Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Navigating The Blind Alleys

Every other Tuesday morning we have a Ladies' Visitation Ministry where I got to know my friend Pam so well- she used to head it up until she moved :(. I *love* ladies visitation. I have had the opportunity to talk to many through this ministry. The Lord has taught me many things just by talking to others...sharing the Gospel and answering questions. It has so strengthened my faith and proves that it is a MUST to search and study the scriptures.

Well, yesterday, another "Pam" ...Mrs Pam and I went out on a trek in Okinawa to find a family that had visited our church. With 3 sets of directions you would think that we could have easily found their house...NO, I truly felt hindered...I felt as if we were being blinded to finding this house (which turned out to be an apt complex). We prayed...and after parking in an uncertain area where we could have very possibly been towed (there were no signs) we walked in the misty rain up and down the street trying to follow our map which was in Japanese. We asked one Japanese security guard to help who did not speak a lick of English, but he happily pointed us in the right direction down the street. It was as if there were evil forces all around us hissing and spitting at our presence. God always has His way of course...regardless of those that would seek to hamper His spreading of the Word. Another Japanese lady on the way happily took our map and walked us down the block the rain, to show us the building. When we did finally find the apt, noone was home, but we left a note and church info so they would know of our effort to reach them. We were sure to give the young Japanese lady who helped us a tract and ask her in poor Japanese to please read it. With a bow and a smile we felt refreshed. God was so good to help us by using someone who we could give a Japanese tract to...and hopefully reach her heart with the Gospel written in her own language :). There were no accidents on this trip- the Lord was in control. We do our best and pray for the Lord to bless our efforts for His honor and Glory.
The Japanese...well, Okinawans anyway, are such polite and beautiful people. My friend Alice, a missionary here, explained to me some of the difficulties of witnessing to the Japanese. They don't care too much about death or eternity for one thing, and there is not a good translation for the meaning of sin. The closest thing they have is the word crime. When sin=crime, it is hard to convince them that they are sinners in need of a Savior. They will say they have never stolen anything or committed any crime at all. They really are what the world would consider "good people", well, unfortunately there will be no "good people" in heaven...just sinners Saved by Grace.

Please pray for Maranatha Baptist Church as we seek to continue our outreach to the lost, the Military and the Japanese here on Okinawa. God is so good, and the evil one would love nothing more than to waste our time by "blinding" us to those we are to reach out to with the Gospel, send us on a bunny trail to nowhere, or to have us be plain discouraged. We must be in constant prayer for those around us. I am so glad that the Lord can always find us and is never hindered or blinded to reaching us wherever we may be physically or spiritually. And, you never know, we may just meet that cheerful Japanese lady with a polite little bow and a smile beyond the Pearly Gates. We found her in His perfect timing though it would seem we were just lost on the streets of Okinawa. Have a Blessed Day!!!!


Grafted Branch @ Restoring the Years said...

I love that with Bloglines, I never miss one of your stories. This one was especially compelling, Heather. Thanks for writing it all down and letting us peek into your ministry in a far-away land.

Pam said...

Heather, I'm so glad you took over this ministry when I left. You are perfectly suited for it, as you care so deeply about lost souls. Thank you for following the Lord's leading and being faithful in what he has given you to do. I miss you!

staceyhoff said...

Hi Heather :)

Yes, I am very familiar with Wyomissing and West Lawn. I didn't grow up here all of my life, but my husband did, and he went through Govenor Mifflin school district from K-12th. I moved to PA in Feb.2001, shortly after I graduated from college. I came to PA to move in with Alan (my now-husband.)

