The Rev. Erik and Tauna Roth are ELCA missionaries in Tokyo where Erik serves the Tokyo Lutheran Church. They both also teach English and lead Bible studies. You can follow them at their blog, Journey in Japan. To support the Roths, or another of the ELCA’s over 200 missionaries, go to www.ELCA.org/missionarysponsorship.
I went to the Lawson 100 (convenience store) to pick up some milk and orange juice. As I was waiting for the clerk to finish bagging my items, he asked me a question in Japanese that I didn’t understand. Trusting the clerk, I just said はい (Hai=Yes). Next thing I knew, he was putting two long straws into my bag.
I say yes a lot here in Japan. Would you like to go to a party? Yes! Will you help shovel snow? Yes! Do you want some of this weird looking food? Um …Yes? Each time I say yes, I have little clue what is on the other side. I say yes mostly out of curiosity. If I didn’t say yes, I would miss out on endless experiences. “Yes” opens doors. “Yes” leads to adventure. “Yes” sometimes leads to crazy exhausting days. But if I had said “no,” I wouldn’t know how delicious Japanese food tastes, have gotten to see a Japanese home, learn how great of a hostess a friend can be, or have two giant straws in my kitchen drawer.
The journey to Japan started with a single “yes” to God. Yes, we will serve. As missionaries (that’s you, too!) we are all invited into God’s mission. We are all given the opportunity to say “yes” to Christ’s love and go out and serve each other.