Bethany Ho

BETHANY'S REFLECTIONS

 

Articles by Bethany Ho

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Our value for community and the importance of partnership 

We often exhort one another at A3 with the proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” While the exact origins of this proverb are murky, the truth of it is undeniable: for sustainable ministry (and really, life in general), we need each other. 

And just days before departing with our 2023 Summer Short-Term Team, I experienced this truth in a profound way.

Since the beginning of the year, I have had the awesome privilege of meeting or reuniting with some individuals who have desired to serve the church in Japan together on a short-term team. Several of these individuals had planned to join our 2020 teams and have been waiting since then, but a couple of new faces joined us as well. 

When our team was formed, we began meeting together regularly on Zoom, getting to know one another, sharing our hearts for the Japanese people, and learning about the local church and how we could serve her. In this way, we got to begin sharing our lives with one another and praying for one another. 

We made our plans, began packing our bags, and looked forward to meeting one another IN PERSON

Unfortunately for me, days before our departure, I had a family emergency that took me out. But thankfully, in God’s mercy and in only the ways He can provide, this didn’t have to take out the team. The next morning, I was praying and asking God what He wanted me to do. Should I stay, or should I still try to go? And immediately, He gave me an answer. 

 

Photo cred Manami 2     Photo cred Andrew 4

 

Mary Jo Wilson, A3’s Vice President of Missional Engagement, “just so happened” to be home in the States instead of visiting one of our many missional networks around the world. And she “just so happened” to have plans to be in Japan in a few weeks anyway. 

When I emailed and told the team, one of the members sweetly likened my situation to that of Moses—how he prepared the younger generation of Israelites to enter the Promised Land, but in the end didn’t get to go in himself. And like Moses, God had provided me with a community of other brothers and sisters I could lean on in times of need. 

Mary Jo is now leading the team as they round out their time, serving with churches in Yamagata, meeting pastors and leaders in our missional network. And I have had the joy of being able to keep up through the photos they send me almost daily. 

 

Photo cred Andrew 1     Photo cred Andrew 6

Photo cred Tim 1     Photo cred Manami 3

 

While I definitely would have preferred being there with them myself, I know God is working hugely in and through them. Satan would not be trying to oppose this team so hard if God didn’t have big plans for them! Please pray for them as they finish their service and travel back to their various homes in a few days. And pray that God will give me wisdom as I receive them back with an okaerinasai (welcome home) and help them to process their experience and what God may be calling them to next. Stay tuned! 

 

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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 God called her to serve full-time with the church, and God opened up the door for her to partner with Asian Access and the local church in the Tohoku Region. She served as a cross-cultural worker with a church in Sendai from 2016-2022, and she is now serving in the SIM Recruiting Department with a heart for multiplying the number of harvest workers sent to Japan.

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