Tuesday October 27th 2009
Today was Haruna’s annual concert for the elderly of this community. Obata-san often lets people of the community use the building like a community building. It allows people access, under Obata-san’s supervision, to use the building from time to time. This concert is a regular event held once a year. Obata-san also passed out info about the church for the people attending. It’s a very small and simple way of encouraging people to seek God. Also this is a good way of showing people that the “church” is not the building. Some people will bow before entering as they would a temple or shrine. It’s interesting to see the different reactions.
We were invited to the concert by Nakajima-san. He and his wife host the event and are so anxious to help us interact with the community. It was very educational. It was traditional Japanese music and dancing. It was enjoyable to see the practice of such an old Japanese tradition.
Later that afternoon Paul had the privilege of giving a very special and challenging service. We have an older couple that are members of the Church here. They came to Obata-san one day inquiring about taking their granddaughter to the Buddhist temple for her 3rd birthday. It’s a part of Buddhism here to take children to the Buddhist temple to be blessed on certain birthdays. In Japan a lot of those religious ceremonies have been ingrained into the normal culture as well. Many people here, even not Buddhists, will do this. Obata-san advised them as Christians not to take part in this ritual. So as a compromise Obata-san suggested we have a special devotional for the young girl, Cloe, at the church. Now this family is from Spain. The young girl’s mother is Japanese. Her father, Quentin, is a French atheist. And of course her Japanese grandparents are Christians. Also the young girls grandparents from France would be coming as well. The only thing that was most in common was the fact that 8/10 people of this group spoke English. So Paul was graciously volunteered to give this special talk. He spoke about Jesus growing up in Luke 2:51-52 and how Cloe should follow in his footsteps. The service was received well and we got to sit down and have cake with the family afterwards. The father, Quentin, told Paul he appreciated the service and that he had never set foot in a church before! God is using us to speak to such a variety of people! We thank the Lord for these opportunities which allow us to be ambassadors to people we never would have met in America. What a blessing!