We are being watched

“For the last four years I’ve been watching you…”

“Oh no, what’s coming next?!!” I thought, desperately trying to recall what I might have done wrong.

I was drinking tea with Emiko, the lady who lived opposite us. Her children had been to evangelistic kids parties in our home. Occasionally I’d managed a brief conversation with her in passing, and I’d often invited her to visit, but she was always too busy. Finally, just a few weeks before we moved out of the area she agreed to come.

“For the last four years I’ve been watching you, and I’ve seen the way you relate to your husband and your children, how good your family relationships are. I’ve observed you walking with your husband, and without hearing your words, I could tell you were sharing your heart with him and he looked like he really cared! I’ve seen you talk calmly to your children when they misbehave, and they listen! I want relationships like that. How do you do it?”

So, having assured her that our family is far from perfect, I talked about God’s love, and how he helps us love each other. I shared that the Bible teaches us to be patient, to listen, to control our emotions, and that the Holy Spirit helps me do that. And Emiko listened. I gave her some Christian books on family relationships. And then I moved away.

Five years later I visited Emiko, and while we drank tea together, she told me again that she wanted relationships like the ones she’d seen in our family. She said she’d been to church a few times, but couldn’t understand the Bible. So I invited her to join a group chat for seekers where she could receive a short daily Bible passage and simple explanation.

Emiko is not yet a Christian, but she told me she reads those daily messages repeatedly, trying to understand the Bible.

People say that Japan is a hard place to do evangelism, that very few are interested and even fewer become Christians. To an extent this is true. But the Lord is at work here and many people are looking for something more in life. For Christians who seek to live out the gospel, however imperfectly, there are real opportunities to share the hope we have in Christ and the difference he makes in our lives.

By an OMF Missionary

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