Akane become believer in Calgary through FOCUS club. I was connected to her just she become believer and helped her to be connected to Japanese Christian, churches, and campus ministry. I finally met her face to face last fall in Japan at "Gohankai (fellowshop dinner)" which was simply delight.
She came and staied with me for few days in Spring, there we talked about baptism and also the issues with her family. There we agreed that the place to be baptised needs to be in Japan.
Few months later, I had a message from her saying that she has decided to get baptized and her parents are planning to come for the baptism service! I was over joyed about!!
This video is her testemony a week before her baptism.
Following week, one other studet decided to become believer. She has been struggling to make this decision for 3 years! I was given this happy news 3 days after my accident. I was hit by car which was running 40km/h at the zebra crossing. She become Christian a day before the accident.
When I heard the second news the day finally I could stand and move a bit, then realized that the accident was not just accident. I suddenly realized that the enemy wanted to kill me but God saved me from it. It was unexplainable that I had no internal dammage, a part from concussion and soft tissue injury head to toe, as well as bruised born. Yes, it will take a bit of time to recover and be healed but I am stil arrive! There are more to be Christ follower and I know I have more things to do!
I am talking the course to be a Spiritual Director and went to the second intense course for a week. There, I saw the video with a Spiritual Director who talked about her prayer life. She talked how her prayer has been changed and towards to the end, she talked about her "compost pot" prayer. When she say to the others she is praying for them. she wondered what to do next. It become overwhelming and not knowing how to pray all. Then she found a ceramic made pot labeled as "compost". She decided to put all the names whom she said she would pray. Then she literally held it in her hand and hugged this pot and prayed. That story touched many of our heart. I have so many pictures on my office wall to pray now I have new way, less overwhelming way to pray for other people!!
The compost to me a symbol of something become good and become part of beauty and growth. A compost pot holds sureness of things turning into GOOD for others growth. It made sense and was good image for me to have!
I have decided to make a pillow with pocket for my prayer. I feel this will enrich and help me to pray more from now on!
I always wondered what is the meaninf of being an artist as well as missionary in Canada. While I was thinking, seems as if my art has been "put aside" and feel a bit sad about it. Then God acts. One of my friend who is a tea mixer needed urgent help at her stand and I filled it for her. Then I met this lady who is a writer trying to create a community for Japanese artist in Vancouver. She was intreagued what I do and why I do my art work and wanted to interview me.
I had her interview last month and then this is what she wrote about. She worte both in Japanese and English. Japanese one has more details but English one I found it interesting. Here is the link http://www.universitychapel.org/files/LE2017-FullManual.pdf
She worte ISMC and introduced it in the very nice way! I am very thankful how she wrote about me both in Japanes and English. As well, God has been intentional to encouraged me being an artist last 2 months in the vaious way. I spoke at Reaching Japanese for Chrsit internatinal conference as an artist and to me, art is the language inbetween head and heart. It communicate both in the very unique way and great vehacule for the out reach, which I mean meaningful conversation. I am looking forward to seeing how God will use me als as an artist this year!
We srated new term and we had Gohankai (fellowship dinner) kick off.
We recieved 4 new students from Tokai University and also we welcomed 4 Ritsumekan Uni students frist time for Gohankai.
We had great time cooking together, thinking together, sharing each other.
I am so looking forward seeing what God has planned for this semester for us!
I met these 3 girls at one of the FOCUS event, really "by accident".
Then they came to Gohankai (Monthly Fellowship dinner) this month and heard me reading "You are special" by Max Lucado. Later at night, one of the girl gave me a message saying "How could I find Japanese Bible? I have been studying Bible in English but I don't understand it and I would love to understand it". So I promised to give her new testament which I had.
When we went to one of the church Christmas concert, the girl who I gave the Bible said she wants to become Christian and already have permission from her mother but something is bothering her. So I promised to have coffee with her.
Other girl who was with her when I gave a Bible, she also wanted to have it. She was given one from my co-worker and then she could not stop reading it. She sent me messages saying how she was deeply moved by it. So I also asked her to come along for the coffee.
Then the other girl also tagged along for the coffee, just because she wanted to have lunch with us to try new Ramen shop.
So we had lunch and coffee today. I answered their questions and listened what was in their heart. After 1 and half hours chat, they all said " I want to accept Christ as my seviour!"
God's timing is so suprising and perfect. I met them only because they sat at the far back of the seat and we happen to have extra sheet for FORCUS students and one of the studnts found them and told me that they are also FOCUS club studnets. If the sheet was full, or unable to identify them as a FOCUS studnents, we would not be able to sit next to each other and started to talk. It is only 18 days since I met them but God made their heart ready and thirsty. All of them just sent me messages saying how they feel peace and joy after accepting Christ.
They are returning back in the beginning of Feb and they are already thinking of which church they should attend once they are back and I already connected them to some of the returnees workers back home. God already prepared their hert to looking forward to go to church in Japan which is amazing!
