Thursday, April 12, 2018

Announcing our move to Serge

“But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me.” (1 Corinthians 16:8-9a)

Dear Friends,

The past nine months of home assignment have been good for our family in so many ways. God has used the time to help us in our marriage, as a family, and in clarifying our sense of calling to Japan. In our last two newsletters, we’ve hinted that we’ve been praying about our specific role for next term. At this point, we’re ready to tell you about an important change we’re making as we prepare to return to Nagoya.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul said he was staying in Ephesus because a wide door for effective work had opened to him. Our context is different, but we also see a wide door for effective ministry open before us, and we want to respond accordingly. About a month ago, Gina and I accepted a new appointment with Serge (formerly World Harvest Mission) to return to Japan this summer. Serge is a theologically reformed, non-denominational mission agency that was established in 1983. The mission now has over 250 missionaries doing church planting, leadership training, and mercy ministry in 20 countries around the world.

In recent years, Serge has had a growing presence in Asia and has been praying that God would provide leaders with experience in that region to help grow that arm of the organization. In Japan, our paths have crossed frequently since Serge has partnered closely with both MTW and the Church Planting Institute (CPI) of Japan. We were surprised and happy when they approached us last summer to ask if we would pray about formally joining Serge to help grow and lead their work in Japan.

Of course, this decision hasn’t been easy, but it came at a time when Gina and I were already wrestling with how God is calling us to set priorities for our next term. We believe we should devote more of our energy to church planting through mentoring and spiritual renewal among Christian leaders in Japan. As we prayed and talked with leaders at both Serge and MTW, we realized that Serge is strongly positioned to come alongside us and provide important resources for that work. Our conversations with Serge leaders have also challenged us to dream bigger and pray about how we can work together for Christ’s Kingdom across Japan and even regionally within Asia. It’s a little scary to make a change like this, but we believe that God is asking us to trust him and follow him through this open door.

We’re especially thankful for the way our MTW leadership supported us as we labored over this decision. Although this new appointment means we will be officially leaving MTW, we will continue to partner closely with MTW teams in Japan – especially through Christ Bible Institute and CPI-Japan. We’re happy to have made strong friendships within the MTW family and expect those relationships will continue for the rest of our lives.

At this point, Gina and I are fully engaged in the process of transitioning over to Serge. Your partnership (in all of its various forms) has been critical to our work so far, and we are asking each of you to continue with us as we return to Japan later this year. As of now, our MTW account has sufficient funds for the transition period. So, if you are one of our financial partners, we’d like to ask you to stop all giving through our MTW account (ASAP) and begin giving through our Serge account. We know this is an extra step, but it should take only a few minutes to set up a new account on Serge’s website at the following link: https://serge.org/staff/id-54662/. If you need step-by-step directions for changing a recurring donation from MTW over to Serge, please click here.

Let me close this letter with a word of heartfelt thanks for your ministry with us. You have all been faithful partners these past five years, and we’ve rejoiced to see God do some big things over this first term. If I’m honest, God has done more than we had the faith to expect or even imagine! He’s used us together for his name and glory. Thank you for being so generous with your prayers and giving - and for standing with us in this work. If you have questions or concerns about our ministry or this move to Serge, please reach out to us. You can email us at grace4japan@gmail.com or even call us on the phone (email me for my number if you need it). I’d be happy to talk with you in more detail.

Grace and Peace,

Jeremy and Gina Sink