Bethany Ho



Articles by Bethany Ho

Japanese woodblock printing picture of women drinking tea

We Made It!

I know us old folk serving as exhibitors and staff at Urbana 2022 were proudly declaring this at the very end of the year and rolling into 2023, the official end of a marathon of a conference. But on our last day in the Connections Hall, I was comforted by the fact that many of the students I was praying for were also pretty exhausted! Let's say it again: We made it!

In the days leading up to Urbana, there were so many troubles, hurdles, and distractions to navigate: historical winter storms and airline logistic meltdowns just to name a couple. So by the time we finally filled the Gathering Hall in the Indianapolis Convention Center, we had already won a huge victory. When Bishop Claude Alexander got up to open his first message, he invited us all to "make the devil mad!" We defied the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places simply by pushing through and getting to Indianapolis. I heard stories of ten-hour drives from Toronto, or seventeen-hour drives from Houston, not to mention the countless delays at airports, forcing some of us to exercise the fruit of the Spirit in patience. So Bishop Alexander invited us to Rise Up and declare in defiance:

We made it!

Joshua 300 155Three nights later when we got to the midnight praise and celebration, the Urbana worship team took up the "We made it!" chorus with powerhouse vocals. For the students, their "we made it" declared how they grew deeper in their faith in Jesus through the incredible worship, learning from our plenary speakers, digging deeper in Bible study and breakout sessions, and processing with one another what God was speaking to them. (If you were not able to join in person, this incredible resource is already available on the Urbana website. Check out the Urbana '22 Conference resource page!)

My "we made it" celebrated God for how He empowered me and my SIM team to stand on our swollen feet for seven hours over three days straight; for the nearly 200 conversations we had with individuals discerning a possible calling into missions; for all the prayers we prayed over anyone visiting our booth; and for all the people with a real heart for Japan! 

Then it made me think about a year from now, or three, or five, or ten years from now. How at this Urbana 22 conference, God has changed the course of trajectory for many students. For the one young man who thought he was just going to graduate, go into a well-paying profession, and simply become a "cog in the wheel" and make lots of money, but now after experiencing Urbana, being open to going where God tells him, possibly even using his skills to serve on the mission field.

How many students have now started their journey into missions? Their days ahead are now filled with finishing school, graduating, delays, praying together with trusted spiritual leadership, applying with mission organizations, delays, more studying and training, raising up their prayer and financial support team, studying language, delays, delays, delays. When they finally make it to the mission field, connected to the good works that God prepared beforehand that they should walk in them, they will declare defiantly again, "We made it!" And we all will Rise Up with them and together praise our wonderful God. 

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Bethany Ho

Bethany Panian HoBethany first came to Japan in February 2011 to teach English at a school in Sendai. After experiencing the Tohoku Triple Disaster on March 11, she prayed and knew that God wanted her to stay. She taught at the school for four years and was also involved in a local church during that time. Her last year teaching, she felt God calling her to serve full-time with the church, and God opened up the doors for her to partner with Asian Access and the local church in Sendai. She served as a field missionary with the church in Sendai from 2016-2022, and she is now serving in the SIM Recruiting Department with a heart for multiplying the harvest workers sent to Japan.

 Urbana '22

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