Two weeks ago, when the Lord called Danny to go to Japan, despite the risk of more earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear radiation, a verse I was clinging to was Matthew 10:39 “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” with an emphasis on the losing part of the verse. I seemed to have forgotten the finding of life that is promised along with the sacrifice. As I have brief conversations with Danny, I am reminded anew how EXCITING it is to be about God’s business. Danny tells me about new Christians in Japan being mobilized to help and serve and preach. As these Japanese mobilize, they get called into an intimacy with Christ that can only be gained by acting out with all His energy and His power and His life. I am amazed that I get to be a very small part of this “Kingdom Coming” that is going on in Japan. How exciting to see hearts awakening to their need for a Mighty God and the Savior He has sent. Some recent reports:
-Danny and the guys truly got to be the hands and feet of Jesus as they followed in their Savior’s footsteps of washing people’s feet. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14) The guys chopped wood, made fires, heated water, and washed the feet of these elderly Japanese men and women who are now homeless. To read about it and see a video go to the SpendYourself sight.
-Pastor Mori (the pastor they connected with in Iwaki) had a time of preaching the gospel to the gymnasium/home of people left homeless. This kind of opportunity would never have been welcomed or permitted had the platform of self-sacrificial service not been built through the truckloads of supplies and the manpower provided. Danny said that everyone living in the gym were so touched that Americans had come to help them and that there were many American churches and people giving to and praying for them.
-Danny and some of the team stopped at an onsen (a hot spring/public bath) on the way up to Sendai An older Japanese business man was also there. Danny wanted to start up a conversation and share the gospel with him, but it was just a tad awkward (notice I said public BATH, not swimming pool, hopefully you get the idea) and he didn’t know where to start. But, then, the guy started asking THEM alot of questions (not typical in that culture) which provided the perfect opportunity for them to share what they were doing and the WHY behind it. After they had a long talk about God’s love and Jesus in the onsen, the guy took them to lunch and paid for everyone!
-(this is the most exciting report)…. Several years ago, when we were still in Newark, we hosted a group of Japanese students who were connected with the Iversons in Japan. The trip had been designed to give these students (most of whom were not believers) a chance to see sights in America and experience the American Christian Church. While the kids were with us, we , of course, did the NYC tourist bit, but also had them help us with work projects and feeding people at a homeless shelter. One student in particular, Nobu, really absorbed alot of what Danny spoke of when he talked of spending oneself and then gaining true life. He also was a “hit” at the homeless shelter as he related to these recovering drug addicts and homeless men, despite the cultural, age, and language barriers. The trip deeply impacted him and after that he decided he wanted to become a missionary “because he wanted to help people” (granted, he didn’t even believe in Jesus as his Savior yet). We eventually lost touch with him. But then, as I was checking footage of the trip thus far, who was in one of the videos, but NOBU!!! I was so excited! He had come to faith in Jesus soon after the trip to America, but then battled back and forth between the pull to succeed in Japanese culture and the call to follow the Lord. When Danny and the team arrived he joined them in their travels up to Iwaki. Here he was again, serving by Danny’s side, but this time to his OWN people, the now-homeless Japanese. God has been mightily at work in Nobu’s life over the past week, giving him the desire to serve the Lord wholeheartedly with his life and not succumb to the intense pressure to be successful at all costs. He is discovering that in losing oneself in service to the Lord and others, one finds oneself…
Nobu, rediscovered… (he has a white sweatshirt and black hat on)