Joining Jesus...on the way to Japan

Our current church had no obligation to bring me into their community as much as they did.
Our family will soon be sent to Japan as missionaries with Lutheran Brethren International Mission. Because opportunities to study Japanese in our home state of Minnesota were limited, Rock of Ages Lutheran Brethren Church in Seattle, Washington called my husband, Paul, to be the pastoral intern for their Japanese congregation. By the time we finally move to Japan we will have been here for nearly two years. We were originally only supposed to be in Seattle from six to eighteen months, while we studied Japanese and got some exposure to Japanese culture.

Our church had no obligation to bring us into their community as they did. They knew we were temporary. They knew that at any given time we could pack up and leave for Japan. Why try to get to know someone who will just be leaving in six months? I even felt this way myself at the beginning of our time here. But quickly it became apparent that the entire church was interested in making us a part of their community and ministry. Day after day they continued to support us and show us the love of Christ in ways we had never expected. They made it so easy to give back and serve alongside them in the community!

Both the Japanese and English congregations at Rock of Ages have blessed us with lifelong friendships and prayer partners. They have supported our work with Japanese ministries, as they offered prayer, childcare, and emotional support. They took us in, knowing how short our time could be. The church could have easily left us to our studying or encouraged us to be exclusively part of the Japanese events. Yet they took what may be the more painful path of bringing us into many different parts of their community, only to have it hurt when we inevitably leave the country.
Because the church here made the decision to welcome us in, they have effectively joined us in ministry in Japan. The daily decisions of both the laypeople and pastoral staff have played a huge part in our story, and in the furthering of the kingdom of God in Japan and here in Seattle. Doing life with them has given us more confidence in the call God has given us, and it has provided us further practical experience in what it looks like to be involved in a neighborhood and community that I hope to be able to imitate someday soon in Japan.

What a blessing is a church willing to take a risk and invest their time and love into those who may be with them only for a short time! I am forever grateful for our experiences here at Rock of Ages and with the other churches, small groups of believers, our families and many more who impacted us and have played a part in God equipping us for what is ahead.

Alexa Fraser and her husband Paul have been called by Lutheran Brethren International Mission to be the CLB’s next missionaries to Japan.

1 Comment

Diane Kurtenbach - June 8th, 2023 at 10:24am

Prayers on the way as you prepare for your ministry. The kids have sure grown! Thanks for the pic!