Bethany Ho



Articles by Bethany Ho

woman kneeling in worship

…and beyond: encouragement from a big sister

I first heard about what God was doing on your campus on Friday, February 10. At the SIM USA sending office, we take our motto By Prayer very seriously. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, we come together corporately for a chapel service to pray over each one of our fields and our missionaries. On Mondays and Fridays, we do the same, but this time we gather in smaller groups by our departments. One of my coworkers brought up what God was doing on your campus, and we began to pray for you. 

I have been following you ever since. (As a millennial, my preferred media has been googling news articles and Instagram.) 

I have been so emotionally moved that I can hardly think of you and pray for you without tearing up. 

My husband and I also have had many discussions together, especially as Phylicia Masonheimer, Russell Moore, Curtis Chang and David French, and other Christian leaders we love and respect have been unpacking their own observations. We even made plans to visit, but unfortunately not before the last public worship service on campus

Imagining what I might say to you if I had the chance, I want to share my love and encouragement for you. Please humor this onēsan (“big sister,” pronounced ohnay-sahn) for a moment! 

First, I am so glad this incredible gift has been given to your generation. A movement like this did not happen with my generation, and it could be easy to feel jealousy or cynicism, but I am grateful instead that the Holy Spirit has given me a warm affection for you. You have been given a beautiful gift, and I have enjoyed watching you unwrap it. 

Second, please continue to be encouraged after you inevitably come down off of this mountaintop experience. On my first overseas outreach, a short-term trip to Jamaica with my campus ministry, I was literally on a mountaintop in the Blue Mountains! But as a baby Christian, I was wrestling with my cynicism, and honestly, still doubting my decision to follow Jesus. I was still having trouble believing God existed, and I was still doubting He actually cared about me. During a prayer meeting at the children’s home, one of the missionaries—who had never met me previously nor had any conversation with me, knowing nothing of my internal struggle—prayed over me repeatedly,

This is true! You are real!

After coming home, it still took months and years for me to work that out on my own. 

That is my same exhortation for you. In the weeks, months, and years ahead, remember: This has been a real and true experience of God’s deep and abiding affection for you. You won’t always feel it this intensely, but His steadfast love for you never wavers. 

And third, a piece of advice I know others have given you: take this gift and share it with others. The best gifts are the ones we can give away. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). 

What work of reconciliation is God calling you to? What ministry does He want you to boldly step into? 

Have you considered cross-cultural ministry overseas? I would love to connect and share more.    


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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. Eventually 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 cross-cultural worker 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.

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