The proper time and the proper place:
This is a longer newsletter but it’s well worth the read – Good News!
People sometimes have a real problem dealing with the concepts of time. No, I’m not trying to pun here. It’s a real issue for many. No matter if you are trying to get your head around Einstein’s theory of relativity or something as simple as what some call “Déjà vu”, we as human beings bump up against time’s seeming restraints continually. Some find this amusing and write great stories for our entertainment and others wish they could ignore these topics altogether. They complain that the full grasp of the topic is just too much to get your head around. Whenever I teach on things relating to time my translators cringe. It’s hard enough to get everyday English into Japanese let alone something like the subject of time.
In Japan we labor daily and continually to see people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and then to disciple them. It’s a long time to get to that point for almost everyone raised in this culture. We have missionaries visit sometimes and they tell stories about 1000s of people coming to Christ and we look at each other as fellow laborer’s here and say, “Um, well we had some one come to Christ this month.” That’s a big deal for us! After maybe a year of working with that person, we might see them make the decision to receive Christ as Savior. It can feel very discouraging indeed.
But we are on God’s timetable and in God’s economy. He is looking at each person one at a time. The Bible says; “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10 I have this friend, Eduardo, whom I met about a year ago who works at Costco here. He is from Argentina and is married to a Japanese woman. They have three wonderful children. Their marriage is in desperate need of prayer, so if you are praying for the ministry here, please include Edwardo in your prayers.
I was thinking about ministry here in Japan Friday night as I drifted off to sleep. I was praying for Eduardo because I was to meet with him for breakfast the next morning. I said to God, “Belinda and I have been here for over 12 years now and, yes, many have come to Christ, but not like in other places. And here I am ministering to a man not from Japan, but from Argentina? God, I do want to see him saved of course but… And God interrupted as He reminded me, ‘what is it to you with whom I have you work? Remember Luke 15? Remember all the years I had you working with the Spanish ministry? Remember I told you to minister to whomever I brought “through the door”?’” Ok ,I said, I remember, and I drifted off to sleep.
Eduardo was about to give up on his marriage and I was really burdened to meet with him. We talked about a lot of things, but he shared again with me that his mother, who is a Christian, was praying for him and for me! She knew I had been meeting with him. He talks to his mom all the time – good boy! So, towards the end of the meeting, after the Lord had given me much to share with my friend, Eduardo on his own says; “So my mom says even though I sorta’ prayed to be a Christian as a young child, she says I ought to pray with you and make it official. So, do we go to the church or what?” I explained we could do that right there in the restaurant, so he did!
I have written so much in this newsletter about Eduardo and yet I have left so much out about how God used this crazy American whom He sent half way around the world to lead someone from halfway back around the world to come to a saving relationship with God. Even if this whole subject of time and space sends your head spinning, I wanted to share this testimony of how these concepts are trivial to God, but that He, in His plan, cares about each one of us individually. He finds it not a big a deal to use anyone from anywhere to reach anyone anytime for His purposes.
Wherever God has placed you for this season, He will use you, as you make yourself available to Him. You don’t have to be a seminary graduate. You don’t have to be anything more special than the next person. He just needs you to be available.
Eduardo was looking for someone to listen and to care about him. I think one of the most important roles we can have for God is to be an “ear” for the people who want to talk to Him. Then we lead them to a place where they can have the personal relationship they so desire with God Himself, who is outside of time and has all the resources necessary to reach them. I’m no angel, but I sure am rejoicing that Eduardo has peace with God in the midst of his circumstances now. Please pray for him as he navigates through the circumstances of his marriage, that he will hear Truth and guidance from the very creator of the universe.
The proper time and the proper place is right where God has you.
- Eduardo’s salvation
- Safe travels back to Japan
- God’s ever abundant provision
- For God to put together a team, a time and a place for church planting.
- For Eduardo’s new life in Christ and for healing in his marriage
- For continued effective language training
- To stay focused on God’s work, (it is easy to get distracted with the unimportant)
- To communicate regularly