There was one student at the English café that day who never joined in the activities. Instead she spent the whole time talking to the chaplain. Eventually, at the end of the evening, the university’s chaplain brought her over and said, “This is Mary, she is interested in the English café.”
Mary came the following evening to the student Christmas party and brought her childhood friend with her. That evening they were the only new guests. Mary and her friend seemed to enjoy the evening and were one of the last to leave the party. It turned out that Mary lived just a few minutes’ walk from me so we headed home together. As we walked, we chatted about her thoughts about the evening and ended up talking about church. She was intrigued to find out that you do not have to be a Christian to come to church.
A couple of days later Mary came to the song café that was held after one of the church services. She enjoyed catching up with the short-term Australian team that had helped us run the English café. We were also able to pick up our conversation from the Friday evening. I invited her to Christmas lunch at my place on Christmas day with a member from my church.
We had a wonderful Christmas lunch, at which, despite being just three of us, we were able to share the Christmas story and carols, and then enjoyed some games. After she got home, Mary wrote, “Today has become a very good memory for me.”
How do we get to a place where we can begin to share the good news of Jesus with the majority of students in Japan who do not yet know Jesus? One way is providing opportunities to meet and interact with them on a point of interest like the language café, or inviting them to events centred around a special occasion like Christmas. Of course we also pray for deep and open relationships of trust so that we can openly share.
I had such an opportunity with Mary a few days after our Christmas day lunch. This time we met for a special treat—an English afternoon tea to be followed by a sightseeing tour of Sendai, but neither of us checked the timetable to find out that the last tour was at 4pm. However, despite the change in plans, we were able to openly share with one another.
I have invited Mary to church and I wait to see if she will come. In the meantime, I pray we will continue to meet and each time that I will have an opportunity to share more about Jesus. Maybe she will start coming regularly to our twice monthly student gathering where she can hear more from the Bible. I pray she will eventually come to faith.
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that missionaries will find relationships where they will have opportunity to share the gospel.
- Pray that missionaries will be prepared to share the gospel whenever they have the opportunity.
- Pray for students like Mary, that the Lord to open up their hearts and stir them to seek him, and for boldness to come and find out more.