Adventures and Wonderlands

Do not pray for easy lives.

Pray to be stronger people.

Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers.

Pray for powers equal to your task.

Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle,

but you shall be the miracle.

~ Phillips Brooks

THERE was one chance I didn’t take. But I’m not going to talk about it now because I don’t believe that God has called us to live a boring, “cotton-candy” Christian life. I believe God wants us to experience life for ourselves and live it to the full (John 10:10).

At the beginning of this year, I have already “made up my mind” to go home for good in March. I had convinced myself that after moving seven times from Tohoku to Kansai and having lived to survive one of recorded history’s biggest earthquakes and the world’s worst nuclear disaster in Fukushima, I’m just done with Japan. Life was not working the way I had expected it to be and doors seemed to be slamming simultaneously. My job contract was expiring as well as my visa about the same time in the spring. And I guess I was just tired of living years of lonely life in Japan. もういい!

But God had other plans because I’m still here. With only several days left before my flight, I had an irresistible conviction that God wanted me to stay for at least another year. It was something too strong to shake off, it weirded me out. Then it “coincided” with a last-minute job offer that popped out of the blue. I went back on my knees and sought God in fervent prayer for days. Finally, I yielded (against my stubborn will) and signed the contract before I went to the Philippines, a week ahead of the rest of the JCF mission team.

Although I have experienced going on missions before, this particular trip had changed me so much. It made me realize how weak, limited and ordinary I am and yet God was able to use me somehow.

I wished I was stronger so I could have done my tasks without having to lose my voice and to steal naps whenever and wherever I got the chance due to extreme exhaustion. I wished I was richer so that my wallet wouldn’t hurt so bad when I do volunteer work. I wished I had more time to serve God and man and still enjoy quality time with the family I rarely see. But God kept me weak, poor and limited by time and space maybe so that I can never ever claim the glory in the things that I do. “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Now, God has given me another mountain to move. I never expected that our “little” mission field would get the world’s attention when the monster typhoon hit the Philippines last month. I was just thinking it would be “nice” to visit those people whom the missionaries seldom reach. Now it has become a matter of life and death. Everyday, people there are perishing. They are homeless, hungry and hopeless. I have really nothing much to offer but a little time, a little money and a little energy to help them ease their burden and pain. I feel like the little boy who has only five loaves of bread and two fish against thousands and thousands of hungry people. But then again, this is not about me but about what God is going to do. And perhaps this is what God wantsーto grow our faith in the realm of the “impossible”. For when we always “know” how things are going to play out, there is no need for faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)

I haven’t been in that place before but I trust that God will go before me and the rest of the team. I have recently started learning the island dialect. I’m sure God will either give me the power to learn it or He will have to give me the gift of tongues. Either way, it’s gonna be an adventure. And I will step into another wonderland.



~ Perlan Alatiit



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