Tokyo – Day 1

I’m sitting above Shibuya’s famous train station/intersection, sipping on a Starbuck’s Americano as I watch 1,000’s of people 20′ below me pass through the busiest intersection in the world. If I remember right, over 1,000,000 people pass through here each day. I’m a little jet lagged AND I miss my family, but God reminds me that these feeling are temporary. He reminds me that the people I am watching have a condition that is much more dire.
Although its my second time to visit Tokyo, this is a much different trip than the first. During my first trip, my primary responsibility was to disciple/teach students on church planting and relationship evangelism. I was an equipper for the ones on the front line. This trip, I’m on the front line, doing connection point relationship building and evangelism in neighborhoods, train stations, and parks. During the first trip, there were 100 students and several sponsors. This trip, there’s 26 of us, including 7 adults. 6 of the students here are from THF.
The sea of lostness that stretches out before me is overwhelming. I mean, Tokyo is an overwhelming place anyway, with a population equivalent to the entire State of California, it’s a tight fit to get all 35 million people into a city roughly the size of Metro Houston! It’s very easy to be overwhelmed by the city itself. The thing that strikes me most, though, and evokes the deepest sense of urgency, is to look people in the eye as they walk by knowing that most of them have never even heard of Jesus. Less than 1% of the population here is Christian. My constant prayer today has been that God would change that. I’m praying that the people here would become acutely aware of the predicament and come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. I’m asking you to join me in that prayer as well.
As I watched my students today, it occurred to me how simple it is to share our faith with people. Start a conversation and share when you can. Pretty Simple. But, you know, it’s the same at home! Why don’t we do that at home? Why don’t we share more, share often overwhelmed by the human condition and need for Jesus? Why don’t we have a sense of urgency because time is short? Why don’t we feel drive to reach our friends and family like we’re driven to reach the nations?
There’s probably not a decent answer to these questions, except to say, we ought to be. We ought to be.

Parents of our kiddos: your kids did GREAT today! They are engaging people, sharing their faith, prayer walking, and making a kingdom difference. I already see that you will be getting a different student home than the one you sent on this trip. Thanks for praying!

Here’s a heads-up for tomorrow (later this evening for y’all), we will be prayer walking the largest Shinto/Buddhist temple in Japan in just over 12 hours. Pray with us. Pray for God’s Spirit to go before us and to give us opportunity to share as light in the darkness. It’s a moving experience that I believe will change your student FOREVER.


Pre-Tokyo Update

We are 4 hours from departing for the airport, and 6.5 hours from taking off on our adventure to Tokyo. There are 7 of us from THF making this trek: Myself, Kyle Plumlee, Lindsey Cowan (McEachern), Mario Jimenez, Mackenzie Martindale, Machenzee Clevenger, and Kaitlyn Creel. We covet your prayers, and take comfort in knowing that the THF faithful will be praying for us daily.

I will be sending daily updates once we get into the swing of things. For most of our team, this is their first time to travel internationally, and even more of our team’s first time to Japan. I will try to make sure you hear from them, as well, about their experiences. Remember, though, that Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of Lubbock, so bear with us as we try to get the updates out for you to read during that same day.

The work we will be doing is a little different than our trips to closed
countries. In Japan, we can openly share The Good News, so I encourage you to forward our updates. However, for the security of our people on the ground in Tokyo, I will be intentionally leaving out details that might cause awkward situations for them.

One last thing, please help spread the word that there will not be our normal Youth Gatherings tonight or next Wednesday. On Wednesday, July 14, we will be taking a trip to Super Summer. Details are on the web site and at the youth table in the Mall. If students are interested, they need to e-mail me as we have limited space to transport students.

Thanks for all you do for the kingdom!
Youth Pastor, THF