By Steve Weemes, OMF missionary to Japan
“I’m in bed with the flu, and, no, I do not want to go to Emiko’s apartment to tell her parents about Jesus.”
“OK,” Kathi said, “I’ll ask her if we can come over tomorrow when you’re feeling better.”
I agreed and tried to go back to sleep. But I felt guilty for letting a little fever and chills keep me from sharing the Gospel, so when Kathi came back to say that Emiko really wanted us to come right away, I relented. Thirty minutes later we were at her door, ready to see why she and her parents had been arguing and crying all day long.
Emiko introduced us to her parents. They were very nice and invited us in to have tea. I made sure I had a box of Kleenex by my side as I sat down. Emiko served tea and then disappeared.
We waited for a few minutes, hoping she’d reappear and explain what they’d been crying about and what we could do about it. But she didn’t come back.
My head was mush, so I made several mistakes in my Japanese grammar as I asked questions and tried to listen to their very polite responses. We began to realize that they had very little idea what it meant to become Christians like their daughter. They had been upset for hours because Emiko had told them how much it hurt her that they never told her they loved her. Maybe Emiko’s religion could help fix the mess they had made, they wondered. So we gave them advice on how to pray to God to heal their family.
Emiko finally came back into the room and we talked about her parents’ willingness to go to church with her and see what Christianity had to offer. They still didn’t understand what it meant to make a commitment to Christ, and we left Emiko’s apartment wondering if our being there had actually accomplished anything.
We arrived back home and I tried to go back to sleep. Then the phone rang at 11 p.m. Our son answered it, then hung up the phone and said, “That was Emiko. She apologized for calling late, but she wanted you to know her parents just prayed to ask Jesus into their lives. She said thanks for coming over even when you were sick.”
I turned over in my bed and thanked God for dragging me out of my sickbed to see Him pour out His grace.
*By some standards, the Japanese people (pop. 127 million) form the world’s largest unreached people group. Less than 1 percent of Japanese are Christians. Family opposition is a major factor. Praise God for stories like Emiko’s parents, who not only accepted their daughter’s decision, but chose to follow in her footsteps as well!