April 24, 2022

Young Woman On a Mission in Hiroshima

                It was new to me, years ago – an observation by John Piper – that worship is the goal of missions. I began to see missions in a new light. The meaning is obvious. Our purpose for spreading the good news of the gospel is to motivate people to worship God. This was the basic theme of Piper’s book, Let the Nations Be Glad!

                When my friend Rebecca Jackson announced that she was going to Hiroshima “to worship over Japan,” I was surprised to find that Piper’s idea is interwoven with her calling to return to Asia as a “missionary.” Her response to God’s call to go to Japan is undergirded by these inspiring words from Piper’s book: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more … Worship is the fuel and goal of missions.”

                I have known Rebecca since she was a little girl since her parents, Jim and Melinda Jackson, are dear friends of mine. I was one of their pastors while Rebecca was growing up in Opelika, Alabama. It was my privilege to pray for Rebecca when she answered God’s call to go to China and love people into the Kingdom while teaching English. Her focus there was reaching college-age students interested in the gospel and encouraging students who were already believers.

Now, with another degree from Auburn University, Rebecca has moved to Japan to love Japanese students into a vital walk with Christ. A daring young woman, only 32 years old, on a mission for Christ! Brave enough to travel alone from Alabama to Japan in obedience to God. A sterling example of God at work in a world focused daily on the indescribable brutality of Vladimir Putin and the suffering of millions of innocent people in Ukraine! Her story invites us to do more than wring our hands and complain; we can unite with people like Rebecca in worshipping God and loving people into the Kingdom!

When I invited Rebecca to share her motivation for moving alone to faraway Hiroshima, her response revealed her secret weapon: Worship! As you read her message, I hope you will be inspired, as I have been, to make time in these days “to worship over Japan”! Feel free to accept Rebecca’s invitation to pray for God to release a “tidal wave of love” over Japan. Read now Rebecca’s words:

God inhabits and is “enthroned on the praises” of His people (Psalm 22: 3)! Our worship can usher in His presence to any place on earth! During the first week in April I moved to Hiroshima, Japan. This is the fulfillment of a four-year calling. In early 2018 I woke up at 3am with a clear dream and directions from God that it was time for me to return a second time to Asia for missions, but this time to Japan, and that I was to reach students in higher education. I serve at the Hiroshima YMCA Language School, and many of my English classes take place on one of our city's college campuses. I also am serving alongside Lifehouse Church in any way I can.

Lifehouse Church is an extraordinary movement across Japan that was birthed in prayer. The Lord directed Australian missionaries Rod and Viv Plummer to Japan in a prayer meeting, where the Lord showed Pastor Viv a glimpse of a tsunami of the Holy Spirit crashing over Japan, a tidal wave of the love of the Father poured out across the nation. The Plummers led a small team to plant the first Lifehouse campus in Tokyo. Lifehouse has since seen unprecedented revival in the nation, especially among Japan's youth and student generation.

Japan is the largest unreached population in the world with borders still completely open to missionaries. Less than 2 percent of the population have embraced the Christian faith. In an unreached nation many missionaries have given up on, this Australian couple has seen God pour out revival. Lifehouse now has campuses in all major cities across Japan, including Hiroshima.

One thing God has placed on my heart is to invite friends and family each week to “worship” over the nation of Japan. A close sister in missions, Tara, shared that while serving in a particularly unreached nation, she felt a significant part of her role there was to worship, for His worship was absent across that nation. We may also read with excitement how God crashed in during Paul’s and Silas’ midnight prison praise party: chains fell off the other listening prisoners (Acts 16: 25-34). Our worship sets others free!

My supervisor explained to me that Hiroshima sits on the mouth of a river delta, with seven rivers flowing through Japan’s “City of Water.” Let’s pray that God will unleash a supernatural outpouring of God’s living water as we worship. Pray God will draw worshippers to know Him; He is right now actively seeking out worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23). 

Take a few minutes this week and worship over the people of Japan, over all those the Father is longing to reach. Worship over all the Father wants to do. Remember that our praise poured forth is intercession. 

If anyone reading this feels led to share in this worship journey, they may contact me at rebeccajackson0404@gmail.com. May the amazing grace of the Master, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with you (from 2 Cor. 13:14 MSG). --Rebecca

I invite you to pray with me for Rebecca. And to worship over the nation of Japan. And to thank God that in a world plagued by hatred and violence, He is still quite able to use our prayers, and our worship, to set people free. + + +