By Tina in Japan — There is a saying in Japanese: “Peach and chestnut seeds take three years to bear fruit; persimmons take eight.” What about fruit for missionaries in Japan? How long does it take for one Japanese person to go from contact with the gospel to accepting Jesus as Savior to being baptized? Some respond that it requires 20 years for a missionary in Japan to see fruit. Truly, lots more patience and love are required when sharing the gospel compared with growing fruit trees.
Mr. and Mrs. S are in their 70s and live in a city drastically affected by the 2011 tsunami. Even before the waters washed over their land, Mrs. S had suffered from severe depression. Despite her husband taking her to multiple places for help, she had no relief for five long years. As the tsunami water receded from their home, leaving behind complete decimation of all the food and work implements in their first floor, Mr. S was very worried that his wife’s depression would deepen.
As they passed by a church after the tsunami, they noticed that food was being distributed, so they joined the line to get some provisions. Pastor Ito encouraged them: “Our bodies need physical things but our spirits need comfort. Come to church on Sunday to receive God’s comfort.” This was their first contact with Christians.
Mr. S began bringing his wife each week to the worship services. Later, they opened their home as a house church, and eventually, it became a midway stopping point for each of our ministry teams. Over seven years, up to 200 Christians have come into their home. Mrs. S offers tea hospitality to each group that stops, and each visit is one more opportunity to share God’s grace with them. Along the way, Mrs. S has gradually regained her health.
It’s been a seven-year process (not quite as as long as the persimmon), but this spring, Mr. and Mrs. S were baptized, with praise and thanks to God!
- We’ve gathered resources about interacting with Buddhists and engaging them in spiritual conversation on our Path to Peace page.
- On being young and Christian in a Buddhist community: The adults weren’t interested, but the girls in the village had hearts open to the gospel. Now they wrestle with following Christ without abandoning their culture and families.
- Experiencing the unexplained leads couple to Christ: A peace beyond understanding. A literal rescue from a flood. A death. Lots of prayer. Their path was long — but it ended in peace with God.
- She became a Buddhist nun to find freedom. 20 years later, she still felt trapped: Desperate to escape the pain of her childhood, she joined the temple. Now she shares how that life also brought bondage.
- A shrine destroyed: A new believer rips down the idols in her home, even though she fears she could be cursed.
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Banner photo by Downtowngal [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons