As you know, I have been working to develop a relationship with the restaurant, Quixote, just down the street from the Center. Also, Taka has been working to keep a relationship going with the smaller post office one block beyond the restaurant. So, when I send out letters or postcards or whatever, I go to the small post office,just to keep things going. It’s so neat because there are about 5 of us who frequent Quixote now, whether for dinner or lunch or whatever. Just last week, Samantha had dinner there on Wednesday. On Thursday, I left to have my lunch, my regular day for going to Quixote, and just as I left the Center Nakayama-san was coming back from having lunch there. And Taka will go every once in a while too. They have good coffee. 🙂
Well, on Tuesday, I went to the little post office to send off a card and postcard, and I didn’t get any conversation in while there, but the girl who usually waits on me had a customer, so this man had to wait on me. I was in and out and nothing big, headed back to the Center. Just a little later, Taka had to go to pay a bill, and the girl waited on him. As they were going through the paperwork, she said, “So how was the party last night?” Taka was thrown off…he was like, “Me?” oh, yeah, it’s only him because he’s the only one in the office. She said, “You had a birthday party last night at Quixote.” Taka was surprised…he asked her how she knew about it…and said that it was mine and another teacher’s birthday. She said, “Well, you know, Yamato-Machi (the area of Shimo that this street is in) is a small place. It’s a small world.” Taka just laughed nervously, and asked her to tell him how she knew…but she just kept saying that it is a small world. Hah. Finally, he was able to get it out of her that she had lunch there on Monday herself, and Satsuki-san and Mitsui-san were talking about the party.
So, there are two things to point out by this happening. One, we are being seen and kept track of by the locals. This street used to be beautiful, with lots of little restaurants and shops and movie theaters. Now, there’s nothing really here, just remnants of great places. Taka said that he is excited to think that, if just one of the people we have contact with here became a believer, it could be a domino effect along the whole street! Two, we are being seen and kept track of by the locals. What a responsibility! It’s kind of scary to think that our actions and everything are being scrutinized. I pray that God will help us keep our reputation secure and that our lives would be salt, making the people around us thirsty for God.
Also, I had a really nice conversation with Nakayama-san after our class on Tuesday. I was asking her what she thinks about the women in the class and where they are spiritually. She said that Mika is searching and very curious. Tomoko is hard to figure, but she’s a very sweet woman. Reiko-san is pretty much how Nakayama-san was before she got saved. Nakayama-san was a teacher for tea ceremony. But she really liked American and British stories and movies. Often, she would find the Bible or Christian events quoted in the stories, and she wanted to know what the stories were, since they were so popular in western culture. So, she began going to a Bible study, by Pastor Tony. After a while, she began to think that this was real, that God was real. But she couldn’t get past Genesis 1&2, where it says that God made the whole world in only 6 days. It was beyond her understanding, she had always believed in evolution. So she prayed to God that if He was real, He would show her that it was true. After a few weeks, she realized that it was true, He was Almighty God after all. But then she was afraid because her husband and mother-in-law hated Christians. She struggled with what her life would be like afterwards. But one day in Bible Study, she felt Jesus behind her and put his hand on her back, nudging her to go talk to Tony about becoming a Christian. So she did, and she believed. Shortly after, her husband got cancer and was in the hospital for a long time. I asked if her husband ever became a believer, and she said she doesn’t know. But in the hospital, she would pray and read the Bible to him. She didn’t know what she should say, except to read the Bible. After several months, her husband died, and things changed for her. She has a daughter who lives close to the church in Kawanaka and a son who lives in Tokyo. Both of them have basically told her that it’s ok for her to be a Christian, but they don’t want her to talk to them about it. Please keep her children in your prayers. I have been so blessed to be in a family where most of the members are Christian. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be the only Christian in a family where most are agnostic, apathetic, or Buddhist. Thanks!