Kon'nichiwa! It is good to be back in Senzoku! For the past two weeks, we have been working with International Hi-B.A. (pronounced high-bee-aye) with a program called Gospel Team. Everyday, teams would leave before 6 a.m. to take trains to different stations to hand out flyers to Japanese high school students with invitations to rallies that would be held in the nearby area. Afterwards, the day would be spent in quiet time, practicing, planning, and participating in the rallies. As DTS students, we played two roles: we were either "students" or "support team". Students were considered the same as the Hi-B.A. students we were working with and were asked to hand out flyers and participate in the rallies; the support team took care of the teams by doing laundry, providing a small prebreakfast before the teams left to "tract", charge the train passes, and clean up the locations we were staying in. Although I was serving as a support team, I also was able to go tracting several times, see some of the rallies, and hang out with my team. Our team had an amazing chemistry, and one of the most enjoyable things from the two weeks was seeing the hunger inside each and every one of them! I fully expect to look them up in a few years and see how "dangerous" each of them are! I am unsure of how many students accepted Christ after the two weeks, but I do know several did! How exciting!
A lot of the staff made GT out to be a very rough experience, but a big difference between this year and past years was we have some many more DTS students than in the past. The support team members honestly did not have enough work for all of us. So in my experience, all of the problems I had during GT were not GT issues but personal issues for myself.
At the beginning of the second week, God spoke one of the hardest words I have ever received, if not heard. I had stayed behind the team to clean up some more at the church we were staying at in Hiratsuka, and I got to the station a little before 7. The next train leaving for my destination was leaving at 7:11, so I made my way to it and was luckily able to find a seat. I sat down, and waited, but at 7:11, nothing happened. I looked around, not really sure what was happening, so I watched everyone else to see what they were doing, which was waiting patiently. So I stayed. Then an announcement in Japanese came on over the train and out in the station, and afterwards, a few people would get off the train and walk to the other side of the platform. But some stayed, so I stayed. This would happen about every 6-8 minutes, and finally after an hour and a little frustration, I said, "Okay God, what is going on?" He replied: "JP, you are willing to sit and wait on a train for an hour, in faith that it is eventually going to move, watching to see what everyone else around you is doing and doing the same, yet you are not willing to wait on me?" Wow. Ouch. It was super cutting, yet so dead on. So I asked, "Alright, God, what do you want me to do?" "Get off the train." "Okay." So I got off and asked, "Do you want me to get on the other train?" "Sure." So I got on it, did not even look at the time at this point, even though I was supposed to meet my team leader at 8:45 and the train ride took 30 minutes. I would be cutting it close, but I was following the Lord. I knew He would take care of everything. So fast forward: I get to my destination, it is 8:45, and I ask God, "Alright God, how am I going to find Aaron?" I look up, and there he was walking through looking for me. It was pretty crazy.
Waiting. Waiting can be so difficult. I know I am an impatient person; I want a quick fix to all of my problems. Yet that is not who God is. He knows that when He gives a quick fix, you become focused on the fix instead of on Him. He wants to "know" you, just like any other friend wants to know you (at least good friends, that is. And I assure you, God is good!). He wants to walk with us. He does not want us to be like the child who is trying to ride a bicycle, keeps falling off, runs home for the band-aid, and runs back out to try again with no better idea on how to ride. He wants us to teach us how to ride! And I need to work on this so much! My life depends on it!
Fortunately, in three days we will be leaving for the Philippines for two weeks. We will be working in bar ministry, traffic-proofing young girls, and doing other manual labor at the YWAM base in Olongapo. There will be some structure to our schedule, but for the most part, time will not be a consideration. To explain, if someone says to meet up at 2 p.m., it will probably be at least 3 before they show up. It will be interesting experience, and I am looking forward to it! I am sure I will be updating y'all on it once we get back! Until then, God bless!