This morning got off to a great start with a full English breakfast.
In this hotel:
I know, I know, I’m in Japan… But I’ve got two days to make the most of a hotel posh enough to import ‘proper’ bacon and Kellogg’s cornflakes! 😉 This is where I’m at:
That’s even proper English breakfast tea. My waiter laughed at me when he offered it, and I instinctively went, ‘Oh wow! You have normal tea.’ Very politically correct Peta. In Japan green tea is normal tea.
It was another stunning day here, and as my meetings didn’t start till lunchtime today I had a leisurely morning of prayer and worship around Kyoto city. I ended up at Higashihonganji temple (try and say that fast!) and as many people were there praying, I did my own devotional time. So I sang ‘We Are’ by Kari Jobe and ‘Lovesick’ by Luke Wood over this precious city and prayed for more opportunities to be the fragrance of Jesus here. I was so moved by those song lyrics ‘It’s the joy of being lovesick’ talking about our longing for the return of Jesus and the way in which loving Him captivates us. I just was so moved to pray that over this land. That many would know that joy of being lovesick for Jesus. Both completely satisfied in Him, but also longing for His Kingship to make the wrong things right.
I was training this afternoon at a non profit organisation in Osaka, so on my commute over I stopped for a Starbucks… This made me actually LOL… I love how Japanese people interpret my name in a variety of weird and wonderful ways:
That’s me: Pitter-san!
I then met Maiko half way to the centre. And we had an amazing conversation on the journey. She had left some papers at the home stay I was in for my time in Nara yesterday and had popped by last night. Hara and her brother were there and they were talking about my faith, devotional life and the card I wrote them. Maiko said it began a huge conversation about God, and they had said that having me stay with them had really made them stop and rethink their beliefs about God.
Seriously. Wow God!
Rethinking means Holy Spirit is heart-stirring!
Hara had commented that she felt I had a ‘depth and ‘maturity’ and ‘virtue’ because of spending time in prayer each day. That I had a deep joy and peace. They said they felt these things from my nature or what they called my ‘aura’, which is just total glory to God because it clearly wasn’t down to my language ability!! And truthfully, it’s so humbling that Holy Spirit can use you when you feel so totally inadequate. Because I did!! They had lots of questions about God that they couldn’t ask, but Maiko said they were the same as her questions so she would ask me and then talk to them again. Questions like ‘If there’s a God then why is there suffering?’ ‘Do all religions not just lead to the same place?’ ‘What is about Jesus that makes Christianity different?’ I got to explain the full Gospel today. I love it! Talking about Jesus is my favourite thing!! It was also great because I got to explain the Gospel in a way that was contextually relevant. Like, talking about God bringing harmony in our relationship to Him through Jesus, and talking about prayer and worship making the permanent connection between us and God because of forgiveness. Maiko was explaining that she had read a theory about a ‘god’ being inside us and enabling us to connect to the ‘god’ outside of the us, which was the best lead in I could have ever had to explaining the Holy Spirit, and the way that God had done everything to be close to us. I’m learning a lot about explaining the full and true Gospel message, using a language that can be understood by the Japanese people I meet. And it’s challenging for me too, because it helps me think though what is Biblical truth as opposed the my cultural interpretation. Jesus is such a beautiful Name to declare as the one way, one truth and one life in every tribe and tongue!
Please pray for these wonderful people!! That Holy Spirit would speak where I can not.
So I then went to the youth centre in time to take part in an English class for some of the cutest kids you have ever seen. We danced the makerina and then they performed Rakugo in English for me. Seriously, I wish my Japanese was as good as these kids English ability:
And finally, I did some training for some of the centre staff and committee, which again, was just blessed. I am so moved by a God who equips you for everything He calls you to, even, or especially when you feel so completely out of your depth! These are some of the youth centre staff:
So now, I’m on the train back to Kyoto, thankful, tired, ready for a good meal and a good sleep. Tomorrow I am spending the day with Kyoto Youth Services before heading back to Hamamatsu in time for the evening service.
I am so blessed by my time here. So moved. So marked. Thank You Jesus for Your incredible care and abundant love. To You is all the glory. All of it. That passage about us being simply jars of clay filled with His treasure alone has never been so real to me.