Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Japanese elder who believes in full-time theological education
One of my classmates is a Japanese elder of a Presbyterian Church. Though he is about 28 years my senior, he believes in theological education and acts on his conviction. He is Mikio Miyagi, an Economics major graduate from University of the Ryukyu, one of the national universities in Japan.
He had been in business world after graduation in 1971 till 1999. His deployment as a Traffic manager and purchaser in Mitsubishi Caterpillar Ltd, a joint venture company between Mitsubishi and Caterpillar Corporation, gave him many opportunities to work overseas. His annual salary easily exceeds that of a school principal in Singapore. In September 1999, he entered full-time church ministry as a Director of Administration of Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Koza Church of Japan Presbytery.
He could have continued on in his career but his burden and vision for the church's ministry compelled him to make a choice. As he continued to serve in the ministry, he realized the needs for further education and this time, in theology. He prayed for a long period of time and together with his wife, made a few trips to the US to decide on a suitable seminary. In 2006, he visited Boston University School of Theology. After a series of discussion with the Admissions Office, he finally decided on this school to pursue Master of Theological Studies degree program full-time.
Below are photos we took together with Mikio and his wife, Taeko, last month. You will notice how much weight I have gained since we left S'pore. We were at his house for lunch on Dec20, 2007 and were treated to a special tea ceremony prepared by Taeko, his wife. We had an enjoyable time interacting together. When he showed Meifeng (Vivian) and me his PowerPoint slides about his church, we could read some of the Chinese characters in the Japanese script. We have more in common than I thought. We have been assisting each other in our common class and share a fellowship bought by the blood of Jesus Christ across national borders. His three children are now grown-ups and I am witnessing how God blesses his household.
I am inspired and continue to be motivated by his conviction and his determination to pursue a full-time theological education. For those of you who have pondered a theological education, whether full-time or part-time, this is a living testimony to encourage you to pursue your conviction.