Have you heard of the HelloTalk language exchange app? Through HelloTalk I met two Japanese ladies (in person) when I was still in the Philippines. They both eventually became my friends. Hana was a university exchange student for a year, while Haruna was studying English for two months. It was really fun meeting them and practicing my Japanese with them. I also enjoyed sharing Filipino culture with them—teaching them some Filipino words and helping them try Filipino food. They also joined me at an English Sunday worship service at our church and I had the chance to share the gospel with them.
By the time COVID happened, they were already back to Japan but we still got in touch again via LINE app and would sometimes we would have video calls. When the borders finally opened, early last year, I was able to come to Japan as a Serve Asia worker and was able to meet them again. Hana visited me during summer and stayed at our church in Hirosaki (in northern Honshu) for a few days. Since it was her first time in this part of Japan, I was able to to show her around the area. She was also able to attend our Japanese Sunday service and met Christians at church, both Japanese and foreigners. In one of our conversations, I told her that my friendship with her is never dependent on her becoming a Christian and that she’s still my friend whether she becomes a Christian or not. But I also told her that when she wants to know more about Jesus, I would be more than happy to share with her.
I am still using this app, and just recently I met two more Japanese ladies who were able to join our church events, such as BBQs, Christmas concert, English Café Christmas Party, and American Cooking class. I still find it amazing that I can actually make friends through this app. I know it was God who opened these opportunities where I was able to develop genuine friendships which also became a bridge to inviting people to learn about him. So I also leave it up to God about how he wants these friendships to blossom. I only hope that I may be found faithful until the end.
By Lani, a Serve Asia worker with OMF