There are many different cities and states I could boast(?) If I wanted to where I have been growing up, as my step-dad was in the Navy and I was a Navy Brat for awhile (6-14 y.o.:),but,by far this is the best place *to me* because I have my husband, the rest of his family, my church family and my friends here ;)

BUT, if I could have all that~ and California too (my birthplace, San Diego,CA) I WOULD! In a heartbeat!~!!~ I haven't been back there in sooo long; since I was 18. And that was a quick 2day trip during which I only saw the insides of courtrooms and judicial halls and whatever scenery was surrounding them and my hotel room 2 blocks It was a trip to testify in court against my mother so that I could help in getting my sisters free from her grip so they could be placed for adoprtion (I know, sounds bad; you have to know my whole life story to know why I would do that at 18.And why my family would ask me to. Now my sisters, brothers and I are great, btw;) I am planning a pilgrimage back to San Diego next August with a few cousins of mine who used to live out there as well. I am sure looking forward to it!! This one will just be for fun and visiting the fam. :)

My friend Amy: she did die, last
Thursday night close to 1a.m. Of course she was in the hospital bed when she passed, but her mom was with her, holding her hands and praying and though I was not there at that time I hear it was beautiful. I can imagine that it was. Amy is with Jesus right now, I know, looking down on us and holding her big stick-lol- we had a joke between us when she was in the hospice center, when we both knew that she was going to die, it was just a metter of when- that she would say " When I get up there (into Heaven) I'm a-gonna have this here big, long stick, and every time you guys get outta line, I'm-a-gonna-poke-ya-wit-it and set yer straight!" Lol :)
I guess I really should have updated people.... her funeral service is this Wednesday and our pastor is officiating. Her ashes will be buried in the grave plot her parents had picked out for themselves, right next to their previosuly passed daughter ( she died at 4 months old.) The family did not want to cremate, but it was the only option they could afford :( Please pray for Karen and Dennis,her parents,and BJ and Ethan, her boys left behind - 6 and 10 years old- they will be living with their grandparents who lost their home during a bankruptcy and live in a bvery small trailer now, with only a futon for both boys to share for now. They are in prayer about finding a house to buy, which will be very difficult with no money saved up and a bankruptcy on your credit history... but God can do exceedingly and abundently; let's pray that He send them the right people to cut them a break. Praise the Lord for bringing Amy home to Himself, too; she was saved only fater this Cancer struck and it is the disaster that pushed her right into His arms. It sounds sick, but, in that way only, the Cancer was good. Or, God redeemed it to make something good out of it, more like it! :)

TTYL; thanks for reading my humble little blog :)

staceyhoff said...

Heather,I just read your post. I didn't comment about it earlier, but I just wanted to make sure I get to say that this was a beautiful post. I have had the Japanese and Chinese people in my heart on and off lately(just in the last two months) and I have always felt a burden to pray. Pray that the gospel will go forth and not be hindered, that the people seeking God's face will find it, that God will get into every crack and every corner and His love will shine brightly for all to see there, where your at and all around China and Japan. China is a scary place for me in my prayer times, because I keep feeling like Satan has a very strong hold there- superstitions, Gods that are not our God,The Lord, the only 1 true God~ and I feel like satan is angry about beleivers trying to take back China for God, and Japan. I know that sounds crazy; it is in that I would never come to that conclusion on my own understandings of China or Japan, but spiritualy, when I pray, I feel a lot of fear all over the areas of China and Japan. Thank you, dear sister, for serving the Lord there where you are and bringing the gospel forth like one of God's soldiers,of love. Please let me know if there is any way I can support your efforts/your churches efforts in doing this~ I know certainly, with prayer. If there is anything else, do let us know. Peace!

Deeapaulitan said...

God is good, and you were faithful! What a trouper to not give up!! I spent two summers in Korea, and I must agree that Asian people are some the kindest, most thoughtful and generous people I have ever met. I also must gree that getting across the concept of their need for Christ is a difficult one. The culure is very works oriented. Do good = get good. I began to come at "sin" from the aspect of vices (eating too much, thinking badly of someone, lust, pride, anger...) that we all do, and then turning that to show them imperfection and how only coming under the blood of Christ can give us hope of eternal life. That our good things we do are pleasing, but not what bring us into right relationship and promise eternal life. I had to break down the "sin" to individual ones rather than talking of them broadly as "sin". I hope that might help.
I must applaud your heart, Heather. You are a champion for the Gospel if there ever was one!