Nonogaki Rpt – February 2016
Ads on the local news paper – February 17, 2016
Next month the ads on the paper will change a little. It will say “No religion, but listen to Christ in your heart.” Every day I pray the Lord will stir up people’s hearts so that they turn to Him. Also I pray the Lord will give us wisdom to tell people appropriate words. “God, oh help us to speak the Word boldly and gently.” We need Him and His help in order to do His work.
A lady coming back to the church – February 17, 2016
One of the members was upset with something in the worship service a month ago. Next day she emailed me to tell me that she would not go back to the church any more. I prayed for her since then daily. Two days ago she emailed me. She is coming back. She wrote as follows. “I may be a difficult person for you to work with, but I am also very straight forward and very simple minded. Please forgive me. If it is OK, I would like to continue attending the worship service.” Well, what can I say? I welcomed her and will continue praying for her that the Lord will keep watching over her.
For a missionary to get a missionary visa – February 12, 2016
Yesterday (12 Feb) I went to the immigration office in Tachikawa for the first time. I needed to find out what we need to do for a missionary to get a missionary visa. I waited on the line for three hours to finally talk to an official on the counter. Over 100 people from different countries were waiting on the line. I could hear their conversation although I did not know what they were saying. At least I knew what languages they were speaking. Many are from southeast Asia. Some are from China and Korea. Some are from the Middle East and Africa. Some are from South America. A few are from Europe. I did not see anybody from the US. It is interesting to observe people from different countries in a small room where I can see in one setting. People’s fashions and clothes and manners of behavior are different, depending on which country they are from. Also I am surprised that lots of them smoke.
We are planning to invite a retired military couple to work with the American congregation. They are expected to reach out to people on the base. I am also hoping we will invite a missionary couple to work with the Japanese congregation. If this happens, this will be a biggest change since I came to Yokota in 1997. I continue to pray for these plans that God will guide us to the right direction.
Comments made by a student – February 10, 2016
Two weeks ago I began the class “Western Civilization and History: Influences on Japanese People.” Only one student attended the last two classes. Meanwhile I put an ad about the class on the local news paper. One individual responded to the ad and called me. This week one more student was added to the class. We have studied the beginning of western civilization and Greek civilization.
This has been a very interesting class. Yesterday (10 Feb) I taught the history of Israel and the development of Judaism. After I was teaching how Judaism was developed, our discussion extended to Christianity. One of the students said, “Christ developed cult just as Jewish people developed Judaism.” He used the term cult in a modern sense and meant Christ controlled people’s mind. In general Japanese people do not like “religion” even though they practice religious rituals in the funerals. He perceives Christianity as it is perceived in Catholicism. He has lots of misconceptions about Christianity. I denied his notion of Christ’s teachings as cult. I made a contrast between “cults” and Christ. Cults control what information people can receive, control people’s minds under the extreme circumstances, and have absolute human authority figures. In contrast, Christ encourages us to study more to find out the truth for ourselves, gives us freedom to make our decisions, and does not allow us to have any absolute human authority. Every believer is a brother / sister to one another in Christ.
Two weeks from now, I will teach the first 300 years of the Roman Empire and the development of Christianity. I am looking forward to teaching them.
Living in the Japanese stressful society – February 7, 2016
I do not know how other countries are in terms of Christian people’s mental conditions. I have known many Japanese Christians are stressed out and worried about human relationships or many other things like war, earthquake, and crimes. Some of them are taking sleeping pills. Most of them are not able to work and cannot live independently. Needless to say, this is a very discouraging fact. I do not want to give you a report like this. However, this tells me one simple fact. They do not practice what Jesus teaches us. The gospel is the power of God and enables us to solve problems in life peacefully, although we won’t be perfect. But we will be content with what we have and who we are. God gives us peace transcending all understanding and will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. Evidently this is not happening among some Japanese Christians. Satan, the devil’s influences, are having bigger influences on them than God’s. I must patiently continue teaching them and encourage them to put in practice Christ’s teachings.
Negative influences of of being a perfectionist – February 1, 2016
How would you deal with people who have a perfectionist tendency? I have this tendency myself. No one is perfect in this world, so we would fool ourselves if we tried to do everything perfectly without any mistakes. I know how negative influences it has on a person’s personal life and the lives of others around him. A perfectionist can easily find a black dot on the white sheet of paper. The black dot makes everything bad and makes every effort a waste of time he has made. He regrets everything because he could not make it perfect. He would say to himself, “I should have done this or that. I was stupid because I could not see it.” He blames himself as well as others. I know this because I have done this.
It is difficult for the perfectionist to admit his own personal trait. I have known many Christians who have this trait. Christians are generally sincere and desire to do what is right. I realize this is a blind side of the perfectionist. Since I have realized my perfectionist trait, I keep reminding myself that it is OK to be 95% or below. I am content with what I can do. I am made perfect by God’s grace and mercy.