Dear praying friends,
We are safely home now and I want to fill you in on our final days in Okinawa, as we had no internet on Thursday and traveled on Friday.
Wednesday began with pancakes and a two-hour debreifing meeting for the team sponsors, senior leaders and the six Japanese pastors we were working with. The rest of the team practiced skits and testimonies for our church ministry later that day. Lunch was a special invitation from the pastors to a traditional Japanese restaurant, We enjoyed sushi, wasabi, tempura, miso soup and egg pudding (which Mr. Saito told us was his favorite as a child). Spirits were high!
We returned to the church for a quick team time before dividing into groups to attend the Wednesday night prayer services at three of the churches--Urasoe, Ginowan, and our "home base church" in Okinawa city. Each group has a story to tell, but here are some highlights: Okinawa group went to a busy street to personally invite people to the service and one woman did attend and brought her children. After skits, Solon and Ramsey gave their testimony and Mr. Saito gave a message from the Bible. At the Ginowan church, the mini team ate dinner with the pastor's family, handed out fliers, and performed two skits and Natasha gave her testimony. The Urasoe group also ate dinner with the pastor's family and then did skits for the prayer service. Kenji gave his testimony and I gave a message. A woman there commented that after hearing the testimony and message she now felt confident to write out her testimony and be baptized.
Thursday we traveled north to a "prayer house" to help with yardwork and have our team debriefing. We stopped on the way for souvenir shopping and lunch, complete with a spontaneous "Knocking Skit" for the crowd gathered there. Mr Saito and I explained the gospel bracelet to one of the shop owners, Ms. Mizno. At the prayer house we dug weeds in the afternoon and had a long, fun, and meaningful last team time with sharing and prayer about what God had done on the trip. Later that night, Natasha followed God's prompting to share the gospel with the wife of the caretaker (no translator since she was Filipino!) and prayed with her to receive Christ.
At the airport Friday a.m. we had some goodbye's with the pastors before boarding our flight for Taipei. In the immigration line at Tayouan, Kenji explained the gospel to a Japanese man standing next to him. They went all the way through baggage together before saying goodbye!
I am so thankful for this team's heart to share Christ and love people. Thank you for praying us through sickness, language barriers, and meeting so many people. I know that this week has left all of us encouraged--both on the team and in Japan. We are trusting God that our experience this past week will continue to bear fruit in our lives and those we served in Okinawa.
Brian for the whole team!