New Beginnings

In 2015, I took trip to Shizuoka, Japan with Let’s Start Talking, an organization that sends people around the world to spread the gospel using free English lessons. Every day, I would meet with several English students, of varying ages, and sit down with them and an easy-to-read version of the Bible. While this was an incredibly enjoyable experience, after 6-8 hours a day of working with English students, it could be quite exhausting. Still, lying in bed at night, listening to the bugs chirp in the trees outside, I would think about what I had done that day. I had worked for God, I had helped people, and knowing that was a good feeling. I felt as though I had fulfilled my purpose that day. I felt like I had truly used my talents to serve God.

On March 22, 2017 I climbed on board an airplane bound for Okayama, Japan. Since I’d come back from Shizuoka, I’d been dreaming of returning to Japan. Through mutual friends, I’d met Brent and Sandy Rogers, who run an English school in the small town of Kojima. They invited me to come and work with them as a missionary. On March 22, I left to begin a survey trip to see Kojima, to meet the people there, and to see what kind of work I might be able to do there.

As of today, I’ve been in Kojima almost a week. I’ve worshiped with the Christians here, sat in on English classes, Bible classes, and explored Kojima. I’ve gotten to know Brent and Sandy better as well as another English teacher working with them named Ashley. Being here, I’m reminded of why I’ve wanted to come back for so long. I’m reminded of why I love Japan and want to be here so badly. I also see the work that needs to be done.

Today, between 1 and 2 percent of the Japanese population are Christians. It hurts me that the place I love so much doesn’t know the God I love so much. When I think about coming to Japan, I think about two things: The first is Luke 12:48, “To those who have been given much, much will be expected.” I have been greatly¬†blessed in my life. I grew up in luxury. I was never hungry, I always had nice clothes, and my parents taught me about God. I want to use those blessings to help others. The second thing is the Parable of the Talents. I love history, I love learning about culture, I love studying language. I believe those are my talents. I want to use those talents here in Japan to serve God.

I have decided, God willing, I will return to Kojima in September to begin work as a missionary. I am incredibly excited to begin this new chapter of my life. To be able to do the work here, I am going to do something I am not so great at, and that is ask for help. From today until I leave in September, I will be working intensely to raise funds. My friends, family, and church family have all been a tremendous encouragement and help to me. I know that God will bless this work, and I trust Him. I hope if you’re reading this you will consider helping me, either financially or with your prayers.

I will be updating this blog on a weekly basis, letting everyone know how the work is going. I want to show you, my friends, family, and supporters, how my preparations are going, and eventually, when I return to Kojima in September, how the work is going and how your support is helping the people of Japan.

I’m so very excited to begin this journey with all of you and with Christ.

-Kaleb McDowd

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