A Missionary’s Story:Nathan Williams – 4


From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

~ Luke 12:48


By reading the three previous articles you’ve seen how God has worked in the hearts of my previous generations to establish a family line that has lived to serve Him.  Among my relatives (both father’s and mother’s sides) are numerous pastors, missionaries, Christian educators, and many committed Christians who invested their lives and resources in the Kingdom of God.  Although none of them were perfect, the influence of those godly people (both living and dead) was a consistent influence throughout my formative years.

Nathan Williams

National Director
Global University Japan

 Family Life

Another great influence was a simple, Christ centered, large family life in the country.  My parents, six siblings and I lived in a simple house in central Minnesota, roughly 30 minutes drive from the nearest city.  As such we had to protect and provide for ourselves.  We lived a physically demanding life on a large property (10 acres = 40,468 sqm)), raising and butchering chickens for our meet, tending fruit and vegetables in our garden (nearly 1 acre = nearly 4,000 sqm), caring for other animals (a pony, large dog, rabbits, and occasionally a lamb or goat), and felling trees in the spring so we could cut and split the wood in the fall and heat our house with it in the winter.  I quickly learned that in order to eat, one must work.  Regardless of wild animals, drenching rain, extreme heat and humidity, blizzards, or -20 degree temperatures, there was work that must be done, including delivering newspapers which I usually did on horseback year round.  The demands of daily home life, school, homework, and church forced us to be good stewards of our time.

Father siblings and I working at home
Me chopping wood at home

 Christian Life

【Photo】Me chopping wood at home

Worshipping God and serving in our local Assemblies of God (A/G) church was the overarching priority of our lives.  Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday evening, if the church doors were open we were there.  Dad taught adult Sunday School and served in various leadership roles, Mom played the piano and ministered to children, my siblings and I were part of whatever our age group was doing.  Bible memorization, choir, youth group, playing my trumpet or French horn during worship, and teaching Sunday School were things I did during various stages of school age life.  One Sunday during a regular service God called me into the ministry but the specifics were unclear, I didn’t know what to do, so I continued my regular life.  Christian life was augmented by family devotions which consisted of reading a few Bible verses in the morning before leaving for school and reading a longer portion of Scripture after the evening meal.

At times the responsibilities of church, family, and school conflicted and we had to choose one or the other.  While making those decisions we were guided by verses such as, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col 3:17) and, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going” (Eccl 9:10).  By going through these experiences I learned that Christian Life didn’t consist of merely attending church but was something that we put into practice throughout each day – regardless of where we were – to please Our Lord.

 Adult Life

As high school graduation drew near I struggled with what I should do next.  I knew that God had called me to serve Him in some capacity but I was unsure about what, when, and how.  Since I was the fifth of seven children I knew that I wouldn’t receive any college money from my parents.  So I prayed about what to do and decided to join the US Navy.  That way I could travel around the world, hopefully go to Japan (a dream from early high school), and eventually receive a very generous college scholarship from the US military.  All of my objectives were achieved but God had a greater plan.  During my time in Japan, Yuka and I met at an international church in Kanagawa.  Yuka had become a Christian there a few years before my arrival on the scene.  We felt that God was leading us to get married and after much prayer and counsel from mature believers we got married at the same time my US Navy contract expired.

We moved to America and over the next few years our first two children were born, Yuka became accustomed to life in America, I worked in the business world, and I earned a Bible and Theology degree through Global University.  God used this season to mold us into a family that would seek Him and obey His will.  It was also during this time that God spoke individually to Yuka and I, giving each of us a burden to share the Gospel in Japan as missionaries with the A/G.

 Missionary Life

After completing AGWM training and the itineration process we finally arrived in Japan on June 11, 2001 as missionary associates to serve under Rev. Don & Mary Smith in Fukuoka, Japan.  Thanks to Yuka being raised in Japan and the experience and insight of the Smiths we successfully navigated our first three years as a missionary family.

During our next four year term I attended Japanese language school and established a linguistic foundation which has been useful (but still needs much improvement).  We believe that God led us to partner with Rev. Tomomichi & Kaori Mikami and have invested in the ministry of Sonrise church since 2006.

In 2015 Global University (GU) asked me to be the director of Global University Japan (GUJ).  After considering that GU offered no financial resources, we didn’t have any ourselves, and launching the ministry meant starting with absolutely nothing I said “No.”  The GU representative asked me to pray about it and I reluctantly agreed to do so.  Later that day I went home and prayed.  I closed my eyes, bowed my head, and said, “Dear Jesus, I told that GU man that I would pray.  However, I am not interested in anything that you might have to say about GU ministry.  Amen”  Thankfully we serve a very gracious God.  He spoke in my heart and said, “You seriously need to consider this.”  Suddenly I realized that God had prepared us for this ministry.  My A/G upbringing, military training, education, and experience plus Yuka’s education and business experience all added up to a unique set of qualifications to do this ministry.  So I contacted GU and told them that I would take the position.

Next I prayed again and said, “Dear God, You led me to say “Yes” to this ministry and I have.  However, I don’t have the financial resources to make it happen.  Previously I said “No” but since You led me to say “Yes” therefore You are responsible to make it happen.  You are the Master and I am the servant.  I need You to provide me with the necessary tools and resources.  If you don’t provide for this ministry, it won’t happen.  If you do provide, You get all the glory.  Amen”

GUJ office – beginning

What has followed is incredible.  God miraculously provided more than enough money to purchase a print-on-demand system and pay for training.  Since starting GUJ in 2017 we have launched the Japan School of Ministry, had over 250 students, roughly 100 students are active now, almost 30 students have earned ministerial credentials in either the US or Philippines A/G, we have translated multiple books into Japanese, updated others in Portuguese, helped launch AG Bible Academy Japan, and have printed over 9,000 books in various languages (Japanese, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Tagalog, Lao), and these books are being used Japan-wide in churches, by individuals, and even in prison ministry.  God deserves all the credit, glory, and praise.  He called, He provided, He sustains us now, and He will lead us in the future.

Texts of AG bible Academy


I’ve shared our story but how about you?  What has God done for you?  What does He want you to do for His glory?

I want you to do something right now.  Please hold up your arm so that your palm is at eye level and facing away from you.  Visualize a line that begins at your palm and stretches about 3 kilometers to the left.  Next visualize that the same line also stretches from your palm to the right, forever.  That entire line represents the entire history and future of humanity.  The width of your palm within that line represents your lifetime here on earth in comparison to the entire timeline of humanity.  That’s it, maybe 10 cm within the span of eternity.  I encourage you to ponder the extreme brevity of your life.  (Adapted from “12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You” by Tony Reinke)

Now ask yourself, “What should I do with this palm-width span of time?”  Also ask, “How can I make the best use of this time to please my Creator?”

Has the Creator has been calling you to obey Him?  I encourage you to do so.  Ask your Creator what He wants you to do.  Then do it.

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

                    (Quote from poem by C.T. Studd)

~ “For to me, to live is Christ” Phil 1:21


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