“When I was 12 years old, a missionary saw me and suggested that I learn how to do flower arrangements. I said, ‘Dudes don’t do things like flower arrangements’. The missionary then said, ‘In life, there’s a difference between choosing not to do something because you don’t know it and being knowledgeable about something and then choosing not to do it.’ My view completely changed after he said this. So I learned how to do flower arrangements as well as some other things, but in the end I ended up choosing to run my own flower shop. 30 years have passed since that moment.”
“제가 12살 때였는데, 선교사가 저보고 꽃을 배우라고 권하더라구요. 그래서 제가 ‘사내새끼가 무슨 꽃을 배워요.’라고 했어요. 그랬더니 선교사가 ‘살면서 모르고 안 하는 것과 알고 안 하는 것은 다르다’라고 말하더라구요. 그 말에 제가 완전히 넘어갔어요. 그래서 그 후 꽃을 배웠는데, 다른 것도 좀 하다가 결국 꽃집 운영을 선택했어요. 그렇게 30년이 흘렀죠.”
I don’t think I could ever fool myself into thinking Mary’s “yes” was an easy one. So too my “yes” is said with tears, fear, but faith and love that covers any darkness. My soul meekly says “let it be done unto me according to Your word” trusting that God knows better than I do.
As you might have already read, I will be serving in the England Leeds mission so I won’t be encountering this problem as often … *sigh* … This was actually the one struggle I might have been looking forward to :)
Luckily there are always words like
adumbrate, conflagration and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to learn.
On October 8th, the first fire was set at the Bethel Non-Denominational Church. Between October 10th and October 14th, three more churches were burned — New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, St. Augustine Catholic Church, and the New Testament Church of Christ. In the early hours of Saturday morning, another fire was set at the New Life Missionary Baptist Church. All 5 churches are within three miles of each other.
The one who cares more always loses (and why that’s okay)
A while back I remember reading an article about modern relationships and the author made a bold claim: “The one who cares less in a relationship always wins.” I don’t remember much of the article, but that sentence has haunted me ever since reading it. The article went on to talk about how relationships are often a power struggle and the person who cares more about the other person is the one who is usually the first to have their heart broken, get hurt, or be let down. In a nutshell, it’s easier to be apathetic in relationships because you don’t risk getting hurt. If you don’t have expectations and you don’t care, you don’t have as much chance of being caused pain, heartbreak, or being let down. Simply put, caring less is better for you (or so this article said).
Needless to say, this article resonated with me. Why? Because I often feel like, in the context of this article, I am the loser in relationships. I am always the one who invests more, cares deeply, and has great expectations of the people I meet. More often than not, I am met with hurt and pain and frustration from my relationships, realizing that I am not loved and cared for as much as I care for the people around me.
For a long time this elicited a response from me that involved me telling myself “Take a chill pill, Jill. If they don’t care as much as you do, it’s pretty weird for you to keep caring so much.” Basically I backed down in my relationships. I didn’t fight for my friendships. I became a part of this vicious cycle of apathy. If they didn’t love me deeply, I couldn’t be bothered with loving them deeply. My relationships stopped being about how I could love others, but how I could love myself and not get hurt.
I was sucked into this cycle of apathy for too long, and something didn’t feel right. I asked myself the classic question “WWJD?” (what would Jesus do). And that’s when it hit me - Jesus cared and loved more than anyone and lost harder than I could ever dream of losing.
Jesus literally took on the flesh of man because He loved His fallen creation so much. His creation didn’t always love Him back (heck, even those who love Him still don’t love Him very well!) but that didn’t stop Him from giving and loving and serving. He wept for humanity, He had His heart broken by His children, but that didn’t make a difference in how He loved them. Jesus came to earth to love and lost so hard. He lost so hard that He died a humiliating death on the cross all because He cared and loved so much.
