This morning, my day was made both super joyful and super relaxing by a delicious and perfectly proportioned breakfast on the beach here.
Now I love the beach.
And I really love the beach in Hamamatsu.
It’s a total throwback to a childhood spent barefoot and sea-swimming on Devon’s beaches. Only here, the sun is hot and the water is warm. And a few surfers were out today when the wind picked up, and actually catching some nice gentle waves. Just stunning.
How can you not worship God when just the blessings of His creation are so sweet?
I then had an afternoon Italian feast (I know, how much Italian food do I actually eat in Japan?!) with the girls before Erin and Jamie flew back to the US today. Happy, full-to-bursting, eating times.
And in my quiet moments of the day, I’ve also been continuing my reading of ‘Shutting Out the Sun’, which I have now completed! (Woop, woop!) And I’ll say it again: it was fascinating.
The last third of the book included a comparison between the sociological, economic and ideological development of Japan and South Korea. The completely interesting thing for me was that the writer, who is an American Jew, writing from a secular sociological perspective, actually drew Christianity and the growth of the South Korean church into his analysis in a big way.
He concludes this chapter of his book,
In my somewhat conventional coverage of the political and economic character of these two competing societies while working as a journalist, it had never dawned on me that the role religion played could prove so decisive in altering a people’s attitudes towards self esteem, individuation or communal responsibility. Nothing in my background or disposition as an American Jew prepared me to accept that the rise of Western religion – especially the Protestant church – had served as a vital force, crucial in transforming South Korean society. It may be too simple to argue that exposure to Christianity alone has changed Korean consciousness. Yet the churches have coached the Korean people in forming social networks, building trust amongst strangers and accepting universal ethics and individualism in ways that served as powerful antidotes to the autocratic worldview that their grandparents – and indeed the Japanese – had been taught. (Michael Zielenziger)
Japan has many needs and some of them, such as the hikikomori phenomenon seem very unique. But there is power in prayer and the movement of the Holy Spirit that can’t be ignored and provides hope, even in the most seemingly hopeless of situations.
A few personal prayer points also.
I’ve just got the reading list and preparation through for my next Masters week through for the end of August and there’s quite a lot to do. Please pray that I can find the time and clear the space to do this well over Monday and Tuesday and for no stress about the tight timings.
I’m visiting a couple of language schools or centres next week, which is one possible route for the near future in order to get my Japanese fluency better. Please pray as the longer term plans begin to take shape that I would be obedient to God on His timings, and hear His direction.
Finally, the couple I am staying with here have such a full and often busy house and give out to a lot of people. Please pray that I would just be a blessing to them over my time here, and be very faithful to pray for them, the church, and their ministry here.
And now I’m off to a church prayer meeting to continue to invest into this precious church fellowship that is becoming so dear to me!
Thank you everybody! Missing and loving you!!