“Kingdom Work”

Yesterday, ViBi had a farewell supper for Justina, the Wycliffe Canada summer intern.  We asked her to write a couple paragraphs about her summer that we could share with you.  Here they are:
When I first got here, I was often asked things like, “Why are you here?” The first easy answer is that I’m here for “work”, an internship with Wycliffe Canada related to my field of studies in that I can learn from a linguistics researcher. The other quick answer is that this is ministry—a short term missions trip to learn about and help out with Bible translation. But to be very honest, I had no clear answer to the question of my purpose here for these two months. In my preparation to come, I had things on my heart like stewardship (1 Peter 4:8) and obedience (Matthew 6:33) but this whole arrangement felt too far away and outside my comfort zone for me to really imagine it at all. I felt like I just landed in this place almost by chance (by which I really mean providence) and, not knowing what to expect, I was ushered into the world of the deaf with little orientation and zero sign language at my disposal. All I knew was that it was a door and God had opened, so here I was to be used in whatever work he had prepared for me in advance (Ephesians 2:10).
I went to work every day in a small office space in a quiet neighbourhood a long train ride away from the metropolis that is Tokyo–a room only a little bigger than some people’s bedrooms in Canada. On an average day, there are five or six of us there, manoeuvring our way around worn and squeaky office chairs and a makeshift jungle of video equipment. It is a slow-moving ministry, as translation often is, hungry for personnel, resources and outside support. At the beginning my friends and family would ask me what work is like, and I thought, well, there isn’t even that much to write home about. But one day it hit me, sitting at the table and watching one of the drafts of the Gospel of John being recorded, the Holy Spirit hit me with a powerful “God-moment”. Right here literally in front of my eyes is the Word of God being translated by dedicated followers of Christ, for a people who have been often oppressed and segregated for generations. Society talks a lot about exciting things like the frontiers of science and medicine and other things we are doing to advance ourselves. There is currently no complete Scripture available for the deaf in their own language, and the translation of Scripture happening here is a frontier of something great being done to advance God’s kingdom, for people he is calling to rise up and draw near to him. Just think: there is nothing like this in the world.
That is all there is to this grand title of “Kingdom Work”. It is in the nitty-gritty, unexciting tasks, the nose-to-grindstone work of every dreary morning, and the simple amusements of storytelling over lunch. There is nothing superhero-like about this work the way we sometimes envision ministries like this to be, but there is eternal value in what is being done.
2 Corinthians 4:6-9
   For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

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About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
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One Response to “Kingdom Work”

  1. al smith says:

    GREAT  AWESOME STORY OF JUSTINA THE SUMMER INTERN FROM WYCLIFFE CANADA, WHO KNEW NO SIGN LANGUAGE, SHE TALK ABOUT HER LIVING & WORKING CONDITION, SHE TALK ABOUT MANY THINGS, QUESTIONS FROM NEW PEOPLE, FAMILY &FRIENDS. NEW LOCATION IN PROVIDENCE, I CAN GO ON & ON.THEN SHE HAD A GOD MOMENT WITH THE HELP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ABOUT WHAT SHE WAS DOING FOR THE WAY FOR THE GOSPEL 1st TIME TO BE TRANSLATION FOR THE DEAF TO THE THEIR LANGUAGE SO THEY CAN UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE. AWESOME STORY IN GREAT DETAIL WAY. SHE WILL HAVE THIS STORY FOR LIFE TO TELL TO MANY PEOPLE EVEN TO DEAF PEOPLE. THANK YOU MARK & MARY ESTHER PENNER FOR SHARING THIS STORY ON “KINGDOM WORK” WITH A SUMMER INTERN.     

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