A few weeks ago I said good bye to the Youth Mission Trip participants at Arlanda airport. Taking the train back to Stockholm, I must say it felt lonely. We had shared an intense week together in Stockholm. During the days that followed I refleced on the group’s visit and what it meant for us.
Above all, we were given an insight in how the church in Japan fosters a new generation of Christians. This wasn’t an ordinary field trip, even though one purpose was to let the group learn about Equmeniakyrkan’s history. This was also a mission trip. It was a gift to the church that once sent out missionaries to their country. A church that laid the foundation to what would soon become an independent church, NSKK.
From a country, lately severely tested by natural disasters, this group of young adults came to encourage the church in Sweden. Two passages from the Bible comes to my mind:
”Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms… so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ (1 Pet 4:10-11) and ”We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith” (1 Thess 3:2).
Thank you for your testimonies, songs, fellowship, laughter and late night talks. Thank you for exciting table tennis matches, amusing magic tricks, Japanese dance, tea ceremony and calligraphy. Children, youth and adults at Skogsängskyrkan and Norrmalmskyrkan were thrilled to meet you. So was also the staff at Equmenia and Equmeniakyrkan’s headquarters when you visited them in Alvik.
The energy and faith you shared were inspiring. Your friendly approach to us opened up for the talks we had. We come from differens cultures, but we share the love for God. We learned new things in meeting you and we are thankful for that. We grow as we share.
One highlight was the a capella song during a prayer time in Salem’s almost one thousand year old church. It felt as if you picked up the hymns chanted by generations of Christians within these thick stone walls. I wish I had recorded it.
Another highlight was the way you approached the children at Skogsängskyrkan. Your joyfulness and love provided for beautiful communication even though you didn’t speek the Swedish language.
A third highlight was the gathering with the Swedish youth at Norrmalmskyrkan. It was so fun to play ”Burken”, to do music together and much more, but most of all to share stories about our faith. And your participation in the Sunday service was highly appreciated.
It was an intense week and as true Japanese you managed to squeeze in even more activities. I admire your energy. But the most beautiful memory is the fellowship we shared across language and cultural barriers, united in Christ. I can speak for all the host families when I say that we enjoyed having you as guests!
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