed, and weary.  Instead, God offers his help and strength to us.  He tells us, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness” (2nd Corinthians 12:9).  When we are at our most vulnerable moments, God is there to surround us with his strength.  Sometimes God offers his help through a hug from a friend, passionate prayers offered on our behalf, or someone like Cindy to explain seemingly easy tasks.  I know that I’ll need the support and prayers from friends and family during the next 2 ½ years as well as God’s strength, but with these I will be able to accomplish great things.


  1. Hey Christine! So glad you hear that you made it to Japan safely. I can very much relate to this post...I remember my first week in China and being completely dependent on EVERYONE else...it was hard but it will get better each and everyday with all your little victories! So glad you're having this experience. :)

  2. I am just learning about these high-tech toilets. I had no idea our toilets in the states were substandard...

    We're following along and praying for you!

  3. I think the guess and check method is pretty much my philosophy for life. It's a little risky at the ATM, though.
    I hope you're having a great time reintegrating as a J-3. I also hope you don't have any PTSD-style reactions to natto or the cramped subways. This place is crazy! Thank God for Cindy.
    God's blessings! I hope to meet you soon!