we’ve just arrived at Narita, now what?

getting-here_art_1So, what does the journey to Japan look like? How do you get from the decision to pursue joining the ministry in Tohoku to actually being here involved in ministry? The journey varies for each person, but would generally include the following:

  • Get Connected with Pioneers One of your first steps will be to become an official appointee to Japan. This will involve going through the Pioneers application process and attending the introductory orientation. Here you will learn all about Pioneers and be given various tools you will need to help you get to the field.
  • Develop a Network of Partners One of the tools you will receive from Pioneers will be resources and coaching in how to develop a network of partners – people who will provide the prayer, finances, and practical support that enable people to do ministry in another country. Because the cost of living in Japan is higher than many other parts of the world, this will require dedicated effort. However, it is also a great time to hone your skills in connecting with people and encourage others to consider cross-cultural ministry as you share how God has led you.
  • Become Well Prepared In addition to the basic Pioneers orientation, we and / or the mobilization base staff can recommend various other training that may be helpful. Anything from short booklets to multi-week courses, these resources can help you learn things like church planting principles, the best way to learn a second language, or how to deal with the challenges of living in another culture.
  • Make Final Preparation Toward the end of your appointee phase, we will begin to communicate with you about various things you will need before arriving in Japan (visa, shots, international driving permit, etc.) and help you make decisions about the best way to close up your home in the US and set up a new one here. During this time you will also need to make decisions about what kind of housing would be most suitable and various things like schooling for your kids.
  • Arrive & Get Oriented Once you arrive in country, the first week or two will be spent getting various things set up to make your time in Japan a success. We will make sure you have a way to communicate, buy the things you need, and complete various registrations. We will also begin to help you look for long-term housing, a vehicle, and what to do about language study.
  • Learn the Language Japanese is a fascinating and intriguing language and learning it is not something that happens overnight. As you are preparing to come, we will talk through various options for language study and which one would best fit your situation and personality. Because proficiency in Japanese is the key to forming relationships in the community and partnering with Japanese Christians, learning it will be your focus for the first few years in country.
  • Get involved in the Community Just because your focus is language study doesn’t mean that you will need to spend all your time with your nose in a book. The best way to learn language is by using it and we will help you figure out how to get involved in various ministries and communities where you can use the language you are learning. Depending on your support profile, part of your time during this phase may also be spent pursuing a tentmaking venture.