It’s Monday night in Nasu, Japan, and Calvin and I just got back from my favorite onsen (hotsprings) here in Nasu, 那須山 (Nasuzan). We were at the old warehouse for several hours today doing inventory of dozens of boxes received from a church in Koriyama. After a lot of めんどくさい (bothersome) counting and sorting we finished just in time to come home to ハヤシライス (Hayashi Rice) made by our own Yuji Hayashi! Today, I was also taught how to drive stick shift by my base leader Scot. I learned in a 1.5 ton truck! I only stalled 3 times, unfortunately all on a busy road. He said that I caught on real quick though. After I learn Cal and I will be able to transport smaller shipments to other CRASH bases and churches.
Sunday was one of my best days yet in Nasu. The night before, Yoko-san had asked Calvin and I if we could play special music, so we played 「主の恵みはとこしえまで」, the song below this post. Although my voice was half gone, God used our music to be a blessing to the church. I would love all of Japan to learn that song. After some tea, we went to the church cemetery to weed. Right next to the church grave was a Buddhist cemetery where many of the graves had cracked and tumbled over due to the earthquake. However the Christian gravestone was completely intact. It reminded me of the ark of the covenant in the Midianite camp in Judges when Gideon and his army is trying to return it. God had caused the idols to fall down in front of the ark.
Later that afternoon, Calvin and I took a train and bus to Big Pallet to see our high school friends, Taira, Yutaka, and Toshinubu, who live in the evacuation center there. I was overjoyed to see their smiling faces again. They had two friends, Naoki and Koumei, who already moved away from Big Pallet into homes provided for them. We played with the frisbee I brought for a while, then some soccer keep away. After working up an appetite we walked to a 回転寿司 (Conveyor Belt Sushi) restaurant and ate to our hearts content. Before we started eating, I asked them i I could pray for God’s blessing on the food and for them. They all agreed, so I prayed in Japanese. I talked a little bit about God and my faith. More than anything else, I wanted them to see God’s love through our words and actions yesterday. They are some of the most happiest high schoolers I’ve ever seen and I long more than anything for them to experience God’s love for themselves. My prayer is that God will continue to knock on the door of their hearts until they let Him in! Before we left, they asked when we were going to come back. I said hopefully next weekend if we could.
One guy’s dad, Toshinobu, works at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. He says that he is gone for two weeks and can only come home for one day. Although he says his dad is rather safe, Toshinobu says he misses his dad. My heart went out to him. Please pray for Taira, Yutaka, and Toshinobu. Also remember Toshinobu’s dad who works in the nuclear power plant.
On Thursday through Saturday, had an unexpected time to hang out and talk with Josh Spangler, a friend from Toccoa Falls! I was encouraged by talking and sharing with him. He is here with a prayer team visiting different CRASH bases and evacuation centers to pray and worship there. Three TFC people in Nasu, Japan! I don’t think that will ever happen again ;)
I am blessed beyond measure to be serving God in Japan this summer. Although there are days when I am weary, every day my heart is full. Thank you to all who are praying for me and my awesome team mate Calvin. God continues to open hearts of people and doors for ministry here. The harvest is coming.