Planned Ambiguity

Author: Michael Babienco

March 2023

“What will you do once you get to Japan?”

We are often asked this question by many who want to know how we will meet and minister to the Japanese people. The end goal for the project is planting a church that plants churches and discipling people towards relationships with Jesus. All AFM projects share this goal, but there are many different ways to achieve it. How will we reach that goal in Japan? The answer is that we do not quite know— yet!

Our first task after moving to Japan will be to study the language full-time via a language school, a private tutor, or our Japanese friends. Doing so will help us learn grammar, vocabulary, and all the ins and outs of the Japanese language. Without being able to read, write, and communicate, how will we be able to form deeper relationships with our friends and point them to Jesus ?

Our second task will be to study the religion, culture, stories and other elements that make up the Japanese worldview. This analysis will give us insight into the pieces of their culture that align with the Christian worldview, the pieces that don’t quite match up and those that directly contradict Scripture. Without this critical understanding — an essential piece of the puzzle — it will make it hard for us to clearly explain biblical concepts.

Only when we acquire these two critical pieces of knowledge — language and worldview — will we be able to visualize how we can effectively minister to the Japanese people. Perhaps ministry will look like creating Bible study materials, sharing the health message, or something else. Until we obtain these tools, our in-country evangelism path remains a planned ambiguity.

Please keep us in prayer as we continue learning about the Japanese worldview and discover more pieces of God’s plan for the Japan project.