Volunteering in Japan

Dear readers, hello!

If you already follow my blog, you’ll get the idea pretty early on that this isn’t my typical blog post. I don’t generally focus so heavily on what I’m doing. But I began a new season of life two weeks ago, and the change most definitely affected my blogging habits.

Have you heard of the Torchbearers Bible Schools before (also known as Capernwray)? There are 24 centers worldwide. I’m writing this from my room at Torchbearers Yamanakako – the base in Japan.


At this time of the year, there are no Bible classes. The center focuses on providing a place of retreat for church groups, and on hosting our own events where anyone from the community is welcome (think Christmas open house).

Typical volunteer tasks include doing dishes, meal preparation, outdoor maintenance, cleaning, etc.

My individual focus is slightly different. I’m not working around the Bible school property so much as I am in the home of the director and his family. I do some of their laundry, most of their personal dishes, I help to maintain tidiness in the house and I play with their three young girls.

Life lessons God has been putting on my heart:

  • God stays the same. He’s constant through the changing seasons of life.
  • Community is invaluable (even for introverts!).
  • Seeking God and resting in Him are two ways of honoring Him with my time and resources.
  • Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and there is some value in looking after them.
  • God communicates to us through His Word and His Holy Spirit. They won’t contradict each other.
  • God wants relationship with us; two-way communication and interaction which can’t be reduced to a system.
  • Worldly traditions and biblical traditions all seem to get slurred together around Christmas time (this is more of an observation and an ongoing contemplation).

And just for fun…

Distinctions between life in Japan (in winter) and life in Cambodia (which is kind of summer all year round):

  • The crunch of frozen soil under my boots
  • Seeing my breath in the morning air… and in the midday air
  • Frozen fingers and frozen toes
  • Beanies/tuques, boots, mittens, coats and layers of other clothes underneath
  • Clean, crisp and clear air
  • Kerosene heaters
  • Leaving some taps running overnight to prevent the pipes from freezing

Hopefully, this post has provided you with some details to fill in the blanks regarding what I’m up to these days.

Please tell me, did any of the life lessons I listed strike you as interesting or relevant? Are you in summer or winter? Have you ever volunteered anywhere? I look forward to interacting with you in the comments section.


6 thoughts on “Volunteering in Japan

  1. So funnn! Like I said before, I wish I was over there with you!! Torchbearers Namanakako (WOW what a name XD) is really doing a great work over there in Japan…I read on the Wycliffe Bible Translators blog that Japan is one of the most un-evangelized countries! Your work will most certainly bear fruit.
    One of your observations that stood out to me was your observation about Christmas. It is SO relevant. While we Christians are celebrating our gift that came without cost, others are celebrating Santa, who gives gifts as a reward for good work! That is totally backwards. This time of year is a GREAT opportunity to share the Gospel, though!
    Yeah, it’s winter over here. =\ It was SO. FREEZING. COLD over the weekend, but it’s warming up…a little. Oh well, I just hope we get good weather for Christmas!
    We have volunteered at our church’s food pantry, which gives food to families who don’t have enough money to buy their own! We bought the food and helped stock it in the church, and we were also there one time when they were handing food out from the foyer.
    This was a great post, Jordy!!


    1. Yes, I too have heard that Japan is a very un-evangelized country. It’s good to learn from people who live here about specific ways in which we can pray for Japan. One thing I learned is that the “Gospel Choir” is very popular in Japan. It’s made of choir members who sing about Jesus, but the vast majority of whom aren’t Christians and may not even have a clue what they’re singing about.

      It’s true; the Christmas season and the subject of gift-giving is a great lead-in to conversations about the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Have you used it as a conversation trigger before – whether this year or in the past?

      Helping at a food pantry like you did; what a great way to bless others. Also, what a great opportunity to be reminded of the many blessings that God gives us on a daily basis. May we choose to be so grateful for His “small” gifts in life, as well as the life-altering gift of salvation.

      Merry Christmas, Ariel!


  2. Hey Jordy! This is so cool! I’m going to attend Capernwray in England this spring. I look forward to hearing more about your adventures. And perhaps seeing pictures…? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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