In learning to love others, I choose today to look to the cross rather than looking to those around me. I understand that loving fully and caring deeply will often mean that I lose, have my heart broken, and be let down. But that’s okay. At Calvary, Jesus loved so hard that he became a loser, but still rose victoriously and is the greatest example of love to which we can ever look. Today I choose to “lose” in my relationships because I know love is worth it.
The first photograph is from the book “In Christ’s Stead”: Autobiographical Sketches, which is the memoir of Joanna P. Moore, a white missionary who dedicated her life to improving the condition of African Americans in the South [Jubilo! The Emancipation Century].
In the third photograph is Marie Lassus, the young daughter of a black mother and a French father, was an affluent member of the city’s free population.
In the fourth photograph is Ida B. Wells, she wrote many pamphlets exposing white violence and lynching and defending black victims. In 1895 she married Ferdinand Barnett, a prominent Chicago attorney. The following year she helped organize the National Association of Colored Women. [For Harriet]
Week 3 through 6 Update! (Breakthroughs, Spiritual Victories and other cool...amazing...rad...stuff.)
Welp. It’s literally been 3 weeks since I’ve updated everyone through my blog newsletter. And THINGS have been going down, let me tell you…
*(Although I’ve contacted several of my family members and friends via Skype in these past 3 weeks…if you’re reading this and I haven’t contacted you…please don’t feel bad. Message me anytime while I’m here and we can set up a time to talk about what the Lord is doing here…or we can just meet up when I get back to Miami or Lynchburg.)*
Ministry has been REALLY keeping me moving! Like nobodys business. A typical week lately has consisted of me doing many of the several things listed, such as, teaching English and Bible Studies, spending time with my college friends at their English Club, making fancy caffeinated beverages, teaching babies-and trying to keep my fantastic (and I mean fantastic) toddlers, and their 3 second attention span entertained, and riding 3 PACKED trains back and forth from work and [almost getting into a brawl with mean crotchety old men who purposely bump into me as I run to the next train so they can cuss me out in Japanese as I yell in response to their rudeness, “BRING IT ON, OLD MAN! I’LL TAKE YOU DOWN!!!!!" ] trying to respecting my elders…
But when I finally get a RARE chance to "slow down” from ministry… I’m either, catching up on (or avoiding) homework for my internship, in the word (and getting wrecked by the Grace of the Gospel), eating really amazing Japanese food, passed out, watching anime, or taking my dorky loveable freshman roommate around town to help him film Tokyo for his missions project. Basically. Or on some rare (common) occasions I find myself in some random part of Tokyo sharing the Gospel and getting into deep existential conversations on top of a mountain, (which totally happened by the way.), helping drunk college kids my age off the street, and making sure they get home safe… To getting invited to sit at the dinner table with elder missionaries and Japanese Christians on the field here who have more wisdom in their pinky finger than I have in my whole body.
In the midst of living in this absolutely crazy metropolis that is Tokyo, Japan…God, Yahweh, Our Father in Heaven, has blessed and granted me a multitude of opportunities to share the Gospel tremendously in these past 3 and a half weeks, while also being personally wrecked and blessed by the truth of the Gospel myself, and the future glory of Jesus Christ.
Not saying it hasn’t been hard, to be transparent for a minute, getting to places on time and trying to be “super-pro active” in ministry has been hard…especially because of “missionary burnout”-but in that whole process, (Just as I talked about finding our strength in the Joy that we have in Christ a couple weeks back…), I’ve been receiving GOOD constructive criticism and and pep talks from my supervisor and other elder missionaries to remember your purpose so you won’t get caught in a works based mentality (especially here in Tokyo…which is exactly what we are fighting against as beacons of the Gospel here in Japan), we can easily end trying to “do the most”-and get so burned out that we can’t achieve anything to the fullest extent of our being….so with realizing this in this last week coming up…even when I know I’m doing “good” so to speak…If I’m not doing my best unto Christ..I ain’t doing much at all. So pray for me as this final week and a half in Tokyo begins, that I continue (but even more so…), to be led by the Holy Spirit and seek out discernment and wisdom in HIM fully as share these final moments with my Japanese friends who hearts are maybe seeking Christ, as well as my relationship with my Japan Missionary family here in Tokyo.
