Dear Family (in Japanese characters)
Abiko is fantastic! I love this area. We have great members, great people to work with and the place is just beautiful! The road to the church winds between a lake and an expanse of rice fields and bamboo forests. Spectacular – so you would think. I had a chance to talk to a member about the lake. It used to be the dirtiest lake in Japan but now it’s only the second dirtiest. I don’t know if that means it’s getting better or other lakes are getting worse.
The people on the other hand are not the second dirtiest people in Japan that much I have been able to confirm. We went with a sister to visit a 93 year old member. When we knocked on the door the Jehovah’s witnesses were sitting in the living room. We got invited in anyways. Uh-oh. I felt entirely unprepared for a bible bash since I had not brought my bible along and Book of Mormons are a bit thinner and lighter than bibles. So we go in and the Sister we were with says “Yeah, I used to be a part of your church but I converted to this one.” Bam! I no longer feared. Those two actually excused themselves after exchanging pleasantries so I didn’t get to see any action. I suppose the JW translation cuts out and alters too many important parts of the bible so it is also much thinner, lighter and unprepared for a good bible bashing.
Once they were gone the Sister we came with sat down with the 93 year old Sister and told her how she knows that the JW’s are nice and everything but their doctrine was wrong. She got straight to the point there! Love it! What happened next however inspired me quite deeply and I won’t soon forget it. This 93 year old woman recommitted to following Christ, recommitted to sharing the gospel with her family and to do her best till the end of her days. That could be 10 years later or 10 days later for all we know. Inspiring, simply inspiring.
Then the miracle for the week would be yesterday. We wanted to find 3 more people since on our potential’s list we had 3 empty spaces. That evening we had dinner with a member and instead of idle chit chat afterward we booked it. I found a 7 story apartment building just down the street that was just inviting me in so we went to that one. We started at the top and by the time we made it to the bottom we hadn’t met anyone who would give us more than 5 words. Then on the bottom floor two guys opened the door heard our introduction and said something that caught me a little off guard. “Come in! Come in!” Huh? Ok! The family is Vietnamese but is living in Japan since who knows when. (So Japanese is the primary language for them.) One of the sons who is 20 talked to us for a good 45 min. He was genuinely interested and had lots of questions! Apparently another set of missionaries come to their door every day trying to…do something, he doesn’t know and they creep him out. When he saw us though he saw something noticeably different and just had to hear more. Miracle! There were 3 people that we talked to in that apartment! We filled the three spaces!
Love you all