I am currently a Japanese Studies and Linguistics major. I didn’t know what to major on when I graduated high school—I didn’t want to particularly be a nurse or a teacher or a business person. I asked God what can I take that I like and He could use in the ministry and I had a peace choosing it. I was interested in Japan ever since I was younger and I really liked languages, but I didn’t know I’d end up taking it up for college.
In the course of my academic career, people did question my choice. “What are you going to do with a Japanese Studies degree?” “Are you going to teach?”
I felt like I was being compared to my sister who chose nursing, and in the eyes of others it is the most marketable and well paying one. And mine is basically…what?
Last year, before summer, a scholarship to go to Japan opened up. The scholarship was being offered by the Japanese government: a full scholarship with a stipend to become a research student and possibly a graduate student. I applied, because, why not? I was thinking about my future, and I think further study in the actual country I’m interested in is the best way to go.
But I did know my chances are still quite slim. And the application process was tedious. I needed to make up a research proposal during my finals that semester to catch up with the deadline. I had to rewrite the research proposal twice (the first was rejected), and I was so close to giving up. But my professor insisted that I should do it and just gave her recommendation letter to me, trusting that I’ll turn it in. With two days before the deadline, I managed to turn it in.
I had to take language test and if you pass the testing you get interviewed. Sure, I’ve been studying Japanese, but I was rusty due to the lack of study. I don’t speak it everyday, and the chances of practicing is limited. I tried my best to cram as much as I can three days prior to the exam. I prayed to God that if he really wanted to me to have the scholarship, I needed his grace. My ability is limited, but it’ll take a miracle for me to even get it.
I took the test and I barely passed. Only two of the applicants passed the test, me and this upperclassman of the same university. Even though I passed, the gap between our scores were so wide. But a pass is still a pass and we both got interviewed. The consulate said we’ll be informed by e-mail on the details.
I was in the for the summer Philippines when I received the e-mail. A friend was was with me that morning when I opened it:
“Kristine, Thank you for your interest in the MEXT Research Scholarship Program. We were however not able to select you for referral to MEXT this year. Although you passed your exams, the results was about 100 points below the other candidate, and we have only one slot available. Your understanding in this regards is appreciated.”
I was devastated. Crying almost. I told my friend about the scholarship beforehand, but then I told him what had happened. Then he told me, “What would you do if God didn’t even call you to Japan in the first place? Will you let it go? It’s always better to be where God is and where God has called you to be.”
That hit me hard. Maybe it is just a desire, maybe I wanted it so bad that it’s not even where God is calling me to be.
“You should pray about it.”
So I did. I went to my room and cried for an hour and so. Asking God why. Why would He help me in the process, during the test when I’m not even going to get it. I felt broken, I felt like I wasted all four years of my college career and now I’m going nowhere.
But I was tired. I finally said, FINE GOD TAKE IT. Send me to Africa for all I care. Just make me do your will. I felt like a clean slate, a little better and surprisingly peaceful.
Two days after another email came: “Kristine, Thank you for your kind understanding. BUT I received an email from — stating he was declining the offer. We have not informed MEXT yet, but wanted to confirm if you would still be interested in the scholarship, as we will check with MEXT if they can accept you, since — declined. For your information, we have never experienced a selectee declining the offer so we are not sure of anything at this moment. But we want to at least try asking them to accept you. Please advise asap“
I felt confused. Happy yes, but confused. And soon that confusion turned into a burden. I gave it to God already. Could this be God? Could this be the devil luring me away from what God really called me to do? What am I supposed to say?
I asked my friend, “WHAT SHOULD I DO.”
“Go and pray about it.”
So I did, once more. “God you’re not the author of confusion. Clarify this. It’s an opportunity yes. But is it a door I should walk into?”
Then after prayer. I felt peace. But still no direct answer. I wish God could just say “Say yes/no, TAKE THAT, DO THIS” But no.
But the peace was enough. So I prayed, “God I’ll say yes. But I have a condition. I know this is just part of the process. Confirm this to me by giving me supernatural peace and favor with it. I’ll do my part filling forms and writing emails/papers, but if i feel overwhelmed about it, It’s not from You.”
So I said yes to the email.
I still needed to look for an adviser from a Japanese university to accept me. All the universities that I listed on my application rejected my proposal.
“…so maybe it isn’t?” I questioned.
Then this other university that wasn’t on my list popped in my head. I heard about it before. So I had this feeling that I should just e-mail and try it out. So I did. And sent it to a linguistics professor. The professor emailed me back and said, “It’s not my expertise, but I know someone else in the department” so she recommended me to this other person. I emailed this other person, and he then he accepted me with my first email. It was surprising because I’ve read some accounts of scholars who were before me had to exchange several emails and called their advisers before they even said yes.
And the story goes on. God’s been faithful, good and gracious. He has kept His promise–I’ve been so in peace about it, that I don’t even have a need to bring it up in prayer. I’ve decided to become a Japanese translator in the future: for God of course. I want to translate Christian material into Japanese.
I’ll be lying if I said I received the scholarship with my intellect, my power and my ability. When people ask me, I say it’s really a miracle. It made me realize that not only does God love me and care about my future, but it humbled me so much. It also made me realize how dependent I am on God and how to walk by faith daily. It is a gift from God himself; showing himself true and using this part of my life for His glory. And this is not the end; it’s simply the beginning. I’m sure it’s going to be one crazy, amazing adventure with Him.