“Ping-pong,” went the doorbell of our flat in Sapporo. When we opened the door, a man in a crumpled raincoat stood there. When he saw our foreign faces he looked slightly worried. We could tell he was thinking, “Do they understand Japanese?”

Still, we invited Mr Watanabe in. He took off his shoes, as the custom dictates, and came into our living room saying, “Excuse me, excuse me.” And, “I’m going to be in the way”—the standard Japanese greeting. He sat on the edge of our sofa. He was mid-forties maybe, black hair, puffy rings around his eyes, dark business suit, and tie.

Mr. Watanabe was a newspaper salesman and wanted us to take his newspaper. In our broken Japanese we tried to explain to him that, rather like an ant trying to climb Mt. Everest, reading Japanese newspapers was a bit beyond us at that time so, “No thank you”. Mr. Watanabe seemed to understand.

Somehow we got on to why we had come to Japan. In Japanese so broken that it really should have been thrown away, we explained—we were Christians, learning Japanese and working for the local church. Again he seemed to understand.

Mr. Watanabe got up, gave us his business card, in the unlikely event that we changed our minds, and left. We were amazed. God had used us. Somehow we had been able to say something for Him and a Japanese person had understood.

The long obedience of Bible College, gaining experience in the UK, mission application forms, and raising prayer support was all worth it. God could use us in a foreign land. Just wonderful. But there was one more thing to be amazed about—we’d only been in Sapporo about eight hours.

By Peter, an OMF missionary

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray for connections with Japanese men, relationships, and opportunities to explain the gospel.
  • Pray that missionaries, new and old, would continue to hear God’s encouragement and call.
  • Pray for people preparing to come to Japan as missionaries: that they will not give up, but persevere, and that God would provide all they need to get to Japan.

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