Good evening all…I'm making my last post for the Japan trip…I'll be sleeping tonight and then waking up in the morning and getting on the train to get to the airport. Of course, I'll be doing that alone so MY adventure continues because I have to take two trains and have a transfer at one of the busiest train stations in the world. So, I have a few hours by train to get to the airport and then the LONG trip home. Interesting – I leave Japan on Monday @ 4:30pm and get home to Boise @ 8pm on Monday…crazy to figure that out! Bring it on jet lag!
Today, a casual walk to the worship experience that began @ 10:30am at the assembly's building in Miyota. Mike and I walked by an old Buddhist shrine – has to be over 200 years old…it is still weird to see these shrines throughout the country…there were offerings left at small altars around the shrine…money, bottles of Sake, small statuettes of gods. It reminds you that the predominant culture here in Japan in Buddhist…and that less than 1% are followers of Jesus…living their "mission-al and alice's" lifestyle among people who need to see the truth of God and experience the life of the Kingdom.
Big on the personal side of life was a powerful email from my wife – I have had much time to meditate and contemplate what God is doing in our lives…and with word inspired by the Holy Spirit, Vicky wrote:
This is what God gave me this morning…..As you have said before, you're a change agent for God and His Word! I believe and God has told me He has wired you up THIS WAY and wants you to be who He made you as His Pastor….ministering and speaking, and teaching what He whats you to. You need only be faithful in LISTENING, PRAYING and using the knowledge and gifts He's given you! As we've talked about….you can't measure the Holy Spirit! God is pleased with you and HE REMAINS IN CONTROL! We are here (in Boise…."for such a time as this"!
To say the least, that word was a sweet refreshment from the Lord. After that, the Worship experience began…I decided that I would share a scripture from Galatians 6 (“reap what you sow”) and pray in the midst of the gathering…even though people didn't understand English, we were all on the same page…remember, this worship service goes an hour – then they take a 5 minute break – then there is a testimony time that goes 1 1/2 hours, ending with a song THEN lunch together…a full day of fellowship in the Lord.
The message was based on Psalms 56 and 62 – we were challenged to trust in God during hard times (mm, how appropriate) – there were over 30 sections of scripture today during the worship experience – these people know the bible because they read it together. That was a good lesson to be reminded of…
Tonight was my "farewell" meal of Shabu Shabu…oh my…Shabu Shabu is Shabu-licious. Here's a picture. I have to say thanks to the Lord, to the Schmeckpepers, my new Japanese friends, Mikey Schmeckpeper and especially my wife for the encouragement to take this journey…it has been as much of a personal spiritual retreat as it has been a powerful time of learning, listening and growing.
Thanks for following on the blog…keep coming back…more thoughts, teaching, reflections and challenges to come!