Our goal was to enter the campus without being stopped by campus police, for the IMB Missionaries who work here in Japan are always denied access due to their age. Then, we were supposed to eat lunch at the cafeteria, meeting students and beginning to cultivate relationships.
But things were not going my way. I attempted to text two of my contacts with whom I had exchanged information a few days ago, but my Japanese phone kept flashing error reports I could never hope to read. It was raining on the walk over, and both Amanda and I were without umbrellas. Once on campus, we finally bought lunch and went to sit a reasonable distance from two Japanese guys, only to watch them immediately stand up, grab their gear and leave the area.
In my heart, I was telling God this was not the way it was suppose to happen. I was here to meet people, to be the social butterfly, not to send people away. But Amanda, in her wisdom, spoke the message God was trying to so desperately show me.
What if our purpose at Hosei University was different from God’s purpose? I had one goal, to meet people. But God has one purpose for us all—to be the gospel. And being the gospel is not always as glamorous as we want it to be. We could be light at the campus just by being in prayer for the people who attended, and we could pray for God to soften the hearts of those who will one day hear the good news—even if we are not the ones who receive the harvest. God called us to this place, and our God wants obedience, not results.
We sat there in silence, praying for God’s work to be accomplished, not our own. As we were taking our trays back to the kitchen, I was stopped by a Japanese guy who wanted to talk. I did not initiate the conversation. I did not even make eye contact with him. He stopped me. And he was not the only one. By the end of the hour, I had five new contacts, all wanting to talk and hang out outside of the university. God provided people for me to begin relationships with as soon as I surrendered my will and began to seek for his. After a few cell phone pictures and many laughs, Amanda and I walked off of the campus, seeing how the not-so-glamorous work pleases our faithful God.
Dan Black, a student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, is serving with Go Now Missions in Japan.