Monday, May 15, 2006

A veritable hodge-pourri of thoughts

Hey, if YOUR wife were 6000+ miles away, your thoughts might very well be a pot-podge as well.

Was reading a post on the Reformed Oasis the other day, linked to from one of the Triabloggers' personal blogs. I just liked it a lot since this T-blogger has recently undergone a miscarriage just like Aubrey and me and his thoughts regarding how the Lord uses suffering and difficulties to beautify His Bride were touching both to Aubrey and me. The 2nd paragraph in particular was exactly our experience, the hour after we knew and even now, 5.5 months afterwards. God is good. Very good.

A few things on my mind recently, but last night I stayed up late to talk to Aub and then got up early this morning to prayer walk w/ Pastor Maruyama. That all caught up to me in the afternoon to the point that my head felt like it was full of mushy cheese. The stinky kind. Insert cheap-shot French joke here. Anyway, to clear out said mushy cheese ('cause I really needed to think of a lesson for my English class) I took a walk and had a brownie and some coffee. All better. Class turned out pretty well too.
Where did I get the brownie in Japanese hick-land, you ask? Read on...

I am glad to report that Sunday night I went, as usual, to our friends the Harada family's house. I took a pan of brownie batter over w/ which to celebrate the birthday of their young daughter Sachiho. So we baked the brownies and ate Chinese dumplings (jiao-tze I think is close to the Chinese spelling). When we broke out the brownies, I broke out the presents for Sachiho. One was a kids' Bible book w/ some very elementary English telling a few stories about Jesus w/ kids and stuff. Her mom is learning some English and so can possibly work her way thru it. The other book was one of the Manga (Japanese comic book) Gospel accounts that we have. You know, just laying around. Anyway, after receiving these, Yukari (the mom) said to Akira her husband that Alan is really a serious Christian. Well, yes, I guess I am. Anyway, this in turn led to my being able to share the Gospel w/ Akira mostly w/ Yukari and daughter Sachiho in and out of the room. I also dealt w/ some of his objections, some pre-emptively (again, insert cheap-shot French joke here), such as reminding him of the fact that there are more Xtians in China, for example, than in America, and some after the fact, responding w/ the classic 'Lord, Liar or Lunatic' reasoning to his pluralistic "everything is OK to get to God" statement. All in all, it was a great convo, and one we've been praying for for quite some time, to be sure. Talked about a lot more but I'm too lazy to remember it all and yet again too lazy to type it all out. But he said "next time you come, let's talk about this more." OK.

And then today, after our prayer walk, Pastor Maruyama's wife invited me to visit her 98-year-old mother at the hospital this evening. She had had surgery (I believe) to repair a bone fracture in her leg. So I showed up at 6 and the Maruyamas' 35-year-old daughter Nozomi was there, whom I had met yesterday at church and found to be quite friendly. So we chatted a bit and listened to Grandmother as well. Unfortunately, her voice is quite broken up (understandably) and she's not quite all there all the time, so I didn't really catch much of what she was saying. Nozomi would repeat it in Japanese so I could get it, so that was nice. She asked me quite a few times if I knew the Ueno district in Tokyo (never been there) and if I knew her old boss from that area (I don't know him). She also asked if I'm Japanese, and Nozomi assured her that I'm not. My favorite line of the evening came when she was almost finished w/ her hospital meal, which apparently furthers the well-earned reputation of hospital food. Nozomi and I had been wondering to each other what the brown mush in one of the bowls was. Ever after smelling it, we didn't quite know what it was, but Grandmother had eaten several bites. Near the end of the meal, Grandmother pointed to the bowl and said, "Nani kore?" What's that? Indeed, Grandmother, indeed.

Note - I say "Grandmother" b/c I don't know her real name.

Anyway, later I went out to dinner w/ Nozomi and Mrs. Maruyama. I tried to follow the convo, mostly unsuccessfully, but I later was able to ask Nozomi about her husband who, she had earlier told me, is not a believer. I asked if she had asked him why he's not. She said no.






OK. Don't mean this in a mocking way, but don't you think that might be a good idea?
I was venting in that last sentence. What I suggested to HER was that we can't know someone's objections if we don't ask, and such questions can improve relationships if we ask w/ love. Used the example of the previous evening in my explanation.
Was later able to share w/ them how many people on Kikai have pain in their hearts and we are called to help that pain by sharing Jesus, only Aubrey and I can't do that very much b/c we don't speak Japanese well enough. Suggested that those believers who DO speak Japanese might be good fits for that job. I have to admit I saw less than 100% enthusiasm in their eyes, but at least I made myself understood. Making myself understood is like 80% of the battle, at least for me. Or heck, dang near 99%. There's just sthg, so far, about living here that has made me feel a great deal of freedom and release to soak my conversations in Jesus. Hard to explain. Give me a few more years. (You hear that, God?)

NOTE: Prayers, supplications, beseechings, and/or petitions to God found in this post are at least 51% tongue-in-cheek.

I feel like ending this post w/ an anti-climactic ending, so I'll tell you that though I felt like studying approximately 2 words of Japanese today, I was still able to memorise a whole set of cards (about 100-120 words). How was that?

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