We have had a great time here in Tokyo for the past 4 days. John and JoBeth Lee have been wonderful hosts and such a great blessing to us. We conducted an introductory training on Monday and 13 people attended. We were a bit discouraged that no pastors attended but it may well be that the best route here in Japan is to start with lay people. The people seemed really blessed by the workshop and I think there are definite plans to take this further. We will have to wait and see just what the Lord has in mind.
I was especially blessed by one middle-aged woman who is a new believer and came to know the Lord about a year ago. She said she was just a novice and was a bit nervous to make a presentation on Jonah 3. She had never read the book of Jonah before, but did really well. She testified about her deep desire to reach out to young moms with the gospel. It was so precious to see this new believer with such a passion for the lost. It reminded me that those of us who are older believers need to see some of the joy of the new believers to encourage us to keep at it.
Yesterday we spent an hour riding a train around central Tokyo and praying with a group of believers for the city. It was a blessing. We continue to be impressed with the character and faith of the missionaries we meet on the field and with their hearts for the lost. Afterward we went to a high tower that overlooks the city. We went up about 1000 feet and could see in all directions over Tokyo. It is such a huge city, 36 million, and is spread out so far in all directions. My heart was moved to think of all the people here who do not know Jesus.
One of the missionaries told of the desperation of the Japanese who seem so secure and prosperous. He said many middle-aged men are so depressed because their whole goal in life is to reach a certain station in work and have a certain lifestyle, which most do not attain. Many, around 30,000 a year in Tokyo alone, commit suicide, which the society sees as an honorable way to end your life. What a blessing we have to look beyond this life and its attainments towards eternity under the blessing of God through His grace.
We head home today arriving tomorrow late in the evening. It will be a marathon once again but we trust in the Lord and His strength. Thanks for praying for us through this trip. God bless you.