On Saturday, God decided to bring a very special sister through Shimonoseki. She came without any warning to me, but eased right into my life for the few short days we would be in the same place. Her name is Hitomi, and she is a co-pastor of a church in Osaka. She has studied seminary at Liberty in Virginia, and she is amazing. She was saved through the ministry of this church, Shimonoseki Christ Bible Church, and was invited to visit by Nakayama-san. Immediately, we struck a cord with each other. While our stories are different in detail and our locations dramatically different, we have similar backgrounds.
I didn’t get to spend much time with her on Saturday, but Sunday evening, I went down to play the piano as a sort of therapy. It’s special too, because I don’t turn on the AC for that big room while I’m playing, so after a good 15 mins, I’m sweating up a storm…but it adds to the feeling of necessity in worshipping God that way. I just love the piano and I love having a grand piano at my disposal right downstairs. While I was playing, Hitomi snuck in and I shared with her some of my favorite songs. She’s much more of a charismatic worshipper than I am. I don’t know if her manifestations of the Spirit are true or not…but I don’t get the sense that she is faking it at all. She is one of the most honest persons I have met in a while. At some point you have to just get over the differences in pratice (so long as actions are not going directly against Scripture) and depend and rest on the knowledge that you are both part of the Family of God.
After that, she asked if I wanted to take a walk with her. So we walked, and we walked, and we walked, and ended up by Kanmon Strait…a full 45 mins walk from the Center. We shared our testimonies with each other the whole way to the water’s edge and then talked a little more. Then we prayed together for encouragement and for resolution in relationships where pain and selfishness have gotten in the way. Then we walked back. My feet were dead. I slept hard. I didn’t wake up until 12ish. It was nice.
Monday afternoon, our newly formed Bible Study group planned to meet at Johnna’s apartment. Hitomi wanted to go check out the college she had graduated from, which just happens to be the college Mark goes to. So, I went with her and we met up with Mark and he showed us around and we met some people and it was very nice. I wish more students had been around, though…but it’s exam time and they are all off studying in their little nooks and crannies.
Then we took a bus over to Karato to meet Johnna. We grabbed some delicious Indian food, and I was able to gab with one of the workers, in Hindi even! One of the workers is Nepali and I’m dying for a chance to go back and meet him and talk with him about his country. That little rectangular spot of mountains will always have a special place in my heart. When we got to Johnna’s apartment, we ate our “gorgeous” Indian food (as Mark calls it) and decided just to share our lives with each other. It’s a Bible Study, but we spend so much time on testimonies and getting to know each other…we haven’t cracked the Bible open yet. But I think it’s good all the same. We all shared our testimonies with Hitomi and she asked us varying parts of our testimonies and then we prayed for each other. It was amazing. I haven’t had a prayer session like that since I was in CN. It was such a beautiful time of fellowship and worshipping God through prayer. Mark was supposed to leave at 8pm to go tutor some kids…but he got a phone call that they had to cancel. What a Godcidence! Mark was able to spend the whole evening with us. We spent probably a good 45 minutes in prayer with each other and then we took off. It was so late that we had missed every bus that might have gone out…so we had to take a taxi.
I am so blessed already with the fellowship God has given me here, but what a refreshment to have Hitomi sweep in like a cool northern breeze and deliver messages from God for each of our lives. She has invited all of us to come out to Osaka…so we’re going to try to make it out there at some point. I am so in love with my Maker and how much He cares for me and all His children. I hope that you know and can know His love for you. It is amazing, breathtaking, deep, personal, and all-encompassing. Praise God.