Today I attended church with my JTE, Michiko. One of the first things I noticed was that the church was so friendly, they seemed like they really wanted to know me. Another thing I noticed was that they seemed to have missionaries everywhere. They had two from Germany, one from Washington and another from Korea.
Today was the woman from Korea’s first day, mine as well. So they asked us to do a “jikoshokai” (self introduction). We did. Hers was drawn out and I’m sure, in perfect Japanese. Mine was a few sentences and in ok Japanese, except when I tried to tell them I had come from Oregon and I couldn’t remember which verb I was supposed to use (come, go, return?). Everyone seemed to appreciate my effort though which made it worth it.
It amazed me that this fairly small church was so excited about reaching people who don’t know Jesus. They have so many long-term missionaries because they want to reach the surrounding areas and start churches in them.
They asked us to pray for the new churches they want to begin. They also have an event next month that they are trying to invite people into, they asked us to pray. I felt like we were actually a part of preparing for the ministry which was super exciting.
Another thing to love about all the missionaries . . . translation!! This was the first sermon in Japan which I have understood, this trip.
Today they were working on the book of Numbers 8. Apparently, they are reading through the Bible, chapter by chapter. The pastor had three main points. God is the center; we have to follow him, not the other way around. We are chosen by God, not because we have some super abilities, but because he wants to use us. We have to let go of things that are holding us back from him, so that we can be free to do what he has called us to do. We have to share God’s love and pray for others to understand it.
Afterwards, we had lunch and I got to talk to the missionary who is from America for a little while as many Japanese people who were all incredibly friendly. I made friends with many of the young children and we ran around being silly and playing games.
Today was special because a couple had just gotten married in the church. (They’re the same age as me, so weird!) They had a wedding shower, since most of the church members had not been able to attend their wedding (it was where the couple had grown up). I loved getting to be a part of blessing the couple and seeing how much this church loves these two. They included me in the whole celebration. The youth group acted out this couple’s story. Apparently they had known each other since childhood and the Lord had brought them together. It was an incredibly sweet story.
At the end, I had to say goodbye to my new friends and promise I would come back in a couple of weeks, since I already made plans for next weekend.
The Lord has blessed me so much.