Spotlight: Member of the Class of 2018 Headed for Japan

April 19, 2018

David Thorsen is a member of the Class of 2018 graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Studies (ICS). Originally from Stavanger, Norway, David has been appointed by the Norwegian Lutheran Mission with whom he interned last summer in Japan, to serve in Japan long term. Thorsen has ministered to Japanese immigrants in Columbia during his time at CIU. He talks about his future in this Q&A:

Why did you choose CIU for a degree in Intercultural Studies?
I knew I wanted to study something I could use for full-time ministry. There are a few schools where I could have done this in Norway, but Norway has a very small population and very few practicing Christians. I therefore thought that a Christian university in America would be more resourceful and might therefore also offer a better education. I also really like that CIU is a multidenominational school. I felt called to do missionary work in Japan and ICS was the major that would probably be the most helpful for that calling.

You’ve been appointed by the Norwegian Lutheran Mission to serve long-term in Japan. How did you become interested in ministering to the Japanese?
It is actually a rather funny story. During my last year of high school we had to watch a movie that was set in Tokyo, Japan. The movie portrayed Japan as a very loud and stressful place. After watching it I told myself and God, that if there is one country I did not want to live in, it was Japan. Less than a year later I heard about a one-year internship program with Norwegian Lutheran Mission, which I applied for. I did not specify which country I would like to be placed in, but I assumed someone else would probably request Japan. A few months later they asked me if I wanted to go to Japan, and I said yes, thinking I could probably survive one year. I thought I would probably never go back again. During my one year there, God placed a love for the country and the people in my heart. A few years later my heart for Japan continued to grow and I felt a strong calling to serve as a missionary there long term.

Describe your internship last summer. How did it help you in determining your long-term plans?

I did an internship at Lifehouse Kobe, which is an international church in West Japan. They are part of a church movement called Lifehouse Global, and are one of the fastest growing and most successful churches in Japan. The purpose of my internship was primarily to observe, but also to participate in their community and help with whatever they needed. Through this internship I learned a lot about church planting in Japan, and was able to see firsthand that it is possible to make an impact with the gospel in this country.

Describe your ministry to Japanese immigrants in Columbia during you time at CIU.

I have been helping a ministry for Japanese English students that is led by a Japanese couple who are here as missionaries. We have a Bible study for them every other Friday and have other fun activities the other weekends. I have met weekly for one-on-one as a conversation partner with several guys, and even brought some of them to church with me. One of the things that helped me confirm my calling to Japan, is that most of these exchange students are from a university that will be less than one hour away from where I will be living in Japan.

What will your ministry in Japan look like?
For the two first years I will be a full-time language student. After these two years I will be assigned more specific tasks, most likely a ministry toward young people. I have also been asked to be involved in media/video work creating Christian media resources. One of my goals is to help the Japanese believers reach out to college students and young professionals. These two groups seem to be the most open to the gospel, but very little is currently done to reach them.

What are some specific ways that CIU and the ICS major has prepared you for your future?
CIU has helped me to develop a healthy and biblical missiology. By having many different teachers from various denominations and backgrounds, I feel like I have received a very balanced education. I also appreciate some of the non-ICS classes such as General Psychology, English Literature, Philosophy, and many of the Bible classes. Taking so many classes in different fields has made me see things in a bigger perspective and realize how different fields of study fit together and gives me a greater picture of God’s character, not only through the Bible, but also through His creation.

Read about CIU’s spring commencement for the Class of 2018 here.

Discover more about Intercultural Studies and other programs here or call (800) 777-2227, ext. 5024. CIU is experiencing growth in enrollment and has announced $25 million in expansion plans for the campus. CIU is accredited by SACS-COC.