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Unlikely encounter on a frozen volcano in Japan

Clouds came closing in fast, the visibility deteriorated within seconds. The wind picked up and the temperature dropped significantly. We were just below the 1,989m summit of Mt. Yotei and icicles were forming on my beard. I stopped and changed from my sweat-drenched clothes into some dry clothes.

My two friends and I were still shivering, but all set to make the decent on our snowboards, when I spotted someone crawling up the mountain on all fours. I was surprised, because he or she were alone and far from the regular hiking route, and obviously without snowshoes, skies, or a snowboard. I knew that being alone on a mountain like this could turn into a death trap very easily, especially in conditions we were experiencing at the time. After some quick turns on our snowboards we reached the young man and I couldn’t believe what I saw.

He was wearing gumboots, gardening gloves, and a normal winter parka, with a scarf wrapped around his head—absolutely unprepared to be in the mountains. Straight away we offered help and, as he had no provisions, he gladly received a spare sandwich and finished up our water supply.

Whilst he gobbled down the yummy bacon, avocado, and egg sandwich, I scolded him for doing such a foolish thing. But after my initial rant I asked him why he was there. He told us that his girlfriend had broken off with him, and so he’d fasted for two days straight. Then he’d decided to climb Mt. Yotei in search of a spiritual experience, hoping for an awakening or some kind of enlightenment.

I told him that he was at exactly the right place at the right time, as God had sent him to the right people. I asked if it was ok to pray for him and he was more than happy.

At first I was so moved that I could hardly talk, but after I started to pray with teary eyes and a shaky voice, the words came welling up. I praised God for his amazing love for this young man and how incredible it was that he orchestrated this unlikely meeting on a frozen mountain in the middle of nowhere—because he wants to reveal his love. After I prayed I shared the gospel and told him how much Jesus loves him. Before we parted we made sure that he’d find his way safely down the mountain. Just as we were about to set off, Mr. G said that he’ll never ever forget that God revealed himself to him today and that Jesus does love him more than he could ever have imagined.

By JP Koch, an OMF missionary

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray for those seeking spiritual truth, that they will encounter Christians at just the right time.
  • Pray that Christians in Japan will be ready to share their hope.
  • Pray that Japanese people would know God’s great love for them.

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