Conducting weddings in Japan

A common saying in Japan is that one goes to a Shinto shrine after being born, gets married in a Christian ceremony, and is given a Buddhist funeral when one dies. Traditionally, about a month after […]


Bumping into tomodachi

I‌t’s the little words that are surprising. The ones with very short dictionary entries that pop up casually in daily life. The simple nouns that seem so concrete and guileless. Those are the words that […]


A time for decisions

I knew what I had to do. Even so, I had to force my feet forward to where my wife and the worship leader were sitting. When they looked up, I blurted, “I want to […]


Three key cultural dynamics

Japanese people are renowned in the West for being opaque and inscrutable, and even those who have lived and worked among them for a long time still sometimes have trouble understanding their reactions. Part of […]


Jesus-style contextualisation

While talking with a Buddhist man about God’s creation, I said to him, “Look at that bottle of water in your hand. Do you think the plastic just happened to be that shape? What about […]

Member Care

Cultural Intelligence

“Culture is a set of shared assumptions and values that distinguishes one group from another.”1 Knowing how to adapt to another culture is essential for successful cross-cultural living, but the training that most missionaries receive […]


A house of prayer

In his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, New York pastor Jim Cymbala describes one of his early messages at the famous Brooklyn Tabernacle. It was a Sunday evening and 15 people were gathered in a […]


Survey on short-term missions

To find out about JEMA members’ experiences of short-term missions (STMs)—both as participants and as hosts—I conducted an email survey in December 2017. The response was excellent: 80 people (thank you to everyone who completed […]

Short Term

Lessons I have learned

Scenario: Your church or mission wants to send a short-term worker or team this summer and they have asked you to be in charge. How do you approach this big task? You know that hosting […]

Short Term

Short-term missions: moving forward

You’ve probably seen a kid’s show where the cartoon character is skiing, but then clumsily falls and begins to tumble down the slope. As the character rolls down the mountainside, they become enveloped in an […]