One chilly October Saturday in rural northern Hokkaido our family went to a garden school. It was run by local farmers to show families how to plant and grow all kinds of vegetables. We worked with other families heaving a dozen or so sacks of potatoes into a great heap. We dumped slabs of earth around them and covered the lot with armfuls of straw. Then we left the potatoes to be buried by the coming snow. We almost forgot them over the winter while they were gradually getting sweeter (so the farmers said).
Then in March we went back to the farm to help dig out the potatoes. After we’d shared them out and people were leaving for home, a tall, well-built guy in his 20s introduced himself to me. His name was Riku*, a Japan Self-Defense Force officer stationed in our small city.
“So what brings you here?” he asked.
“We’re missionaries. We’re starting a new church.”
“Can I visit your church?”
“Of course! Here’s my business card. It’ll be great to see you there.”
He replied, “Okay, see you tomorrow.”
I could hardly believe this was happening in Japan! Riku did come to our church—his very first time to visit a church—the following day. He listened carefully to the sermon, enjoyed meeting everyone, and said he’d like to come back. After meeting Riku a few more times he agreed to study the Bible with me. I shared the gospel with him in the months before he was posted to Tokyo. Two years later I met up with him in Tokyo and he told me how much he’d appreciated visiting our church in Hokkaido. I encouraged him to continue reading the Bible and investigating the gospel.
I’d love to be able to say that Riku believed and is part of a church in Tokyo. But I’m still praying and waiting to see what the Lord will do in his life.
We got to sample some of the potatoes we sowed at the garden school. It’s true—the ones that were hidden under snow for months really did taste sweeter.
Gospel work takes time and patience in Japan. But the Lord of the harvest really is at work!
By Tim, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray for all those in Japan who have heard the gospel, yet not believed. Pray they will take a step closer to believing.
- Pray that Christians in Japan will always be ready to tell about their faith.
- Pray that churches and missionaries in rural areas won’t be discouraged as people often move out of their areas.