This is a great addition, because we will be able to minister to more people here in Tokyo. But it also causes changes and confusion. We are in the process of training them—taking them to the mission sites, showing the train lines and helping them figure out the winding streets of Shibuya, all while they are adjusting from being away from home in a different time zone.
One day, I was the only guy on my team, so after we arrived at our mission site in Tachikawa, I let the girls have their “girl time,” while I just walked around and inside the station. I went to my favorite super market. It is hard to find, stuck in the basement of a building outside the south exit. They have amazing prices on everything, including chips, bread, sodas and their best item—meat. I had bought my sodas, bread, and snacks from this store, but I could not buy meat, because Tachikawa is 45 minutes away from Shibuya—on a good day.
But since I saw a wonderful deal on meat, I flagged down a worker in the store. Through a combination of English and a spectacular display of charades, I tried to ask if I could freeze the meat and come back later. He took me to an ice machine and said “free.” I had nothing to put ice in, but he changed that. After speaking to an employee, a nylon green freezer bag was brought out to me—the perfect solution to get my meat home safely. Even though he could not speak a word of English, even though I was the only foreigner shopping in the store, he went out of his way to help me. I felt so humbled and loved by this.
My adventure continued to the gourmet food court of Tachikawa station. It is one of the most beautiful culinary sights I have seen—lines of perfectly lit foodstands with every kind of Japanese food and more. I ended up at a cheese stand, where three employees greeted me and offered me samples. As I looked over the selection, I began to name cheeses I previously had tried, and in simple English, tell them of Christmas traditions and my favorite kinds. I even told them I could not buy anything, but they still talked to me and offered me samples. Even though I was only able to share such a small part of my life with them, they made me feel loved beyond measure. I had a handful of other experiences such as these while I walked around, seeing what other Japanese people would make true eye contact with me.
Some see the Japanese as having a cold and hard exterior, but they are the most warm and beautiful people once you are able to get inside. They have so much love to give—so much love, I have been blown away and been blessed beyond measure. I was humbled and thankful God would let me come and serve people such as these.
My experience was a reminder from God. Our call as Christians is to love people. Countless verses in the Bible speak of love. It is a dominant theme of the Bible. While I am here, in Japan, God has called me to love people. But this day, God used unbelievers to love me. And it felt so wonderful to be loved.
Love is powerful. But the love of God is even greater. These people who loved on me only were loving in part. It is only through the love of God that true love can be made whole. This is the love instilled into our very being—a love that will radiate from us, if we are willing.
Being loved moved me emotionally. But being love to the people around us—it moves people’s lives. May we be conductors of God’s love.
Dan Black, a student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, is serving with Go Now Missions in Japan. See all Students On Mission Blog posts.