Hello everyone. I am writing this blog post at a Pause Cafe in Ikebukero, Tokyo. I am in Tokyo as part of a Discipleship Training School (DTS) run by Youth With A Mission (YWAM.)
I left Anchorage, Alaska on the morning of the 29th of March. I flew to SEA/TAC (Seattle Tacoma International Airport). Then I flew to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). After a night in LA, I flew for twelve hours to Narita Tokyo International Airport. Then I took a two and a half hour train ride to Edogawabashi Station, which is the closest station to our house. Our house is definitely an example of missionary living, ten guys, one house, one bathroom, and one awesome God holding things together. All of us here have gone through some radical transformation in our hearts. One of the girls broke her foot last week, and God healed all the bones in three days.
The DTS is currently in the second week of lecture phase (this phase is the first three months of the five month program) and we finished the introduction week right after arriving in Japan. Introduction week was mainly about learning about the program and getting to know each other. There are seven guy, seven girl students, and many leaders. It is awesome. Back on topic now, after introduction week, we studied the Kingdom of God and now we are studying The Nature And Character of God. Over these past two weeks, God has been revealing to me some of the lies I have believed about myself and God. It has been quite difficult and painful to address these issues. However, the difficulties are nothing compared to how wonderful getting to know God has been.
Another thing I want to address is that Tokyo is amazing. I love the people here in Japan. Everyone is so friendly. If you get lost, ask for the name of the nearest station and almost anyone will help you find it. However, most of the people here have no hope. It is so sad riding on the trains and seeing all of the lonely people. So many Japanese people have no idea that they are loved. YWAM is a missionary organization, so we as students are asked to interact with the Japanese people. Our goal is to see many Japanese people come to Christ. The picture above was taken in Shibuya at the busiest cross walk in the world. We played Rock-Paper-Scissors with random people crossing the intersection. We also do ministries with Japanese organizations. The ministry I am doing is simply praying over Waseda University. Other DTS members help out with a homeless church, pray over Tokyo University, teach English, or work with the high school program HiBA. We are also praying over the area of Ikebukero. It is wonderful to see the transformation that God is bringing to Japan. This was a super cool place I saw near the Tokyo Dome.
While in Japan, we are also required to go to churches here. We can pick anyone we want to go to. The last couple of weeks, I went to a church called Cornerstone, which is in Ikebukero. It is really wonderful partnering with churches in Japan. Most of these churches have been doing what we are for much longer than we have.
There are also a couple of random facts about Japan I would like to address. There is no insulation in most houses. Most houses have washers, but no driers. There are many types of garbage cans together: plastic, pet bottles, metal, and combustibles and everything must be separated into these groups. Trains are the main mode of transportation. Wi-Fi is everywhere, but very rarely free. Most people in Japan can understand little to no English. Many things in Japan are written in broken English and make no sense to native English speakers. If you ride on an escalator, the left is for standing, the right is for walking. Most Starbucks are amazing here, they are all over Tokyo, and they have menus with pictures and English for non Japanese speakers.
And here is another picture of sakura blossoms. This was taken in Shibuya.
I am so excited to be able to share this journey with all of you. Being Japan is a dream come true, and I hope that you get the opportunity to here. Most importantly, I am so grateful that God has allowed me to take part in what he is doing in Japan. I can’t wait to share more with you of what God is doing in us and the Japanese people. I am so excited!!!
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10 thoughts on “Light Invades Darkness – Japan: The Start of My Journey”
Awesome post! I want to go to Japan too, and I also want to know God a lot more. I am happy for you since you got to experience both of my wishes. :3
Coming to Japan is amazing, but getting to know God better will radically transform you. I highly recommend both. However, be prepared if you want to do the second, because once you start getting to know God, you will have an insain time trying to go back. It is totally worth it however.
Ah, it’s time for the atheist to ruin the day! Bwah hah hah! …I jest of course. ^_^
Speaking more seriously, I’m highly dubious about a broken foot healing in three days. My guess is it was probably just a sprain. =P
But it really makes me sad to hear someone say that the Japanese people are lonely. Their friendliness and willingness to help total strangers tells me that they have deep compassion and fellowship with humanity. It’s a community of millions and that they possess these wonderful qualities in abundance without the need to invoke religiousness is a significant sign to me how easy it is to be good without god. =)
The X-rays say it was broken.
My God is big enough that he doesn’t need me to defend him.
Thanks for the comment though.
It’s probably impossible to peg all people in a culture in a certain way, whether lonely or friendly, Certainly, though, a people can have a color that generally paints them. I don’t know very many Japanese people and I’ve never been, like either of you, but certainly “lonely” and “friendly” are not mutually exclusive.
I’ll take the Korean culture as an example. Koreans often give off a vibe of RUDE to certain people, particular those like me who are the product of two different ethnic backgrounds. It’s always been hard for me to shake this rudeness and I often refer to Koreans, generally, in that manner (it’s not stereotyping if you’re of that race, right? RIGHT? -_-‘). But underneath, there’s certainly a depth and warmness that’s not obvious upon first meeting. In a kind of opposite way, it demonstrates that our superficial meeting with people is often weighed down with cultural, familial, and other considerations that don’t necessarily show the heart of those people, positive or negative (or in between).
I am sorry if I made it sound like all Japanese people are lonely. All the Japanese people I have met are amazingly nice. What I meant to say is that there is a spirit of loneliness here, unlike any place I have ever been. I love the people of Japan immensely. It breaks my heart. I want these people to have joy. I want to see them become who they are meant to be. I believe that when God wakes them up, it will be unlike anything in history. These people have so much passion. I am super excited about what God is doing here. I have been so blessed to meet many Japanese Christians who are so on fire for God to reach their nation. Their spirit is so contagious. I Love The People of Japan. I really do. I mean no offence in what I have said, but I am looking at things from a lens of what God has shown me about his plans here. I never mean an offence, and I will try to make less generalizations. Gomenasai.
I definitely don’t think it’s wrong to characterize a people as “lonely” (obviously knowing that not all people are like that). I’m ignorant of the Japanese, but I’m not at all surprised by your assessment.
I’m glad that you added some more explanation for those that might not understand, though.
Wow! This is so amazing 😀 I’ve been thinking more and more that I would really love to go to this DTS in Tokyo (I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my parents used to be heavily involved in YWAM, and they approve if that’s what I decide to do)
But wow, I would love to be there now! I can’t wait to hear more about your experiences 🙂
Jan Ken Pon! 😀
I have also been doing some posts on my other blog that are more generic and full of pictures. I can also answer any questions that you have about the program or get you in touch with some of the staff here if you want.
I am glad to hear that you are following God’s will in Japan. It seems like a place that needs you, and that you are fitting in there. I will pray for you.
Of some interest: The spiritual loneliness, the emptiness, is a common theme in many Asian countries. Asians help others readily as it is a part of their culture, but often they are isolated enough due to social propriety that they do not have anyone to connect with. I think they are those who needs God the most, along with many other populations.