Now here are some Praises/ Prayer Points/Cool Stuff Jesus is doing here
Jun-Ojisan (the friend of ours who is struggling with chronic depression and other illness-) is finally breaking through! Lately he’s been coming to the cafe, and the Lord now on several occasions has led the staff together to pray over him every time he’s come…and not like one of those, “oh let me pray for you, bud…”-sympathy prayers, but some laying of hands, deep intercessions and prayers of healing and deliverance. It was beautiful to see one of the days that he came in, one of our Japanese managers at the cafe praying over him in Japanese, and she had tears running down her face as she began to pray….it probably was one of the most beautiful moments in ministry here that I’ve seen…honestly. It also reminded me of this verse…[Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.-Romans 8:26]
My babies are coming to church now!: Well, not my actual children…but the fact is, the Lord has been using my kids class where I teach 3 year olds on saturday to build a bridge for the Gospel in the lives of their parents…and now these little chicken nuggets that I teach, and their parents have been coming to SonRise Church…(recently one of the families haven’t due to an uncle being sick, but I’m praying they will come through again soon.)…and one of the couples (TK who I mentioned way back who heard the Gospel about 4 weeks ago), he and his wife are now attending a weekly Bible study at the Cafe.God is good, y'all.
Meeting random Japanese Ex-Pats and sharing the Gospel with them too: On several occasions in these past few weeks I’ve met Japanese guys who speak fluent English, and who have told me stories about how they fled the land of the rising sun in order to find themselves and experience life from a new perspective (basically go to America or Australia to study abroad or live there…) but, that’s been cool, because God being God, gave my team and I a moment on our day off hiking the mountains of Tokyo…and getting absolutely lost, to meet this random Japanese-American dude name Taku, and get into a REALLY intense Gospel conversation on the top of this glorious mountain peak that YAHWEH-the true and living God created.
For Jun: That the Lord would continue to break down those strongholds of depression and the lies that are keeping him in bondage…and that we as a team would be proactive in continuing to be obedient to the Lord and continue ministering to him, and other customers potentially struggling with depression
For TK, his family and the other families now fully attending SonRise Church and our weekly bible studies now.…Just pray for consistency as well as for their hearts to be more open to the fullness of the Gospel, and that soon, that both those families will all accept Christ as savior.
For Taku (the Japanese American guy I met on Mt. Takao), that the conversation that the Lord ordained in His sovereignty would begin to stir up the desire for him to want to know more about the faith in Jesus Christ…and that the Lord would just begin to put people in his path to water the seed of the Gospel that was planted in his life.
For my college friends (and myself): Since this is my final full week of ministry coming up…the Lord is opening up some doors to be able to really reach out this last week and openly share the truth of Jesus Christ with my friends…from being able to teach and basically share the Gospel at Meiji University (one of the big-prestigious Universities in Tokyo where they are training up future lawyers and politicians), to getting to hang out with some of my close Japanese friends this weekend in Odaiba, as well as getting to host a end of the year/see you later party this coming saturday of 7/26/14 at SonRise Cafe, and getting to share my testimony at church the following sunday (I might end up sharing on both days…who knows?) But, in general I am excited for those hearts that have heard the Gospel, or are open to it…to be able to experience it and hear it potentially this weekend…so please be praying for my team and I in these last events during the summer…
And thanks everyone for being supportive and praying and interceding for me back home…so thankful for the support of the body of Christ both here and overseas.
God is awesome, y'all
Ken Hayashi (Gerald Darling)
(The Peak of Mt. Takao overlooking the entire Metropolitan area of Tokyo…May your spirit move in this city Father, in Jesus name, Amen…)