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“But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” ~Matthew 20:13-16
Ayuma went on a long journey to meet Jesus.
Ayuma is a 26 year old man from Kyushu who decided to run away from his job and his hometown. He left work one day and started walking towards Nishinari in Osaka. The journey of over 600km took about a month and a half and he relied on strangers for food and shelter. After a stopover in Kobe, he arrived in Osaka, in Nishinari’s triangle park, right in the spot where our park church (Roses Church) meets every Wednesday and Sunday. When he woke up on the park bench, he was surprised to be surrounded by a group of people who were talking about God. He said his first though was “Wow, I didn’t know there were still people who believed in God!”
Ayumu went on a long journey to meet Jesus.
He went from having no interest in God (and no knowledge about Jesus) to getting baptized in about a month and to joining in our evangelism team in a month and a half! That journey seems a lot longer than the walk from Kyushu.
The day he came to the park church was beautiful. It felt like watching the church operate as it was meant to. Ayumu was able to join our group so naturally, nobody worried about whether he was a drunk or was bothered by his unusual voice. People took turns talking with him and sharing the Gospel. We spent the whole day together and group members made sure he had a place to stay for the night. One of our church members helped him find a place to stay permanently. When he started helping at the soup kitchen, someone there helped him to get a job interview.
“So the last will be first and the first will be last.”
It feels like we are seeing this before our eyes with Ayumu. Although he has a difficult past, a disability, and other cards stacked against him, he is becoming first in the kingdom of heaven. Are we willing to join the last so that someone else can become first?
Today as I was riding my bike back from the local prison, I was thinking about how both prison ministry and fostering children are not as romantic as they appear in these missionary letters!
One of the first things I heard from a chaplain doing prison ministry was “You can’t do prison ministry unless you’re willing to have the guys visit your home”. I’m not sure if I’m up to that standard but I do try to be a friend to Tatsu – a man whom I have mentioned in several prayer letters and sermons over the years.
Also – over the past month we had a 2 year old foster son staying with us. He was a cute guy, constantly on the go, and often throwing temper tantrums. When loving people like K and Tatsu we often find ourselves frustrated, and are sometimes even pushed beyond our limits. We end up saying or doing things that we shouldn’t. This is not heroic and it feels pretty terrible.
However, I have recently been comforted by the following thought:
God is more powerful than we think he is.
The Bible tells us that “God is love.”
Is it possible that love is more powerful than we think it is?
Is it possible that our small acts of love are “achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”?
- A daughter of our friend told us that 8 young people at her work (Osaka, Japan) became believers. Praise the Lord!
- We thank God for his protection over K while he was at our place. Please pray for healing for his family.
- We thank God for providing prayer partners in Japan in Canada. We welcome you to join anytime! Click here to watch Japan House of Prayer or click here to join Multiply House of Prayer.
- English Bible Cafe at Ishibashi Church October 21st.
- For God to bring people who are ready to receive Christ to Roses’ Church and Ishibashi Christ Church.
- For Ayumu that he will continue to walk with Jesus.
- For God’s wisdom and provision as we plan our Ministry In north America (MINA) time. We will need a place to stay in Winnipeg area from April 2022 to August 2022!
- For Masami’s parents to receive Jesus as their Saviour.
Thank you for praying,
Cory and Masami