During my Basic Bible Course, I became interested in missions as I always heard about unreach people group in our country especially the tribal group. When I turned to freshman, I took up missions major because I wanted to reach out people whose in their lives never heard the Gospel yet. After I finished my study, God led me to a Church where I met native people that belong to AITA tribe in Northwest Luzon. That was a great start, a taste of what I longed for! On the other hand, God exposed me to another group of people, the Japanese young people. It was my first time I met Japanese, and they were quite a lot, a number of twenty to thirty-one young people each batch four times a year.
In the beginning, my attitude was so indifferent towards them because I learned that they are not Christians. The first thing that came up to my mind was that what was going on in there, why those Japanese non-Christians were there? Why unbelievers and not believers who are passionate in helping our orphans. In addition to this, I didn’t really like Japanese people because of what they did in World War II. A lot of Filipinos were being killed by the Japanese soldiers and many Filipinas were being raped. Plus the fact that there are a lot of Filipina entertainers today in Japan are experiencing hard time with Japanese.
But God answered me and spoke to me by means of how they behaved and how they worked along with us. As I got to work with them, I learned that they feel sorry about what Japanese soldiers did to our countrymen in World War II that’s why their organization in Japan sent them here as an act of restitution to what their countrymen did to us. As I observed them how they do their work, I learned that they are hard working people even in their young age. They are well discipline, enthusiastic, cheerful, and friendly; they love kids. As I talked with them, I learned that they are loyal and law avider. These facts gave me a second thought about them. I remember what the Bible says about the fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23. Their characters and attitudes are somehow manifesting the fruits of the Holy Spirit, but the thing is that they are not Christians. Many of them don’t even know that there is a living God who created everything on earth and up in heaven. I also learned that many of them don’t even embrace their own religion, and more than 99% of Japanese people are not Christians and to many the Gospel is unheard.
As a response to that personal encounter with God and with them, I wrote a song for those Japanese work-campers as a token of appreciation for their hard work and raising funds for our orphans. I entitled it “MORE PRECIOUS ONE”. From then on, I started praying for them that God would send missionaries to Japan so that they may know that there is God who loves them and died on a cross and rose again from the dead in the third day that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.
With this encounter, I can strongly say that God loves Japanese people and He created them in His own image, too. He wants them to know Him as their personal Savior and Lord.
It is sad to know that only few Christian missionaries today are interested to go to Japan to reach out Japanese people. I read an article from OMF Japan published in 2007 that many Pastors left their pastoral offices due to lack of support from Christian congregations. I also heard some rumors that even foreign missionaries were being sidetracked by earning money rather than building the Kingdom of God in that place. I don’t know how true it is, but if it is true, I feel very sorry before God for them. A missionary in the Church said, Japanese people are hard people for the Gospel because they are rich and wealthy and they don’t need God. It must be true in some point, but I do believe that Japanese people are just the same like other people elsewhere around the world.
God has given me opportunity to travel to at least fourteen countries during my time on board ship the MV DOULOS. As we traveled from port to port and country to country, we shared the Gospel to different level of society or you may call it different level of lifestyle. But then, there is one thing in common around the world, and that is all people possessed sinful nature, and spiritually dead.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:1-5, as for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. NIV
Being spiritually dead, how can a person respond to the Gospel? Is a dead man can hear, can feel, can see, can smell the fragrance, and can taste the good life that God has prepared for him? Not at all, unless he receives the breath of life that comes out from God, the only source of life John 1:1-3. That’s why Apostle Paul wrote to Roman believers this message, how, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" NIV
In closing, I would like to reiterate what I have already said. God loves Japanese people. He created them in His own image, too. He wants them to know Him and come to Him in faith with repentant heart, acknowledging Him that He is the source of life and everything in this world, and they were created by Him and for Him just like how He exactly created us and saved us.
I also believe that He wants them to use for the furtherance of His Kingdom in the future. But how then can they come to the Lord? The answer for this question is our task. If we consider that we are God’s people saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, then, we can pray, we can get involved, and we can support by any God given means to those who are doing missions in Japan.
I still have a lot of things to write about this topic, but this is all for now.