A Satisfying Conversation
Robert Adair, Asian Access/Japan Missionary
The vast majority of our time this summer was spent doing manual labor and meeting tangible needs. This is an essential part of the gospel, and we believe that Jesus and the church were represented well by our actions. That said, I occasionally found myself dissatisfied that there was not more of a gospel proclamation element to our work. I don’t mean that we should of had someone on a street corner with a bull horn yelling at people passing by; just that I found myself desiring a better way to communicate to people the reason we came to Japan. That said, there were some wonderful conversations along the way.
There was a young Japanese woman who we will call Jane who spent a large amount of time with our teams this summer. Jane is not from a Christian background and freely admits she had never really thought about Jesus before she met the relief teams. Over the last few months she has been volunteering 4–6 days a week. She began doing so primarily out of a feeling of obligation to society for having survived the initial disaster.
Over time, Jane became very drawn to the people she was serving alongside. She talks a lot about how much fun it was to be with the volunteers and how quickly we had became her best friends. As Jane would share with us about how much our friendship meant to her and her anxiety about us and the other teams returning to the States, we became concerned that she was associating the way we were treating her with our culture and not our faith in Christ.
One evening on the way to a Christian youth event in the neighboring city, I decided to ask her a little more directly about her impressions of the Christians she was working with and of Jesus. I was blown away as she shared how her relationship with our groups had pointed her to Christ. She was challenged by our faith and encouraged by our prayers. She told us that while she was not yet sure if she could follow Jesus like we do, she was seriously wrestling with how she should respond to the things she had been learning.
Upon returning to the States, I have communicated with Jane a couple of times. We are excited to say that she is still studying her Bible, meeting with the Christians in her city, and prayerfully considering what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Pray that she would choose to follow Jesus in the near future.