I met Naoko* at a discussion group promoting organic farming and natural living organised by a vegan cafe. She’d resigned her job and been unemployed for a few months. She was disillusioned with work and with the typical Japanese way of life. She was seeking something that was more in tune with nature, something that connected her back to her roots. We ended up meeting regularly to read the Bible and study English together. Even though Christianity was not what Naoko was seeking at that time, God had given her a soft and open heart. She often found the Bible resonated with her own views and opinions. She recognised that whilst she didn’t yet believe in Jesus, the Bible had important truths that she could learn from.
At the same time, like many, she subconsciously held beliefs that hindered her from understanding the gospel. Two of those views were that all religions lead to the same place and that to say someone else’s belief is wrong is judgmental. Holding these views allowed her to value what the Bible says, and at the same time hold onto her own beliefs.
At Bible College, on a short-term mission trip, an experienced missionary taught me that a person’s existing worldview often hinders them from seeing the truth of the gospel. It’s like a brick wall, and part of sharing the gospel is, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to remove the brick wall, one brick at a time, so they can see the one true God.
Recently, I had an encouraging conversation with Naoko and she said that, for the first time, she understood that truth was immovable. She realised that to assert a truth is not judgmental. Whilst she is yet to confess that Jesus is the Truth, I feel that a large brick in her wall has been removed. She now recognises that there is truth.
Being a missionary, especially a female missionary, is such a privilege. Women in Japan generally have more time to meet, which allows for greater opportunity to share the gospel. When I first met Naoko, I would not have imagined I would have such deep meaningful conversations about the Bible with her six months later. There are many more women who are seeking a better way of life. Would you come and show them that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life that they’ve been seeking?
By Jo, an OMF missionary