Rash Words and Sweet Oranges

Good Morning Everyone,

We are enjoying some beautiful winter weather here in far north Queensland.  We came here with a friend to visit some other friends, and are having a good time.  It’s been lovely.

So for a bit of a break, this morning I’d like to share a missionary story of one of our greats, but maybe a little bit more humorous.

Last week I talked about the arduous life in the north of Japan, both with the isolation and the weather. For obvious reasons, this missionary may want to remain anonymous, but I suspect that maybe some of you out there reading this will remember the story.

She was a rather largish woman, especially by Japanese standards.  I have never forgotten a cute rhyme she gave me during one of our visits, referring to herself:

Some men like their women thin and willowy, but my guy prefers me ‘soft and billowy’.

I’ve held this to my heart as I get softer and billowy-er over the years.  Anyway, one day she was making the long trip to Tokyo on one of those crowded trains I mentioned. After awhile she too, made her way to the dining car.

She was able to find an empty table next to 4 business men.  She sat with her back to them and opened her “obento” or special box lunch that she’d purchased on the way in. If it’s a train box lunch, it’s especially nice and referred to as an “Eki-Ben” (“eki” meaning train station, and “ben” short for bento, or box lunch).   Japanese food is easy to like and we always try to pick especially nice ones when we ride the trains in Japan.

She was enjoying her meal when she began to notice that the talking behind her was getting louder and more animated, so she cocked an ear and listened. Very soon she began to realize that they were talking about her!

“Look at her, would you?”  They guffawed in Japanese. “Can you believe it, look how BIG she is, and what about those… (and they used the more colloquial word) ……..well, have you ever seen such a sight?”

They went from that to a few more rude observations, all while she sat and ate silently.

Then a family came in.

There were no more tables, so catching their attention, she said in her smooth and fluent Japanese, “Hello, what beautiful children you have, would you care to share the table with me, I’m about to leave just now.”

Without turning to the men, she stood, and as she headed away from the table she noticed the entire car had gone eerily silent. With an inside chuckle, she returned to her seat without comment.
But wait, there’s more.
She told me that throughout the next several hours, every one of those men came by her seat, and without a word, but with bowed heads, making no eye contact, each one offered a canned drink or an orange or some other delicacy. One even gave her a whole box of cookies.
I think the take away this week will be, “Be careful what you do when you think no one is watching………or listening!”
We’ll be back in the saddle next week, having celebrated our 49th anniversary on August 1st!
Hoping to keep my words honorable at all times, Marsha
Proverbs 12:18, “Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

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