Day Six has been a full day…recreational day but still packed with observations to pass on to you.
First of all, I’ve been reading my bible more extensively than usual…that’s not a comment meant to be anything but informational…I’m not trying to brag or spiritually posture myself in any way…with that said, I came across another word from the New Testament that can be translated in a manner that is faithful to the text as well as more “powerful” as well as prophetic in its challenge to a new way of living for us who are followers of Jesus…instead of translating “disciple”, the translation that I have been reading (The Voice) is suggesting that it can be translated as “emissary” (a person sent out on a special mission, sent out ones)….mmmm, interesting huh? We’ve been this path before - for example, instead of translating the word, “ekklesia” to church, we are seeing that a more faithful translation would be “assembly or gathering or even community”. Now, instead of using the word “disciple” when translating the word, “mathetes” (which is the greek word, meaning learner and student), contextually it might be best to say “emissary”. True, the English word “disciple” basically means “follower.” The Greek noun “mathetes”, however, comes from the verb “manthano”, which means “to learn.” Thus, a mathetes is primarily a learner, though being a follower is certainly included in its meaning…Yet the provocative part of this is that In Jewish life there was no such thing as a mathetes without a didaskalos (Greek, “teacher”)—the person the disciple learned from. And if Jesus is teaching His followers to be “apostolos” (sent out ones) it might be best to call them “learned emissaries” of the One that they follow. Think on that for a while!
Anyway, back to today in Miyota, Japan – a few observations:
1 – Slippers – people wear them everywhere. When you enter a home, you take off your shoe and put on slippers. When you enter a bathroom, sometimes even a public restroom, you take off your slippers to put on another pair of slippers that are purely for bathroom use. Lastly, when you are wearing your slippers through the house, once you walk on a carpet, you take off your slippers and wear ONLY your socks while your slippers stay at the door to the room with the carpet. Ah, this makes so much sense to my OCD heart!
2 – The Mall – Yep, that’s where I spent a few hours today. First of all, we are in a small city…far away from the touristy things that people do in Japan…no other “anglo” in the mall today…nobody spoke english…and I mean nobody. The mall is essentially “open”…there are a few stores but most of the stores are on the perimeter of bigger stores. I don’t know if it makes sense to you…maybe you would have to see it to get a sense of the place. Had lunch at McDonalds…why? Well, because NOBODY was at McDonalds at lunch…some of the people at the McDonalds counter who were working saw me, smiled and waved…maybe they saw an American and automatically felt like I belong at McDonalds…anyway, appeaser that I am, I went to McDonalds to make the staff happy…double cheeseburger and fries…regretted it later because I ran into the food court that had yummy looking Japanese food.
3 – Prayer Meeting tonight – weekly, the assembly of Christ-followers in Miyota have a prayer meeting…a couple of songs, a scripturally based testimony by one of the brethren and then some prayer time. I shared quite a bit about what I’ve picked up about the Haiti situation including the missionary couple that we support through our home church, Friendship Celebration. We prayed for the people of Haiti and the close to 500,000 that are suspected dead. It was fascinating to pray tonight with people and understand – they don’t understand me and I don’t understand them…but we are bound together in a common heart and spirit. That was cool…there is a “take home” lesson there someplace…instead of me preaching tonight, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
I don't know what to expect for tomorrow…didn't know what to expect from today either – so we'll see what the Lord has in store!
4 – Oh by the way, I mentioned a couple of days ago – the Japanese cars…I'm actually starting to get used to the fact that the Japanese love their cars and they have small enough vehicles that are inexpensive enough for people to drive them and park them anywhere. Our "hosts", Mr. Hirusan and Kazuko, have a Suzuki "van" that is kinda cool…small but PLENTY of interior room for five…plus small and light – probably great on gas…I know these types of cars wouldn't "make it" in the USA but they are fun nonetheless…here are few pics: