Nine Months In…

Yuki and a few of our friends at our apartment.

Yuki and a few of our friends at our apartment.

Actually almost ten now.

A lot can happen in nine months, as I’m sure anyone who has witnessed a pregnancy could attest. Ironically, the morning of June 12, which marked nine months for me in Japan, I started listening to the next sermon on my iPhone playlist, and it happened to be on the topic of regeneration, or “the new birth”:

“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:7-8 ESV)

The Spirit of God creates new life within people’s hearts, and we know not when or how He does it. All we know is that our responsibility is to share the truth of the gospel, demonstrate the love of Christ, and pray.

The message was timely, as the previous night we had a few people over at our apartment. One guy specifically came over because he wanted to learn how to play the guitar, so a mutual friend brought him along. He had never been to church. Until a few months ago, he had never met a follower of Jesus. Until a few weeks ago, he had never heard the gospel.

As we talked about what kind of music he liked (Bob Dylan, Oasis, Maroon 5 to name a few), and started teaching some basic chords and a strum, the conversation started to shift towards spiritual things. Then, since the guitar was already out, someone asked if it’d be okay to introduce a couple worship songs so he could see first hand one of the ways in which we give thanks to God. Around 10:30pm, a few of us prayed, in which the gospel message was clearly restated. Then we called it a night.

It was therefore quite natural that the following morning I began to think of our new friend who had just come over as I listened to the sermon.

What I wasn’t expecting was that as I checked my email on the train ride to school that morning, I read [translated from Japanese]:

“Thanks for yesterday. I also believe in God now. This isn’t something I just thought of. It’s the result of a long process of thinking about it.”

Along with that came an email from his friend, saying that as they were riding the train back home the previous night, he understood that Jesus died to reconcile him to God the Father, and that by spending time with Christians, he feels like he understands the love of God for the first time.

Immediately as I read those words, I was reminded of what I had just heard that morning: “So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

I wish I could say that I had so much faith that I was expecting to receive such an email the next morning. Truth is, I was so surprised I had to re-read the email several times! Since I spend the majority of my time focusing on language learning, it’s easy for me to lose sight of why I actually came here. Thus, I often am gently reminded by the Lord at times like these of my main purpose: “to make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:18-20).His timing at nine months couldn’t have been more perfect.

Though I’ve never considered myself to be an evangelist, and though I know personal evangelism is an area I always fall short in, spending time with Yuki the past couple weeks has reminded me that there are few things more joy-giving than seeing someone come to Christ. I’m praying that this upcoming season, the Lord would specifically provide more opportunities to share the gospel in Japanese and see people come to faith…all of course while giving 100% to language learning in this season.

And as I write this, know that I have prayed for you as well, that the Lord would remind you, in whatever situation you may find yourself in, of whatever it is He has truly called you to do.

Categories: Missions

11 Comments

  • Dkim says:

    Blessed to hear this man

  • Andrea Wang says:

    Dear Ian: thank you so much for the reminder of staying the course….doing what God has truly called me to do in all circumstances. I am so moved by your testimony and your steps of faith. Thanks for the post. In Him Always, Andrea

  • Hilda Tsang says:

    How can you look even younger WITH hair?! Great story, Ian. We look forward to all your updates. Many blessings for each one of your encounters.

  • Jason Fukao says:

    We love you, bro. Keep up God’s good work. Thank you for this story.

  • Wes Brown says:

    Wonderful to read your post and to know of progress in language learning, and especially to hear of the witness you were able to share, and the fruit of it! Thanks be to God! Praying for you….. Wes

  • Steph chin says:

    Awesome Ian! So encouraging to hear. 🙂

  • Chris H says:

    Thanks for sharing what the Lord is doing. It’s nice to read your writing!

  • Cindy says:

    thank you for the encouraging testimony, reminder God can use us in all our circumstances, and for representing what faith looks like when Christ is in us.

  • Leo says:

    That’s awesome, praise God

  • Auntie and Itsuko says:

    Itsuko enjoyed your testimony today. I gave her a copy today.

  • ar says:

    Isn’t it just like the LORD to come in quietly like the wind and do such an extraordinarily powerful thing. You are a blessing without even knowing it, Ian 🙂

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