We had two sessions left today in the JBBF meeting. The JBBF is celebrating their sixty year anniversary. They showed a video with pictures of different pastors and missionaries that have served the Lord in Japan over the past sixty years. History and memorials are very important to the people here in Japan. It is another thing that is very deeply felt by the Japanese.

By the way, we have been able to understand this conference in English through an earpiece that we wear. There are some great English translators here that have kindly spent their time translating for a few people including us!

Worship at JBBF Meeting

It is such a blessing to be able to worship alongside so many Japanese in the JBBF meeting. Each Japanese Christian is very precious to Jesus Christ, the missionaries here, and to us. Japanese are extremely resistant to the gospel as a people group. Each Japanese Christian here is a true testimony to the power of the grace of God and his interest in even those from a group of people that most times are uninterested and resist the Truth of the Scriptures.

Elevator to Hamamatsu City

As you can see from the pictures and video, we have a view of Hamamatsu city from our hotel since it is one of the tallest buildings here. We can see out our window that there are easily over a million people in this city. Because of the small Christian churches in Japan, the few missionaries in Japan, widespread idol worship, and the resistance of the Gospel here, there are so few Christians. There is a great need for missionaries in Japan and we feel a great burden to give the gospel to the people here.

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

Another missionary family we met, Steve and Melinda Sissons, invited us to lunch after the meeting. They minister in Hokkaido, which is in the far north and borders Russia. It is very cold and the climate is like Siberia!

We met back up with Jim and Amy Smith after the fourth JBBF meeting and rode home to Wakaba in their car. What was supposed to be about a four-hour car ride turned into about six hours! The roads here are very small, there are many tunnels through mountains, there are many new roads, and many times lots of roads overlap and confuse even the newest of GPS systems here. Jim took a wrong turn so we unexpectedly went up a winding narrow mountain road in the dark and it was pouring down rain! Praise the Lord He is in control and protected us on yet another adventure! There were people walking on the mountain road in the dark and in the rain making their way to temples to worship. They were doing something so dangerous and they are blind to the fact that if they were to get hit on that road and die they would enter eternity under God’s terrible wrath. Then we made our way down the curvy, long, narrow, dark, rainy road and we all started feeling carsick! Jim had to stop the car a few times because the kids needed a break.

There are many situations we find ourselves in while in Japan that we are not familiar with and that have the potential of being dangerous such as the narrow mountain roads. We praise God that regardless of the situation we find ourselves in he has protected us through them. Missionaries here have told us of the many dangers they have found themselves in. Jesus lived a life of danger, sorrow, and suffering and as his followers we will experience many of the same kinds of things He did when we obey. While we or other missionaries to the Japanese haven’t been persecuted by the people in the last century or experienced near the extend of what Jesus or Paul experienced, I think danger is just part of life as a missionary. Paul went through many dangerous situations, often found himself physically hurt, and even tortured:

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Some of the missionaries here have served for more than 40 years and still struggle emotionally with the dangers of every day life here in Japan. Most of life and thinking here is culturally backwards and difficult to adjust to. There is also the threat that the disciples you make will be patiently and harshly persecuted by society.

The missions opportunity is great in Japan. God is worth glorifying. People need saving. We can give them Truth so they can be saved and join in worshiping him for all eternity.