What makes a short-term missionary stint “pretty good” versus “really awesome”? Of course there are lots of factors but one thing that made my time in Sendai as a short-term missionary so wonderful (besides the people of Japan) was that I had a mentor. Today I would like to share a bit about the importance of having a godly, Christian mentor in your life as you serve in Japan.

My mentor was Mrs. Edie Cummings who has served as a missionary to Japan for over 40 years. She was a rock to me during my first two years in Japan by always pointing me to the true Rock, Jesus Christ. She loved and served me by taking time out of her crazy schedule to show me around a Japanese supermarket, taking me to the doctor’s, praying with me and for me, keeping me accountable to God, and she invited me to her home for meals at least twice a week (often more frequently than that). On top of all that, she was a true friend, the kind who “never lets you down and always lets you in” (to quote Dr. Timothy Keller).

Cal & Edie, January 2012

Here is a dramatic video presentation entitled “A Tsunami of Grace” given by Edie a few weeks after the horrific 3/11/11 disaster. You can tell that she is burdened, weary and utterly exhausted from the trauma, but her desire to see the church praying for Japan was greater than her desire to rest and take it easy. She and her husband were within a few miles of the tsunami and had no idea!! She tells what it was like in the aftermath of the earthquake through her tears.

Vimeo description: “Missionary Edie Cummings presents an eye-witness account of the earthquake in Sendai, Japan…Edie sees the hand of God at work among her friends and neighbors in Japan, and pleads for prayer, care and workers to pray, give and go in the coming days.”

I hope that you have the privilege and blessing of having a mentor to guide you and point you to Jesus Christ as you serve in Japan. If you don’t, please ask someone to be your mentor. You will never regret it! I am thankful to Edie and hope to follow in her footsteps by serving as a mentor and example to the many young people God that we pray God will call to Japan in the future.