This is the video which we made about 4 years ago. JBS (Japanese Bible Study) started about 7 years ago with the Christian students who had a vision to support Japaese studnets who attend the English Bible study and share the Gospel. Most of the time the studnets who comes to JBS are non believers and we have great time to read Bible together. A lot of time, Christians learn something profound through what non believer says and it is amazing how we all find something new through JBS every week. The girl who speaks about what is JBS is one of the students who had started. I met her this year for the Gohankai (JBS fellowship dinner we do every month) in Tokyo. I will talk about Gohankai in other post, but it was clear that the visin has been passed on and continue as we discussed how we can make a place for the each person to shine and feel home where we can say "Tadaima (I am home)" and "Okaeri (welcome back home)". There we have place to learn from each other, weather one is Christian or not. It is amaizing what us Christians lean from non believers. JBS is the place whwere we grown together.
The view from my hospital room
I am very sorry that I could not write earlyer! Some of you know that I had a majour surgery on 24th Feb. This has been a very different experience both physically and spiritually for me. I am stil on the process of getting well and I appriciate your continuos support for me as it will be something which I need to be watch out and fight aginst it.
When doctor told me what was going on with my body, I was quite amazed as it made total sence, although first, I thought I didn't have any symptem but when I thought through, there were signe of it, such as extream tiredness and super low energy. I do recomend strongly if you have anything not quite right, do not wait but go to the doctor. It is better to check if there is something or nothing.
It was supporsed to be simple issue to take it out but it become more complicated as techitioan found out that it is spreaded. However, my doctor was amamzed that how the techintian could find this fact as it was so small. I must say, God works through the professions and I am very thanful for it. So this fact made my surgery 7 hours. When doctor was telling me this, I asked "then what will be the difference for me?" He said "nothing as you are sleeping". All I can say was "then I trust you will do the great job".
On the surgery day, I had to turn up at 6:00 a.m. My friend gave me a ride to the hospital and waited with me.
All of this surgery, what I did was doing exactly what I was told to do. That was my role. There is nothing I could do other than do what I was told, such as fasting from 10:00 p.m. , turn up at 6:00 a.m. and take all the injections and so on and on. I didn't give any "bright idea" nor did " I think this should work". What I was ask to do was being obedient. If not, I could not have surgery and without surgery, eventually I will die by it.
It is like being in the ministry. Yes, it seems we do things but first and formost, we are asked to be obedient to "the doctor's order". We must listen to our Lord's voice and seek His instruction and obey. He is already working and we are invited to His work. It is not I but Him.
Suddenly, I had an Face Book message from Cam from Winapeg talking about a Japanese student who are about to returning in Carlgary. I asked him to connect to Paul who are needing some information for her in Carlgary. I could just give some infromation to him to pass it to this gril, however, from my experience, I thought it is better if we first connect her to someone who is Japanese Christian in Calgary and have some experience with Japanese church as well as connecting my menttee who is in Japan who can helps here there as well as some people in IFES (KGK) Japan before she returns. So as I have a Japanese Christian student who I am equipping ,who also goes to forcus club, in Calgary, I ased her to get connected this gril, Aka, before she returns. With some difficulty, they managed to meet up and then led her to go to the Japanese pastor's houese for a dinner 3 days before her returning day. There, she finally could ask all the questions she wanted to ask and all the things which was kind of blur and unable to grasp in Enlgish become cristal clear by explained by her mother tongue. That made her ready to acept Christ in her heart. In her mother tang she prayed Jesus prayer and gave her life to Christ.
For her, to the opening was focus club and local English speaking church. However, when it become the heart issue, she needed to understand with her mother tong to have clear picture of what she is attrected, intrested, and captured. This is not one off case, It is often the case when people "become Christian" out side of thir mother tong doesn't have clear view of which kind of path they are walking in simply just becaue of the language issue. I am hoping that in some point of their walk, their faith will be integrated in both Englsh as well as their own language so that their faith is grounded in their core of their being.
We do Japanese Bible Study (JBS) in Vancouver to give space where their serch and walk with Christ will be clearer and become one in themselves. As the reality is, most of them return back to Japan, JBS will equp them to be familier with Japanese bible, prayer, and so on so that their seeking jurney to be contonuesd in Japan.
Back to the story of Aka, she is now in Japan. I wil tell you more story of what happened after her retune and how she is doing current time next one. But what really made me think about this case was His divine timing and amazing plan He has. It was somehow necessary for her to make that leep as to get the place of frustration not be able to grasp it and understanding it, just because of the languate. That frustration made her decision clear and firm. This case meade me think of "the narrow gate". This may be one of the view to understand what is walking throught the narrow gate. As well I am again remainded the fact that we need each other. We need universal, internatinal gathering and language as well as local, ethinical gathering and language. When we work together, we see something beautiful together. I would want to see the "narrow gate" of togetherness more and more across Canada and all nation!
She is one of the strong seekers who now are commiting herself to the Japaense Bible Study (JBS) group. She has been one of the key memeber of one of the focus club and wanted to know about the Gospel deeper. Once they come beyond mere intersts or quiriosity towards Christianity and experienced enough wormness of Christian community, they start to seek deepre of the truth trying to understand something beyond "singing" and "eating". It is a great preverage to be able to provide JBS so that their understanding of Gospel become clearer, especially the ones who comes short term. This helps their continuous faith journey once they return back.
From this January, we are expanding the number of JBS, one within UBC and one in SFU down town campus so that thouse who are not in UBC can come too. We already have 4 people who are excited to come for the SFU one and we are looking forward to journey with them for this semester!
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Published a post on Vancouver- Izumi Araki
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