“Good evening, Miss B. I need to apologise. I returned home early from a business trip and wanted to relax a bit, so I drank some alcohol.” Mr. Kata smiled, a bit sheepishly, his face slightly red, but otherwise he seemed in good form. As usual, he was ten minutes early for our evening English class.
“Oh no”, I thought, slightly discouraged. “Tonight of all nights! Will he stay awake till the end? Will he be able to interact during our Bible time after the lesson?”
While I usually use the same passages and applications for both my morning and evening classes, I had felt led to choose a different passage for that evening. Would my extra preparations now be in vain? Nevertheless, I hid my concern, smiled back at Mr. Kata and assured him that it was no problem.
I handed him a flyer for an upcoming event, as we still had a little time. I said, “Our pastor will talk about how we can get a pure heart, and what is worth living for. Please come if you can.”
“Thank you very much. Hmm, I’ve never really thought about how I should live, or what I should live for. At first, my work consumed all my time and energy. Then, when our two children were born after I was forty, I got even busier. Now I’m 62. Maybe I should start thinking about this.”
I was surprised and encouraged by how openly he shared his feelings.
During the English lesson, he showed no signs of tiredness. On the contrary, he interacted with his fellow student even better than usual. Finally, after a short tea break, we began reading and talking about Nicodemus. Mr. Kata listened intently, nodded here and there and seemed to fully take in my explanations.
“When we receive Jesus, our eternal life starts at that very moment; it doesn’t end when we die. It goes on—but it won’t be like our life here on earth. It will be better—indescribably better! We will receive new bodies, be with Jesus forever and live life to the fullest—no sickness, pain, grief, wars, or death any more. Everyone will be full of love, joy, and peace”
Hearing this, Mr. Kata, visibly amazed, responded spontaneously: “If that’s the case, then Christians not afraid of death! Am I right?”
Now it was my turn to be amazed. I hadn’t expected this kind of reaction.
“Yes, that’s true—or at least, it should be. Actually, Christians, too, can be afraid of death and dying. But they have the firm assurance that Jesus is waiting for them in heaven and they will live with him forever. You can have this hope, as well. I pray that you, too, will believe in Jesus.”
Mr. Kata giggled, slightly embarrassed. But he replied, “So far I haven’t really thought about death. But as I’m over 60, I may have only 20 years left, if that. I should probably think more about living and dying.”
I went home that night, greatly encouraged, and thankful. God had put a different Bible passage on my heart than I had planned, and had used it to speak to Mr. Kata.
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that God would prepare hearts to hear and receive the Gospel.
- Pray that missionaries would be receptive to God’s plans.
- Pray for more English teachers in Japan.