Our final ministry day in Ishinomaki was spent cleaning the café and passing out fliers at the local schools advertising J’s café English school. While waiting to pass out fliers, Luke and Nathaniel were approached by an adorable young girl that simply wanted to play. She picked flowers for Luke and pulled Nathaniel by the hand leading him to a soccer ball all the while as her grandparents looked on with smiles. Love passes language barriers and so far, the encounter with the little girl has been the highlight of the trip for my son, Nathaniel. After finishing ministry and purchasing needed supplies for the café, we decided to cook a meal together. It was encouraging to see everyone pitch in cooking together, chopping vegetables, doing dishes in shifts, and preparing food in tiny spaces. The body of Christ shares a bond that is like no other.
Watching Kelen fellowship in Spanish with Jesse (originally from Peru) and Edgar (J’s café’s missionary from Mexico) was a faith building experience. God had engineered a team to work together who had previously not known one another and the outside observer would never know. Rich had shared in one of our debriefing sessions that having short term teams visit reminded him of a time in which he was hiking up hill with a heavy backpack. Someone placed their hand on his backpack and that slight forward pressure greatly lightened his load. It is not the size of the job before us, it is the heart in which we serve. We are called to come alongside the long-term missionaries, lighten their load, encourage, pray, and hopefully plant seeds with those they minister to that affirms their God given calling to the people of Japan. I ask that you join in prayer for Rich, Emi, Cherry, and Edgar and for J’s café that it would be a light in a place which does not easily receive the gospel message. May the Lord bring children to the English school and new families to the church services and may those who currently attend grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.