“When it came to missions, I thought it was a great thing for other people. I’ll financially support them, I’ll pray for them – but it’s not for me.”
Becca Howe connected with Christ at an early age and was consistently involved in church throughout her life, yet the idea of serving as a missionary far from home was never something she saw herself doing. After Becca graduated from college, she returned to Fort Worth and began attending Doxology Church. From there, it didn’t take long for God to begin nudging her to get involved in mission work. “On my first Sunday at Doxology, a friend invited me to a meeting about a mission trip to Africa after the service. Somehow, someway… I ended up signing the papers to be part of the team. I thought, ‘Wait, God what did you do?! I like my home. I like my comfort!’ While we were there, I got really sick and I took that as confirmation that this was not where I was supposed to be. I felt like I couldn’t trust God outside of my comfort zone.” But God had other plans. Several years later, Becca was connected with a pastor of an organization called Mustard Seed – a church network dedicated to planting churches in urban Japan. As he shared about the needs of the Japanese people, Becca’s heart was broken for the people of Japan and the reality that many of them will never have the opportunity to hear the gospel. Becca says, “I remembered him saying, ‘I don’t have pictures to show you of starving people, but I can show you pictures of buildings that are filled with people, and I can show you souls that need to meet the Savior.’ The Lord captured my heart for the Japanese people. I still didn’t know if I could trust God with Japan, but I went to another meeting, and God just continued to guide me through every little step, and before I knew it, I was on a plane to Nagoya, Japan for a 2-week trip.”
“When we stepped off the plane in Nagoya, our leader told us to just watch the faces of people who walk by – statistically, they will never come across someone who knows Christ or invite them to church. My heart was broken. God gave me a fire to tell as many people as I could about Him. I didn’t know what the outcome would be, but I had the peace of knowing that I’m not going to see the fruit of this in my 2-week trip, but it’s not necessarily my fruit to see – it’s God’s fruit. I’m just called to be a faithful sower. As my time came to a close, I found myself asking, ‘Can I have just 2 more days here? Just one more day?’ It was strange to say that because I like the comforts of home.” Over the course of the next 6 years, God continued to grow Becca’s passion to reach the nation of Japan. She returned to Nagoya for 2 more trips- another short-term trip and a 2-month internship in the summer of 2017.
After taking her third trip, Becca was met with an unexpected and difficult turn of events. “In 2017 I contracted a rare medical condition – my body doesn’t respond well to high levels of metal, and there are very high levels of metal in the food and water in Japan – and my face and hands started to turn a greyish-blue color. This set up a year of brokenness that I was not prepared for. I had a lot of questions. I would think, ‘I was obedient, and THIS is what happens??’ I spent the next year praying ‘If God so chooses, He will heal, if not, He will sustain.’ The following spring, God still would not let my heart let go of Japan, and I had to find a way to go back. People would ask me, ‘You realize that Japan is where you got sick, right?’ And yes, medically it didn’t make sense for me to go back to Japan, but the Lord just kept burdening my heart for this place.” Despite her fears, Becca decided to plan another trip for the following year. “I was supposed to go back in the summer of 2018, but four days before I was supposed to leave, I got a really bad case of strep and the flu which caused an abnormal EKG reading. It was determined that I shouldn’t go on the trip. It turned out that I was fine, and that nothing was wrong with my heart, but I had to sit with the frustration that I could have gone all along. I kept asking God, ‘Why did you open the door and then allow it to slam in my face?’ God was using my brokenness to show me the areas in which I wasn’t trusting Him.” Through the heartache and disappointment, Becca’s desire to reach Japan grew even stronger, and it was clear God was calling Becca to a bigger step than she originally thought. She says, “I didn’t know why God shut the door on that trip. But then someone said to me, ‘Well Becca, God shut the door for a short-term trip, but that doesn’t mean He has closed all doors.’ At that moment I realized that shutting the door for the short term meant that God was showing me a door for a long-term commitment to serve in Japan. So, in October of 2018, I began the process of applying for a position with Mustard Seed, and by the end of the month, I was offered the position of Women’s and Family Minister of Mustard Seed in Nagoya.” She will officially begin her new role in Nagoya in the fall of 2019.
Although risks and uncertainty remain, Becca is determined to follow the path that God has set out for her. She says, “You have to take one step at a time, and as fear bubbles up with each step, take that fear to the Lord. Sometimes that fear may not go away, and that’s okay. It could be there the entire way, but the continual surrender to the Lord in spite of the fear is a risk worth taking because God moves mountains we didn’t even realize were there. It does something amazing in our own hearts and lives as we take steps forward through the fear.” To those who are on the fence about becoming involved in missions, Becca says, “Find a way to get involved in God’s work. God has called each of us to serve Him in our unique ways. I think it’s so beautiful that God has called a body of believers to serve Him in each way that He has gifted us. We have the great privilege of sharing the love of Christ with people- and the world sits up and takes notice when we share God’s love to others.”