Two years ago I met Shin* who was in the final year of high school. He then moved for university to a country town two hours’ drive away. A year later, I joined a church planting team in the same town.
At first I was hopeful. Even before he moved, he had said that he wanted to study the Bible with me and be baptised. After I moved he was the one who had asked to meet for Bible studies. We were off to a good start, or so I thought.
But at our first Bible study, he seemed unengaged. In fact, he had the TV on until I asked him to turn it off. That’s ok, I thought, as we keep studying God’s word together, he will change. Then he started postponing and cancelling. He said he would come to our Sunday worship but never showed up.
I felt discouraged and frustrated. I was frustrated because it was not going according to my plan. In my plan we were meant to meet regularly for Bible studies, and, in time, he would be convicted by God’s Word and believe. He would be the first convert and it will be the beginning of a thriving church plant.
I didn’t realise that God had a different plan.
In fact, for the next five months we did not meet for Bible studies. During this time I reflected on my heart and my motives. I was convicted of how I did not love Shin as God had commanded me to love. I asked for forgiveness and for God to change my heart.
As God changed my attitude towards Shin, my relationship with him also began to change. He wanted to meet again and began to share his thoughts and feelings. God opened up opportunities for deep conversations about sin and the forgiveness which Jesus offers. Again, he began to express interest in meeting up to read the Bible.
In an unexpected turn of events, his girlfriend broke up with him. Through this he realized how much he had idolized his girlfriend at the expense of his relationships with others and with God. He had laughed at the idea that God, whom he cannot see or touch, could satisfy him. Yet through this experience he realised that the things you can see and touch do not satisfy or last, that one day they will pass. He began to seek God and read his word earnestly. Just recently Shin expressed his desire to be baptized. We are currently preparing for his baptism.
At first I thought that God was in the business of saving Shin. Now I realise God was also in the business of humbling and sanctifying me. While he is at work through us in others, he is equally at work in us.
—by an OMF missionary in Japan
* Name changed
Image by David Mark from Pixabay
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray for patience for Christians in Japan as they talk to people they come in contact to about Jesus.
- Pray that God would awaken more Japanese hearts to hear and respond to the truth about God.
- Pray for sanctification of Christians, yes, even missionaries, in Japan.