Hey friends, let me tell you how good God is and the exciting things that lie in store for me.
On February 15 I will be leaving Albuquerque to go live in Japan for six months. While there I plan to continue working full time as a cartoonist, while helping out a organization called Mission to the World.
This has come about after a year of planning and praying (though I probably should have been praying more). I do however feel that God is guiding me and preparing me for the adventure ahead.
About a year ago I was feeling trapped. I was still living in the same apartment I had during college, and I felt like my life hadn’t moved anywhere since graduating. Although it is a privilege and an honor to be able to make comics for a living, the job meant working long hours by myself in my bedroom, which contributed significantly to feelings of depression and isolation.
All these feelings came to a climax one night when I decided to look in to becoming a missionary in Japan. In college, I had spent a semester there through an exchange program, and I had promised myself I’d go back someday. I found a organization called Mission to the World that had a church in Chiba, a province just off the Tokyo Bay area. I sent off a query letter and then forgot about it.
One day I received a reply, and soon I was entered into the early stages of the application process. I remember going for a walk during that time, and looking out at the edge of the city and feeling like I could step over the horizon. The feelings of being trapped gave way to the exciting possibilities of the future.
Then I began to have doubts and fears. How would my cartooning job mesh with the missionary duties that would be expected of me? What if I couldn’t handle the demands of both my cartooning job and my missionary responsibilities? I was scared of disappointing either my editor, or my mission team leader, or both.
I decided to meet with my pastor, and he gave me some advice I wasn’t expecting. He told me that God deals with the heart behind the actions, not just the actions. Whether you work as a pastor or a garbage man, a missionary or a cartoonist, you can still please God by honoring him with a heart of obedience and love. The work you do does not make you more holy. With that in mind, he encouraged me to not compromise the job God had given me as a cartoonist, even for the sake of being a missionary.
With a heavy soberness, I wrote an email to the team leaders there at the mission in Chiba. I told them about my career as a cartoonist, and how I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist since I was little, and how God has brought me to the place I am today in my career, and about God’s generosity in giving me the job I currently have. The only way we could make this work, I wrote, would be if I could continue cartooning full time and then help out the mission whenever I was free. But I felt this was too much to ask, and encouraged them to invest in someone who could give participate in the mission full time.
I sent the email, convinced that it was the end. I knew it was for the best, but it felt like I was stepping back into my trapped, small life.
I waited a few weeks until one day I got a reply that said they still had a place for me, even if all I could contribute were my off hours.
I was so excited! This very much felt like God opening a door, and since then I have had a sense of God preparing me for the trip. He’s been making me aware of my sins and faults, and of my need for Him to make this endeavor a success. I’ll try to talk more on these things later.
In the meantime, I have my visa, my plane tickets, and I leave next week!
I plan to use this blog to keep in touch with family, to make a record of the trip through notes and photos, and to broadcast the things God is doing in Japan. If you’d like to pray for me, I’ve got a little newsletter you can sign up for to receive prayer requests. Prayers are much appreciated, because God’s power and movement is essential to changing hearts and lives on the mission field.
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