After ten years, there are still lots of moments when I stop and wonder just how it is that God, in His infinite wisdom, chose us, to "go out into the world" and help spread His word. Just another in the long line of examples that He does not choose the equipped, rather He equips those He chooses!
As in all things in life our experiences here have their ebb and flow. There are times when there are many, many people joining in the activities we hold/help with, and times when we think maybe we must've forgotten to tell anyone else. It's the life of a missionary. And although we still have to remind ourselves once in awhile, it's all part of God's big picture. He uses every single opportunity to achieve His purpose and we are merely vessels He places in His plan. Whether the group is many or few God is always there!
The Tuesday Bible Study that John leads was the two of us, the Pastor's wife and one church member when we first came to Nagano. In time it grew to more than 20 regular attendees! Recently it has dwindled some for several different reasons; transfers, kids schedules, health issues, work schedules... In the group that regularly attends now there are a few that have been coming for several years. At least four members, that are not yet Christian, really believe in the Bible and the story it tells, yet for different reasons haven't taken the "leap of faith" to become Christian. We continually pray for each one.
For John it sometimes gets very personal. (Not only for the Tuesday group but also the Sunday service he leads) Meaning that he listens to them each week and watches them and how they respond and react to the readings and to their questions and answers. He spends lots of time with God to determine how to deliver the message each week to reach the members and help them hear the answers they are searching for.
Sometimes God gives him a glimpse of the positive difference he is making. This week was one of those times. He shared with me how the day's message had touched the group, and one member in particular. She became emotional and felt she should excuse herself. This is a normal response here. Emotion is not something openly expressed as a rule. As she got up to go out, John got up, walked over and told her he thought she just needed a hug - and gave her one - then sat back down..... and so did she! She DID need that hug! That reassurance. God's love! She thanked him later and told him how much it means to her to be there each week and how it is helping her in her daily life.
I wanted to share this with you because I know it is often a struggle to realize that in Japan missionaries are needed and make a difference. For this person, on this day, one missionary made a difference! A postive difference in letting her experience God.
We thank you each for the prayers you pray for us and what we are here for. Every single prayer makes a difference! God hears them all.
Wishing you blessings,
as we are, walking before Him