Where is Your Tokyo?
by Hannah C.
from Virtuous Daughters, December 2014~Volume 14, Number 9
I woke up eagerly and got ready for my exciting day. I am going to Tokyo with Daddy! I thought to myself. Micah, Dad and I rode our bikes through Miyahara to the train station. I slowed my pace as we passed Mr. Donut and enjoyed the smells of fresh hot donuts. Maybe sometime I would try a curry one. As we arrived at Miyahara Eki (train station), we pulled our bikes up the steep concrete ramp and paid the elderly man a couple hundred yen to store our bikes there for the day.
Using our preloaded Suika cards, we entered the train station and boarded the next train. I heard the sweet-sounding Japanese woman's voice say "Omiya Eki desu" and I knew it was time to get off and switch to the green line which was headed for Shibuya. We walked through the busy Omiya train station, where 1 million people pass through every day. As we rode down the escalator to the train platform we saw that we missed our train. But we weren't concerned because the trains on the green line come every 3 minutes!
At the Shibuya Eki, we followed signs for the Hachiko exit. Standing on the corner outside the train station I waited eagerly for the walk sign so that we could cross. This intersection is called the "scramble crossing" by some because an average of 2,500 people cross every time the light changes during rush hour. As a 10-year-old, my view was mostly dark suits and I kept a steady eye on Daddy's backpack so I didn't get lost. But as I brushed shoulders with hundreds of Japanese men and women that day, I was the only one who wasn't lost. They were lost in their sin, sadly living a life without Jesus because they hadn't heard about Him yet.
After 10 years, my parents felt called back to the U.S. When I was in Japan, sharing the Gospel was relatively easy. We were frequently distributing thousands of cassette tapes, VHS tapes, and tracts, and I had lots of opportunities to share the Gospel with neighbors and friends. And then I found myself in Oregon, the "you leave me alone and I'll leave you alone" state. It's so much harder to cold-turkey witness with people from your own country, folks. I have struggled many years with a natural God-given burden for the lost, but no idea how to carry it out.
I do not feel like God wants me to jump on a plane for Cairo as a single young lady alone, but I know that God wants every believer to take part in the Great Commission. I started out throwing *ahem* handing tracts to cashiers. Oooh the dread I would feel as I fingered the tract in my purse. The moment of terror came as the cashier handed me my receipt and I said "and here is something for you" and gave her the tract. As I waited for the explosions of anger and disgust from the cashier, he or she would always respond kindly and most of the time thank me. Major shock, I know. It isn't that hard! Anyone can do it!
One day Mrs. T. asked our family if we could be on a rotation for playing piano at a nursing home for a Bible study they led. We said yes, but I would never have guessed what an encouragement it would be to me and the potential impact we could have on those elderly people at the end of their lives. A few years later, Mr. T. started having health issues, and my brother and I took over the Bible study there. Some of them aren't believers, and the aids wheel them into our Bible study in case they find it interesting. What an opportunity!
In 2011, our church sent a mission trip to Japan. JAPAN??? I was dying to go from the day I heard about it. But I was too young, and didn't have the money to pay my own way. God had a plan, though, as He always does! I really wasn't ready to go on a mission trip. My motives were: 1) I want to go because I miss Japan. I was still hoping to go on a follow-up trip to Japan, but the interest dissolved and everyone became excited about Africa. Um yeah. Kind of far from Japan. I was determined to not go, and once again my motives were quite skewed.
I have this brother, you see, and he can convince me to do anything. Almost. So there I was, flying to west Africa with 4 guys, including my dad and younger brother. But God taught me so much in those 2 weeks; more than I learn in a whole year! And the amazing experience of being in a foreign country because I chose to come and share the Gospel with them was so neat. In Japan, it was my parents who chose to move there and be missionaries. Sharing with people who are trapped by the lies of the devil is such a privilege.
But then something happened which meant I couldn't go back on a mission trip for awhile. Back to square one! "Stuck" in the U.S. as a single young lady who couldn't do anything for the spread of the Gospel - or so I thought.
Because of the boldness of an elderly man, my brothers Josh and Matt became really excited about street-witnessing, but I was sure that it was out of the question for me. I was trying to get a picture of me, 18-year-old shy girl that I am, walking up to, let us say, questionable-looking guys, and sharing the Gospel with them cold turkey. It just didn't fit in my mind. But it was not at all like I imagined. It is so important, so fulfilling, and so simple!
I asked a lady walking by, "Have you answered the million-dollar question?" She stopped and said "What is that?" with a smirk. "Do you know where you are going when you die?" I replied. "Somewhere good, I hope," she said. "I hope I go to Paradise where my son is." She started to walk away, so I said "This says how you can know for sure you are going to Heaven," and handed her the million dollar tract from Living Waters Publishing. That lady didn't start singing the Hallelujah Chorus, but perhaps she thought more about the question that is worth so much more than a million dollars.
Here is a recap of some practical applications of what we can do as single ladies to follow the Great Commission. Start out small and branch out as you feel more comfortable. Pray for boldness and He will give you the grace to fulfill His will. It's so important! (And did you notice the Japanese/Chinese numbering below?)
一. For the lost around the world (call 1-800-395-PRAY for ideas)
二. For the lost in your community and for people you know
三. For opportunities to share and boldness to carry it out
二. Give Gospel tracts to store clerks
It's not that scary - really! Keep them in your purse, get it ready while you pay, throw it at them and run! Well... maybe you could work up to smiling and handing it to them later. :) Living Waters Publishing has great tracts.
Your testimony or some other form of the Gospel with those around you:
一. A relative,
二. A neighbor,
三. A telemarketer or customer service representative,
四. Or even go to a park or populated area of town with a parent, sibling or friend
四. Minister at a nursing home
Elderly people at nursing homes are getting close to the end of their lives and are often very receptive and grateful. Call a local nursing home and ask if you and your family can play or sing music for them, and then have one or more of you share your testimony during the program.
五. Give to missionaries and mission agencies
Sometimes as single young ladies not desiring a career, money is harder to come by, and that's okay. Praying is still the biggest gift you can give to those on the field.
六. Ask your dad about going on a short-term trip together
Maybe you don't feel comfortable being a frequent flyer on your own, but your dad might go with you. Pray about it together. It may not be God's will for this time, but it might! There are lots of opportunities to go on trips for a week or so and it is so encouraging to be able to share to those in other countries firsthand!
If this sounds like I have it all figured out, I sure don't! I am quite shy deep down and boldness is not really part of my vocabulary. But with God's help anything is possible, right? Start small and expand - God will bless your efforts!
**I used Kanji, Japanese characters, for the numbered lists**
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