Chilly Sydney with Warm Hearts

Good morning,

This morning’s blog is coming to you from chilly Sydney where we have been attending the annual conference for all things Japanese in Australian and New Zealand churches.

My little heart is full with all the wonderful worship, singing, preaching, testimonies and just the casual fellowship and friendships of what happens when 180 people get together.  The Australian churches have done the catering so we’re all enjoying ‘sausage sizzles’ and barbeques, not exactly Japanese fare, but after all, we live Down Under.

I think I like the testimonies the best.  There are several of what I call the typical “Come to Jesus” moments in Japanese life: A girl comes to Australia to learn “Engrish”, but cannot really get around, someone invites her to church (or a BBQ) and she observes a lifestyle that she’s not known before.  Upon further contemplation, usually involving several years and a couple of trips up to the highest balcony to contemplate ending it all, she commits to Christ and is reborn.

I don’t want to trivialize this, but it’s so common as to appear normal.  Japanese don’t see Christ at work in Japan and when they finally encounter Christians, they have to learn to accept that this is what their hearts have been crying for, and they are welcome to join.

Getting saved and then God’s faithfulness (where have you heard that before?) seem to be the themes of these testimonies. Last night a widow of 14 years, who incidentally from the back of the room looks like a college student, told of watching her Australian husband drop dead at the dinner table from a heart attack.  She knew little English and had three children under 9.  He left her $800.

But she WAS (and still is) a committed Christian, and told of how the ‘Body’ of Christ has kept her going all these years.  So heartwarming to see the Bible commands at work; taking care of widows and orphans.

I could go on and on but then you’d have been better off just coming to the conference.

Tony’s Anagaion course was very well attended, with several folks “sneaking in” at the last minute even tho they hadn’t pre-registered.  Better than that even was that we did sell a lot of the requisite books for the course.  That’s a real good thing because I don’t fancy myself having to drag them home! Ha

As I said, our hearts are full.  It seems like these last few weeks have been all about reminding us that our first love are these people who need the Lord.

Blessings, Marsha

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