ArticleMissionary Life

How a Wandering MK Returned to the Field

As a teenager, Daniel vowed never to become a missionary. Now, he plans to go to Japan as a missionary.
Daniel exhaled the South Carolina air with a sigh of relief.

Having spent the last 17 years as a missionary kid in Japan, he was finally back in the US—for good this time.

From the early age of two, all Daniel knew was missions. His parents were pioneering missionaries in a rural town called Miyakonojo. Here, they planted a church, where they continue to serve today.

When he was a teenager, his father asked him what he wanted to do with his future. Daniel shrugged and halfheartedly threw out the idea of becoming a missionary like him.

Five years later, as Daniel prepared to leave for university, he was certain of two things: he wanted nothing to do with missions, and he never wanted to come back to Japan. He was determined to blaze his own trail, not follow in the footsteps of his parents.

But by his last semester at Bob Jones University, Daniel still lacked direction in life. One day, during a business class lecture, Daniel tuned out his professor and imagined what life would look like if he continued on this trajectory: attain a well-paying job, earn money, and then retire comfortably. His life story played out before his eyes, leaving him dissatisfied and unsettled.

“I spent the next few nights on my knees praying to God and asking him what to do,” said Daniel. “I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to go to Japan.”

Struggling with the direction God was leading him, Daniel ignored the calling for a few years, until he traveled to Greece for an archeological tour of Paul’s missionary journeys. The apostle’s words to the Philippians, “To live is Christ and to die is gain,” echoed in Daniel’s mind as he stood in the streets of Philippi.

“I wasn’t afraid to die for Christ,” Daniel recalled. “But if I wasn’t afraid to die for him, why was I so hesitant to live for him?”

In that moment, the Holy Spirit began to change Daniel’s heart toward missions in Japan. In 2018, he returned to Japan for three years and worked alongside his parents. In 2022, he plans on going back as a long-term missionary with ABWE, serving in the same church plant where he first came to know Christ.


Support Daniel’s ministry.

About the Author

Loren Skinker served as a communications specialist with ABWE and managing editor for Message Magazine. He graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in communications and English.

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