It’s crazy how God works sometimes. I guess we should expect it, since throughout the Bible God does things in what we consider unusual ways. Take Noah and the ark, or Abraham and Isaac for example. Yet God continues to surprise me.
Indeed, God surprised me by opening up the way for me to come here to Hirosaki, northern Japan, from the UK, to be an assistant to a long-term missionary. Through this I have had many opportunities to serve in the local church and build connections with Japanese people.
Advent was a busy season in the Hirosaki church, with lots of preparation and events. There were many events, and lots of baking to prepare for each event.
One Saturday I’d had a busy morning helping with a cooking class for some ladies. I really struggled to keep up with the fast-paced Japanese language and to engage in conversation with them. I was thinking, “God, am I really able to do this? If I can’t answer a simple question, how will I ever be able to talk to the people here?”
The afternoon consisted of more baking for an event to be held later that evening. By the time the evening came round, I had spent at least six hours in the kitchen and I was tired and wanted to sit down and recharge. I didn’t feel ready to initiate conversation. As I stood watching people arrive, I suddenly felt drawn to two girls who entered. Without thinking of my tiredness (it must’ve been God), I went over and introduced myself, and we sat down together to enjoy the event.
After the event, we all gathered around the refreshment table, and began talking. First our conversation was about the cakes and snacks that were offered (maybe all that baking was worthwhile!), and then moved onto other things. At a time when I least expected it, a new friendship, with one of the girls I’d met, was formed. God brought about something good despite my weakness, selfishness, and reluctance.
God has continually surprised me with this new friendship—through the chances we’ve had to meet since, for the opportunity to share my testimony, and sharing of the gospel in an open way. From the day in which I cried to God, “I’m no good at conversations, especially in Japanese,” there have been many conversations and chances to share about our surprising God.
Never underestimate what God can do and how he can use you and those around you, right now where you are today.
By Rachel, an OMF Serve Asia Worker
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that God would surprise missionaries and Japanese Christians with what they can do with his help.
- Pray for more Serve Asia workers to be willing to step out of their comfort zone and come to Japan.
- Pray for the people who come to outreach events and have short encounters with missionaries and Japanese Christians—that the gospel will take room and they will blossom into gospel-loving believers.