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Train Friend

Story of the day (or maybe even time since I’ve been here):

So…I think I’ve described how hard God is laying on my heart to be on mission for Him while I’m here-beyond the ring of my own circle of people I will obviously meet.

This is usually pretty difficult (not that I’ve wanted to REALLY try yet) as I generally only see Japanese who most likely don’t know English, and that’s all I know. When I do see gaijin-or foreigners- they are usually related to Meysen and that’s not really what God is emphasizing to me.

Spotting a foreigner is kind of a big deal here… As soon as someone sees one we hurry and tell everyone else. We fantasize about what they could possibly be doing even. Maybe they are international undercover spies or foreign ambassadors or business-people or even missionaries. Foreigners can’t really hide in Sendai.

Today God led me to a gaijin.

Four teachers, plus two sweet kids, and myself took a trip to downtown Sendai to look around and shop. When we got on the subway it ended up that someone wouldn’t fit on the bench so I sat a little bit further down. It was fine. I even got to take a cute picture of my new friends.

A few stops down I noticed a white man waiting to get on the train. Later I noticed that he had sat right next to me. I don’t know if he noticed that I was also gaijin. Starting at that moment the Holy Spirit convicted me soooooooo hard to talk to him. Like…for probably 5 minutes (which feels like years when you know you’re fighting with yourself about something) I knew that I HAD to talk to this man and I knew that if I didn’t I was going to feel guilty about it for a long time. Now, this man was much older than me, he was very involved with whatever he was doing on his phone, and he didn’t look very friendly. He could have been getting off at the very next stop making a very quick and awkward conversation (maybe a quick awkward conversation is better than a long awkward one anyway) and he could have actually been raised in Japan and didn’t know English and he could have really hated to have been bothered by a teenage-looking girl who asks a lot of questions and and and…

God didn’t really care about all those other details that I was concerned with. Not to mention I had no earthly idea what I would say to him. Starting with Jesus didn’t seem to be the way to go so I just blurted out something really quickly before I chickened out in a half second.

“Do you speak English?”
–not too shabby. It makes sense in the context of white gaijin in Japan.

–praise God! Maybe…now i have to brave a whole conversation with this stranger, maybe somehow mention Jesus, and not sound like a bumbling idiot.

I found out quite a bit about him. Not his name, though. I forget names so I usually don’t ask for them, but I’ll always remember someone by their face. He was in Sendai because he married someone who lived here. He’s been here 12ish years. He teaches English and is a “wedding consultant.” Western style weddings are very popular here.

He said that he was a minister for the weddings. Sounds promising! He said he was a minister a long time ago, back in Australia (he’s Australian). According to him, most people who are the wedding ministers just do it for the money. Still sounds promising.

Then he broke my heart. “I use to be real religious, but I’m not really anymore.” He sort of waved God off with his hand even. He continued talking pretty quickly. He just sorta threw that fact for me in their and I didn’t really get the words to say to that. Somehow I had the words to carry on a conversation the rest of the time but I didn’t have a response for his religious comment. Soon he jumped up and off he went for the rest of his day. For a little while I had him trapped in a train car where I could have said anything to him I wanted…

I truly think the spirit carried on that conversation. Most of the time I wasn’t even thinking about what I was saying…I was sort of in shock that we were talking at all. Jesus didn’t come out in our conversation, and I’m disappointed I didn’t get that into the conversation somehow. He knows where I work, so maybe Meysen’s reputation for being Christian on top of the hope that I was friendly and not too scary is some kind of encouragement. Maybe he forgot all about the conversation on the subway this morning. I’m certain there were more important things that were a part of his day. But I could not stop thinking about him or praying for him today. I’m hoping maybe I can meet him again one day and we can continue our conversation or maybe he’ll just go be inspired to read his Bible again or something. I just have to trust the Lord and His will and do the only thing I can do for that man right now–prayer.

I’m thankful that I listened to the spirit and had that conversation today…even if he broke my heart. I have a new Australian acquaintance and someone in Sendai that I can be praying for specifically.

Thank you God for giving me courage and for convicting me so blatantly. It is such an incredible and beautiful blessing to be a part of that… I pray that I allowed you to do whatever you needed to do for my train friend today. Please continue to work on his heart and allow clear signs of You in his life. Amen.


About bethyadventures

Jesus is first. I want to show Jesus and love to others, and I get excited about Jesus using me to do that. I am so unworthy, but God chose me. Unending love, amazing grace.

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