Over jetlag, bags unpacked, boys back in school, and life back to normal, but daily I find myself thanking God for our recent trip to Japan. It truly was a gift from Him. One specifically ordained, I believe, for our family at this particular point in time. It moved us. It encouraged us. It changed us. More than anything else, it opened wide our eyes and hearts to the peoples with whom God has called us to work…Japanese descendants in Brazil. For me, I will forever have places and faces etched upon my heart. I want to share with you about a place where God led us, if for no other reason, to break my heart all over again for the deep, complete loss and emptiness of precious souls.
Our new team leader, Gary Fujino, took us to the Buddhist temple in Tokyo. The darkness and desperation one (follower of Christ) feels as you see and enter a place such as this is overwhelming. As you approach the temple, there is a well overflowing with incense smoke which quite frankly, was stifling! It was at this spot my heart was first stirred as I watched a woman desperately attempt to bathe her husband’s body in this smoke to cleanse him in order for him to be able to enter the temple to worship. My God gently reminded me that He takes people just the way they are. No cleansing necessary beforehand.
As we entered the temple, I was amazed as I watched people scuffling to the front to throw their offering, get close to the priest, and worship idols placed so strategically. What caught my eye and forever will be on my mind, were the children that we saw taking part along with the elderly who with no doubt have been doing this for years.
Our three boys accompanied us on this day. I wasn’t so much worried about the two older ones. Although intrigued by it all, they both stand firm in their faith and will be the first to tell you so. However, our youngest is at the point where his heart is tender and he is full of questions. As an onlooker, I knew he was observing everything. I gently put my arms around him and whispered in his ear, “Sweet boy, this is not the true way.” What I heard next, I will never forget. Miles looked up at me and said, “I know, Mom. I love Jesus.” Now that, my friends, brought peace to this momma’s heart!
Stories of our trip to Japan will be the topic at our dinner table for a long time. We have a lot of work to do. We face it knowing that it won’t be easy. At the same time, we face it knowing that it is possible with God and through the prayers of His people. To those who have partnered with us in prayer, we are grateful for your willingness and faithfulness to lift us up. For those who haven’t partnered, we invite you to join us in praying for and reaching the Japanese. The reality of the lost is HUGE! God, bring us to our knees for these precious people.
Here are more pictures of this day that might be interesting to you.
Written by Amy Stowell