Tuesday, February 22, 2011

50-50 Day

Only a mathematician could determine the exact day, but it's pretty close. It's 50-50 day. Having turned 41 last month, my life can probably be divided in half. The first half...God's preparation in my life for ministry in Japan. The second half...well, mostly made up of ministry in Japan.

It was at the "tender" age of 20 1/2 in the summer of 1990 that I first stepped foot in Japan as a short-term missionary. Getting off the plane to Tokyo, I had little idea as to the crossroads in life I stood at. God was about to change the focus of everything for me. His love for the Japanese people was about to become my own (His love for one in particular--Kaori Fukase--was about to become my own, too).

At 41, my life has been more about Japan, than about anything else short of Him and my family. At 41, my heart aches twice as much as it did at 20 1/2 to see the Japanese return to their Creator. My passion for the revival and harvest in this country is twice as strong. 20 1/2 years...20 1/2 more years from now I will be nearing retirement. "Lord, help me to use the time you have given me to reach many, many Japanese with your Gospel of good news. Use me up for Your glory and name's sake. May I make You famous in this country."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Nice try, Kevin" file

This one goes into the "Nice try, Kevin" file. I just thought it was a nice-looking bunch of flowers in the storefront and, on the spur of the moment, decided Kaori deserved to enjoy them. Chrysanthemums, however, are usually seen at Buddhist altars along with incense sticks and food morsels for the dead. It's sort of like giving your beloved a grave marker for their birthday. This was a point that Kaori reminded me of when I presented my well-intended gift.

If I had stopped to think about it long enough, I might have remembered that this variety is more associated with occasions of death, then times of joy. Navigating the cultural symbols correctly often gets me in trouble. After 12 years in Japan, my nice try, Kevin" file is pretty full.