It was an interesting day, to say the least. We started the day with a trip to the largest Buddhist temple in Japan, the Asakusa Temple. It’s a place guarded by temple deities (large scary statues). The roof of the temple has a black dragon painted on it. We arrived in time to see a ceremony going on much the same as the ceremony I got on video last year. I managed to get back into the back before hand, so I was in a great spot. Monks came out and kept the rest of our team from coming back where I was. I read Scriptures out loud during the ceremony. Not in a disruptive way, but in a way that made sure the Word was spoken. Lindsey did the same, as did most of our team. We covered the temple in prayer and Scripture, asking God to bring Truth and Life to the people of Japan. As I read, God brought to mind Isaiah 55:11, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” I knew that He was going to take His Word and do something special with it. And when He brought that to my mind, He also led me to leave my Bible there in the back where the Buddhist monks were walking back and forth. So, I left my Bible there knowing that God intends for someone to pick it up.
The temple is a very dark place, shrouded in a dreadful feeling of hopelessness as people try to manipulate fate through piety to gain a better future for themselves, resembling the same thing people do in America even though it looks MUCH different in practice. In theory, many try to manipulate God or fate to provide themselves hope and a future. As I stood in the temple and read Judges 2, I was reminded in that passage of a truth for us: ” “Because this nation has violated the covenant that I laid down for their forefathers and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did.” So my prayer become that the Japanese people would allow God to change their hearts and turn them to Him. Prayer is a beginning place, but the bottom line is that without a change of heart, people don’t come to faith. And until they come to faith, they have no hope and no future. Join us in praying for them.
From the temple, we made it to a Turkish restaurant that does KaBobs and Doners. I had a beef doner AND most of Lindsey’s chicken doner! They are thinly sliced meat & pita pockets with lettuce, tomato, and a spicy dressing Good stuff.
After lunch, the teams dispersed to our train stations for 5 Minute English. Kaitlyn and I are on the same team, along with 6 others from Paramount. We took up our spot at the Musashi-Koganei station and started 2 hours of sharing with anyone who would listen. We had some good conversations. I handed out 5 “comic book” Bibles, called Manga. Kaitlyn handed some out, too. We shared with all ages and kinds of people. Kaitlyn’s highlight was one specific conversation she had. Here’s her version of the story:
Kaitlyn: “My coolest part of the day was getting to talk to a businessman. It was near the end of the day and we were packing up. There was a businessman walking down the other side of the sidewalk. I smiled at him and asked if he wanted to practice English with me. I didnâ€™t expect him to come over, but he did. He came over and asked me what I was doing. I told him if he wanted to he could practice his English with me. We started talking, and I gave him a Hope Tract. He asked me what hope was and why we chose that word for the tract. I told him Jesus is the hope, and He gives us hope because He died for us. He responded in awe. We wrapped up our conversation with me giving him a Gospel of John book and he said he would read it! It was a God-thing! I was shocked that he talked with me, but afterward, I was excited that he would read the Gospel of John.”
Be praying for the man Kaitlyn shared with, and with all the people who got Bibles from us today. Pray for many to be saved through what was shared with them.
Another team member made a new friend today that I will tell you more about later. But be praying. God knows the details, and we will share more in person when we get home.
I’m sure that the others have stories to tell, but they are already asleep! It was a LONG day. Tomorrow will be even more so. We will travel for an hour and a half to a park to gather with other believers to worship. Then, after lunch, we will do park evangelism, playing American football, Frisbee, face-painting, and hopefully more connections and conversations with new friends. Be praying for us as we will do A LOT of walking and A LOT of connecting!
Thanks for your continued prayer for us. Amazing things are happening! I’ll try to get the Mackenzie, Machenzee, and Mario stories for tomorrow!