Wow, it’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. God has really been giving us a lot of opportunities to minister recently. We are so happy to be in this country!! He is really moving here.
A taste of what is turning out to be a fascinating week:
Saturday night our pastor called me to ask me to sing at church on Sunday morning. A member of our church finally talked his mother into coming to church for the first time in her life. From what I understood, this is a woman who has been very bitter against Christianity and against the Church (maybe because of how her son was changed by it!). And so for years, she would not come to church with her son, no matter how he pleaded. But he has been talking about the new Gospel-crooning American at church, and she wanted to hear for herself. But the deal was that if she came I had to sing. So Pastor Paul called me Saturday night with the decree. (No pressure or anything, right?) If I didn’t believe in the sovereignty of God in salvation, I might have been nervous about this! So I prayed and asked the Lord what I should sing. I mean, she probably wanted to hear some fancy gospel song, right? But the Lord said so clearly to me, AMAZING GRACE. Okay! So that’s what I sang. After the service, she comes up to me and tells me (through her son, who speaks English) that it is her favorite song. (I never would have guessed that from the little I’d heard about her!) I told her that I had prayed and asked God what I should sing for her, and that HE told me to sing Amazing Grace. And the woman starts weeping. Now I could only see her in that moment. But I couldn’t even see the historically hard-hearted woman. I saw a woman touched by God. And it was pretty awesome to be a little part of that. Thank you, Lord!!
Okay, so Monday morning I get a phone call from a troubled Japanese friend who recently got divorced from an abusive American husband, who has knowledge of the Gospel, but not yet a saving faith. I’ve been ministering to this woman off and on for several years. She kind of drifts in and out. But she called me very depressed Monday morning and asked if she can come over and talk. Of course! So she spent most of the day over here on Monday, and come to find out, she has recently gotten involved with this “house church” not too far from here. We had a nice day together, and I just tried to encourage her and point her to Him and to His Word. But Monday night, I started researching this “house church organization” she was into, only to discover that she is getting sucked into a cult. I called her both Monday night and this morning, like a friend running into a burning building to rescue a friend. But she sounded different even than when she had been here earlier that day. She was there at the compound, and had stayed the night over there, and was very eagerly justifying to me the things these people do (deviant sexual behavior mostly). When I suggested that she needed to leave there and get her kids out of there immediately, for their safety, she replied that if she left there, she would want to go kill herself. There was nothing I could say to save her from the burning building today. It was a rough day for me. I’m battling this burden and not letting it bog me down today. And so tonight, I am praying hard against this group–that God will bring them DOWN and save my friend from walking through this particular fire. Her name is Toyoko. Saints of God, would you please pray with me for her today?