With 5:30 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. departure times coupled with late evening returns, it has been challenging to blog the last couple of days. To recap, God has poured out his blessings in so many ways from providing water bottles when we least expected them but needed them the most to seeing over 100+ people walk forward to receive Christ at the Will Graham "Hope Fukushima" Crusade! What a site to see in a beautiful 1800 seat special event venue as Will Graham extended an invitation to receive Christ and people left their seats to walk forward. A goose bump moment in a country where less than half a percent of the population is Christian.
Team 1 Discipleship Group has been very busy meeting with Bible Study groups in public places such as Starbucks to discuss the Bible and Christianity, meeting with Japanese businessmen to build bridges of friendship, and Dustin Sandlin shared his testimony at a Homeless Ministry at Yoyogi Park Side Walk Chapel where over 60 people attended.
Team 2 Teeny Tykes and Tunes has been on the run planting seeds of love and hope in Koriyama, an area hard hit from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster. We attended chapel service at Koriyama Christ Church where we were treated to a beautiful pre-school service with songs sung in Japanese and English. The children presented us with special hand made gifts and a closing marching band performance that would rival any East Cobb High School Marching Band;-) Adorable beyond words! After Chapel we did a Teeny Tykes and Tunes class. The school had invited prospective families to attend and participate who were not Christians and heard the hope that is in Jesus.
During the afternoon, Team 2 canvased the Koriyama Temporary Housing distributing flyers about the Will Graham "Hope Fukushima" Festival and Crusade. This was an afternoon when you could feel the oppression, sadness and suffering these people have endured losing their homes and being displaced. They will probably never be able to return to their homes and retrieve their belongings because of the radiation. Local pastors were on hand for translating and connecting with the people in the displaced persons camp.
Pamela Vandewalker and TTT Team presented the TTT curriculum to a group of young moms who are part of a play group and want to use it as an outreach tool in their community. In Futago Tamagawa, we presented TTT at Grace International Learning Center to Kindergartners. Following, the school founder, Susan Chiwata, shared with us her "God Story" about how the school came to be. She felt the Lord wanted her to open a school but needed a place. The house next door to hers came available and she prayed if the Lord would give her that house, she would give it back to Him and that is exactly what happened. Susan glowed as she shared her story with us over Dominos Pizza!!!! That's right! A taste of home!
On a personal note, I had a divine appointment on the subway with an elderly gentlemen who was looking at my bracelet with a cross and John 3:16 in Japanese. I felt him looking at it and turned to smile at him at which point HE struck up a conversation in English! He asked where I was from,is it my first time in Japan, and what brought me to here. As the conversation progressed, he told me about his wife, children, grandchildren and his love for American Jazz and old American standards. At which point, he pulled out of a Route 66 tote bag a list of songs he likes to sings. We shared a mutual love of music! As I pointed to my bracelet, I asked him if he had a faith to which he replied he was Buddhist. He shared his sister was Catholic. We arrived at his train stop and I told him how much I enjoyed talking to him and I wanted to give him something. So I took off my bracelet and gave it to him. He warmly smiled at me, bowed, took the bracelet and left the train.
Blessings come in small and large packages!
Prayer Requests. Thank you all for praying for us! We are all healthy, but just a little tired. We ask that you pray for the Will Graham Hope Fukushima Crusade today as we return to Fukushima that many people will be drawn to Jesus as the gospel is proclaimed.
Blessings from Japan!