Upon leaving Cumberland Gap after breakfast with Bruce, I set my eyes upon my last destination: Nashville, TN! I had the opportunity to stay with another good friend, Joe Chen! He is actually a brand new uncle very much like myself, but I didn't give him any pointers on that... He is attending school at Vanderbilt, and while he might not be a missionary (the link goes to his really cool and fun photo blog!), he is a great man of God who desires to see the Church, the Bride of Christ, to be readied for Christ's return, so that makes us kindred spirits!
The three days spent in Nashville all were very different, all were very good! After arriving on Tuesday and spending the evening eating dinner with Joe and conversing with him, I traveled down to Franklin to meet with another guest lecturer from the DTS, Chris Dupré! Chris was the first speaker at my DTS, and his one week made my DTS all that it was! He is a man who carries the Father's Heart, who shares will all he meets how much God loves them! I arrived at his home that morning, spent time talking with him and his beautiful family, ate lunch with a contact from New York, visited a lovely prophetic couple, and ate dinner with another friend who works with the Nashville House of Prayer! It was a packed day, but it was actually incredibly chill, time also spent running errands like paying bills and buying a book from Target. We were able to discuss more Father Heart, share vision for my future, talk on dating/courting/pursuing a potential wife (which left me with a great peace :), and just plain goof off! It was such a treat to have had this opportunity, and he gave me a copy of his new book, "The Wild Love of God," which you can find on his website. I read it within the following 24 hours. It was very good!
The next day I was able to meet another good friend from home, Drew Cole! We were going to get breakfast together, and we chose to eat at the amazing Pancake Pantry! We had a great time discussing what I experienced in both Japan and the Philippines, sex trafficking holding a large part of our conversation because his sister is attending law school in order to become an advocate against it. Prostitution is prominent in both Japan and the Philippines, yet it is very hidden and covert in Japan while open and overt in the Philippines. But we also talked about other things, had fun, and shared the love of Christ with one another.
That night, I was able to be a part of a Bible study with Joe and some of his friends. We discussed Matthew 21, seeing Jesus entering Jerusalem in fulfillment of the prophecy of the Messiah. The people were expecting Jesus to rise up and go to war soon. So when it seemed crazy that a crowd could change so quickly and crucify him days later. I can imagine the pharisees going among them saying, "Here is this man who mocked God by entering in the city according to the prophecy, yet what has he done? Let us kill this impostor!" And that is what they did. But we discussed that maybe it was that Jesus came in and by His death, He made war upon Satan, defeating him, and removing the power of death forevermore! How amazing! Because of His sacrificial death, we do not have to suffer death! May we believe and give ourselves to Him! Afterwards, we went to the Loveless Cafe and dined on some delicious food! It was a great time!
I decided Friday morning I was ready to go home, but before leaving town, I was able to have one last pleasure of enjoying a cup of Starbucks with my cousin Rachel! It was great to get to sit and talk with her about what was going on with her and also share about my adventures. I was able to tell her about how it came about that I went to Japan with YWAM, and it was really good to share on the faithfulness of God working through it. Before leaving, we got to pray together for the future, and I jumped in my car to head home!
What a trip! I was so blessed to have had the opportunity to take time to visit so many wonderful people! My experiences along the way will be something I remember forever and will return to Japan to share! One important detail about this trip has yet to been mentioned, though. In september, another cousin approached me about driving him to Memphis before leaving for England for the next 15 months, and he said, "And your mom said you were going to take a trip to Virginia. You are more than welcome to take my car." I had prayed while in Japan that the Lord would provide a car for me to use while back so I could sell mine for support money to go back to Japan, and here it was! How amazing is that?! God is so good!
Return to Part 4: Cumberland Gap, TN!