This past Sunday I (Peter) made a trip down to Kyushu, the southern-most of the four main islands in the Japanese archipelago, to visit some of the Asian Access missionaries and their churches. I love this part of our ministry! It is amazing to be with these men and women who are sold out to the call of Christ in their lives, giving everything to the gospel.
I was asked to give the Sunday message at a church in Minamata city. After saying “Ohayo gozaimasu” (good morning) the first thing I did was take pictures from the front so that I could remember to pray for the church. Join with me in praying for this congregation, pictured here.
The message was on staying focused on the goal and pressing on. Here’s what fellow Asian Access missionary Robert had to say about the morning in his blog,
“Probably my favorite moment was when he walked up front alone to preach. Between myself and guests we probably have a foreigner preaching in Minamata over a third of the time. But this is the first time in my 4 years that I can remember someone preaching without a translator. So it was fun to watch the confused looks on our members faces as he walked up front. Then the utter surprise as he began to speak in normal Japanese. The sermon was great, relating our Christian lives to a marathon.”
Honestly, I don’t know how great the message was. While I trust that the Lord spoke through me and that people were encouraged in their faith, I do know that I was tremendously blessed by the church.
It’s a large church, considering the Japanese context, and they use a full band in their services. It has been almost a year since I have been in such a large service that uses a contemporary style, and in the midst of offering praise to Jesus, I was flooded with how much I love praising Jesus in Japanese with Japanese Christians. The next thing I knew I had tears rolling down my cheeks and my nose was running like crazy. Since this was before the message, I kept thinking that I needed to get control of myself or I would be a mess. But the songs kept coming with declarations of our love for Jesus, and his love for us, and I couldn’t help but cast aside thoughts about me and just worship Jesus. It was an amazing time to draw close to Jesus and his family. I was so blessed.
The rest of my days in Kyushu were spent in fellowship with the missionaries and pastors, processing things and making plans for the future. They are doing a great work, and we (including you!) are blessed to be a part of it.
2009 is here, let’s press on!