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English conversation with university students in Japan

At the university English conversation club I asked: “So what words come to mind when you hear the word ‘light’?” Students responded with words like ‘sun’, ‘flashlight’, and ‘fireworks’. However, a handful of students surprised me with words like ‘God’ and ‘heaven’.

Their answers are likely attributed not so much to a Judeo-Christian perspective, but a Buddhist-Shinto cultural upbringing. Nevertheless, their answers provided good opportunities for gospel conversations. That day, I shared briefly with the students about the Light of the World, namely Christ, and how he came to this world to save us from a life of darkness.

Bringing the gospel to Japanese university students has its challenges. Students are usually busy juggling school and part-time work commitments. They generally also have little interest in organized religion. However, I believe students are more open to spiritual conversations than we think. Perhaps we just need to create the right environment for them to engage with issues such as light, eternity, and purpose. Above all, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to biblical truth. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the university students at the English conversation class that day, and I look forward to more gospel conversations with them.

By Daniel, an OMF missionary

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