Interview with My Twin Brother (Part 1)

[DSC_0521.JPG]Many of you know that I have a twin brother who serves as a missionary in Japan.  He is married to his beautiful wife, Maki, and they have 2 little boys, Noah and Taka.  I thought it would be fun to do an interview with Mark so you can get to know more about his ministry in Japan.  I encourage you to ask Mark a question or give him a word of encouragement in the comments section below ... How did God lead you to become a missionary, specifically in Japan?

Divine intervention.  No, seriously, I wouldn't be where I am today without some profound things happening in my life - without God working powerfully.  Growing up, I never dreamed of living overseas or becoming a missionary.  I wasn't interested in "manga" or Japanese culture whatsoever.  However, as God changed my heart and life during college, and as I grew in Him and in my knowledge of His will as revealed in the Bible, I wanted to share that with others.  God's heart for the nations, and the need here, was something I could not get around.  God finally showed me that in following Him, wherever He would lead, would be the place of greatest blessing and joy.  My specific calling came while reading and praying over Isaiah 58:10-12 back in 2002.

What does a typical week of ministry look like for you?

 After coming to Japan I realized that I had an overly romantic view of the situation.  Being a missionary means that my aim is to bring the gospel to a lesser reached area of the world.  The strategies and means we use differ from place to place, but really all Christians are called to do the same work where they are placed.

The particular strategy that God has called us to is in building up the foundations of the next generation (see Isaiah 58:10-12).  I spend most of my weekdays at our bilingual Christian school where I teach 2nd-5th graders about God and the gospel through science, social studies and English classes.  About 70% of these kids are not from Christian homes.  The rest of the day I spend in preparation for Sundays, where I lead worship, teach ESL classes, preach, and teach Sunday school.  (Obviously I don't do all of these every Sunday!) We also enjoy spending time with individuals at our home who are seeking, such as college students we meet at church.  We also try to make significant time with our two boys.  We see them as our main investment for the future of Japan.

What are the biggest cultural differences between the U.S. and Japan?  Give us a funny example too!

Where to start!  I think these two cultures may be two of the most different cultures on the planet!  I think most Americans don't believe that, since outwardly Japanese seem quite westernized, but it is true.  Here is just one huge difference:  Japanese value politeness more than friendliness, and seriousness more than frankness or humor.  America is the exact opposite!  (Which is maybe why you asked the question the way you did, Doug! : )

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Look for Part 2 of this interview tomorrow.  Until then, check out Mark's blog here.