We've been back from Japan for nearly 3 weeks and yet my heavy heart for the nation of Japan remains. Our week Japan simply felt too short. We accomplished so much in such a short amount of time but there was so much more I wanted to show the team. The need is so enormous that I felt we missed so much. At the same time I must say our “mission” was indeed successful.
Our goal was two-fold. 1. To see the gospel need of Japan firsthand. 2. To search out a potential partnership in Japan to help establish the local church and further the gospel.
John Evans, an Aussie pastor I’ve been talking to via email and skype for quite sometime, wasn’t just a viable option as a partner but proved to be a true God-fearing disciple of Christ. John fit right in with our team and we all agreed that it felt as though we’d known him for years. John is very relational and this came out in his constant attempts to not only befriend our team of 5 but also many of the Japanese people we met along the way. His Japanese, much like mine, is far from perfect but his boldness in talking to friends or strangers alike was encouraging. John’s plan for a future church plant in Chiba City is as solid as they come. He has a clear calling and conviction from the Lord and understands the enormous need in Japan. I look forward to partnering with John Evans and his family of seven however possible in the future.
As far the need of Japan is concerned I was once again overwhelmed as I observe the desolation that is the heart’s of the Japanese. Never before have I felt so clearly that I was walking among the dead. It may sound harsh but I felt as though many Japanese are similar to Jesus’ description of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:37 when he says to them, “…For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”
Japan is so clean and beautiful as a nation. The people are so well put together. From the outside looking in it is initially difficult to see any problems at all but over time you begin to see through the guise. The Japanese want to be viewed with honor. They want to be seen a certain way by others but I fear the “projected self” is slowly killing the “real self”.
I could not begin to capture the depths of the spiritual, social and emotional needs of the Japanese but I encourage to spend just one week browsing and reading about the suicide rate, the depression rate, the Japanese family, Japanese social habits, etc. and I can assure you that in time you will see how badly the gospel is needed in the land of the rising sun.
Only the message of Christ can tear down the colossal pride and heal the many wounds.
Would you continue praying for the Japanese? Would you consider visiting Japan yourself?
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