“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier”. –II Tim 2:4
The above verse is verse significant to me, as it was a point of Scripture that the Lord first used to dramatically change my spiritual path a few years ago. It was from that starting point that I believe the Holy Spirit did a great work in the life of my family, as well as in another close family. This world is all about temptation, and for a Christian to go on a single day without this on his/her mind is like a soldier forgetting that there may be enemies along his path. The Lord reminded me of this verse today, and it reminded me of where to keep my focus, of which I am thankful. Certainly, our Lord is a God that “keeps your foot from falling”, and knows our needs. The mission field has already taught me and Mia about how God can use totally different ways and ideas to minister, of which we need to be open-minded to, but also to not allow anything to become a stumbling-block for anyone, including ourselves. While praying I wanted to ask the Lord to send soldiers to reach the lost in Fukui, but then had to stop and realize who WE are. WE are the soldiers, and it is up to US to do the work. May we never forgot our role in the Lord’s kingdom, and always rely on the Lord for the strength and equipping that we need to reach the lost. Well anyway, I felt led to share that and I hope it encourages you, as it has me. But I’ll get on with the updates.
Recently, a new way of reaching-out to my students has been by use of holidays – Western ones. Many Japanese are interested in Western culture, and to share some of the history of certain holidays (Valentines, Easter, Christmas, etc), is becoming quite an open door. In particular, Eigetsu-san, my (now) one-on-one adult student, is still increasingly open to discussions about the Lord. Also, just like Mia and I have been able to use Japanese media sources to supplement our learning, I have also been able to use English media recently in my classes. Eigetsu has shown a lot of interest in Robert Sheffey, an American circuit-riding preacher from the 1800`s, who was known for his extraordinarily answered prayers. I am hoping we can get a copy of the movie and book, Sheffey and Brother Sheffey, respectively, over here soon to utilize, as printable material is hard to come by. Please continue to pray for Eigetsu-san’s salvation!
The weather here is making its first attempts to change to the warmer, spring weather, and Hannah and I got to take a bike ride during a peak chance of warm (enough) weather last week. On the way home, there were about half a dozen or so of some young school students, just finishing school and gathering in the park nearby. It didn’t stand out to me much at the time, but I had to leave for another set of classes shortly after that, and noticed them again while starting to drive away from our apartment. I felt led to witness to them, and I’m very glad I listened! I had extra rice sweets that had been prepared for my class that evening, and so I pulled the car over and got their attention. I was able to offer them each a snack, as well as gospel tracts. It sounds funny for me to say, but they were kind of in awe of a foreigner suddenly talking to them. I shared a small bit about what the tracts were about, and when I mentioned that they were about Jesus, one of them said, “Kiristo?”, acknowledging who I was talking about. We shared names, and soon after said goodbye. This may have not been much, but it was a milestone for us, as this was a first solo Japanese witnessing conversation, and it was extremely encouraging for me. My heart almost breaks sometime when I see all of the children walking home and thinking that probably not a single one of them knows the Lord. It is a wonderful thing to start seeing our language progress slowly catch-up to our burden.
Also, there may be another open door beginning to open with a lady named 河原さん (Kawahara), with whom we have had interactions with for several months. She is an amazing (and slightly eccentric) vocal and music teacher, who sometimes comes to our church in Matsuoka or the school to teach/perform. She went out of her way this past week to reach out to me to invite me and Mia to a musical event downtown that she was kind of heading. She was so excited to have us come that she even paid for our tickets in advance. Honestly, it’s been a long couple of weeks and we didn’t feel like going, but while the flesh may be weak, the spirit is willing, and we determined to go anyway. Again, I am so glad we went! We met her after the event, and she definitely wants to join us in practicing music, language, etc. She has shown interest in the gospel, and we are hoping for Mia to perhaps start a Bible-based English class with her, or something else similar. Please pray for her soul as well!
In closing, I appreciate your continued prayers for my mom. And thank you as well to SO many of you for sending cards of encouragement – they were definitely so. My mom isn’t through it yet, and still things are uncertain, but I know our God has been reminded by so many people about her situation, and I trust in whatever decision he allows for her health. I’m turning 30 this year, and we are often surprised by my own health at still a young age (comparatively speaking, I suppose!), and it’s wonderful to know that our God is not just Saviour God, Sustainer God, and Teacher God, but he is also the Creator God, and personally knows each and every part of our bodies, for we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. As we pray for some of you for your health, too, know also that He is IN CONTROL. Praise the Lord for all that he is and all that he does.