Greetings! Oh how long it has been since I have last posted! Well, I will spare you the whines and complaints about that.
For the past six weeks (including this one), the DTS has been in what is called the Outreach Phase. Normally, the first twelve weeks of DTS is spent in the Lecture Phase were we have speakers from within and outside of the DTS come teach on certain topics. The YWAM Tokyo DTS is slightly different in that we split our lecture phase into two parts, ten weeks before outreach and two following. But for where I am going, these details are unimportant (but interesting to know nevertheless).
The first outreach for us to participate in is called Gospel Team/Let's Be Friends. For two weeks, international high school students who attend International Hi-B.A. (High School Born Again) along with staff volunteers travel around the Tokyo area and beyond inviting Japanese high schoolers to come to rallies that are hosted by Japanese Hi-B.A. These two weeks are some of the fastest paced weeks of the summer, groups waking up at 5:00 am to take the train sometimes upwards to an hour away to hand out tracts/invitations, preparing for the rally, host the rally for the Japanese high schoolers, become friends, and travel home in order to do it all again the next day! However, the fruit that one gets to see in the lives of the high schoolers both ministering and being ministered is far worth it!
While I helped with this outreach last year as a support team member (wash clothes, clean, provide food, charge train passes, and other odds and ins), I was designated as a team leader with another YWAM staff named Lindsey Hollands. I served Lindsey's team last year, so it was fun to get to serve together as leaders for the outreach. It was a wonderful two weeks of leading, ministering, and discipling multiple people, from Japanese high schoolers to other leaders!
I would like to share one story from the two weeks, and I hope to make sense without too much explaining. Before every rally, a few people go out to do some last minute tracting, but the true goal is actually draw some students into the rally that evening. So the day of our first rally, four of us left to do this, and while out, I saw a group of six male students. I stopped them and said hello, and I asked if they were busy that afternoon. Throughout the whole interaction, their numbers grew as more friends walked by before moving along to their next destination, but the initial crowd stayed with me. I was trying to convey to them that I thought they would really enjoy coming to our event, and if they were not busy, they should. Even though their was a language barrier, not all things are stopped by it, and I could tell there was some essence of mocking me taking place. Eventually this group left, and we walked back to the rally location without any accompaniment.
Later on, though, Lindsey brought two high school boys up to the room we were meeting in, and I thought one of them looked familiar. Apparently, of all of the guys I talked to in the group, two of them decided they would come! In fact, one of them told Lindsey that the reason he came was because his friends had kind of mocked this guy who had talked to them (me), and he felt sorry for me. Before we all left for the station, I stopped one of them and told him that he had a gentle spirit that had probably been insulted as weakness, but Jesus Himself was called gentle. So that was super encouraging.
Well, a week later, we were working with the same Japanese Hi-B.A. staff as we were at that first rally. He shared with the groups there about these two students who had come back after the previous week's rally, and he asked them why they came back. They told him two reasons: one) the other regularly attending students made friends with them; and two) Gospel Team. They continued on to talk about how they had met "JP" and how when "JP" talked to their friends, "JP" talked with a passion about whatever he was saying. I keep using "JP", for this is how the story was described to me; Tsugaru-san said they kept mentioning me by name, talking about my passion and how seeing me was one of the reasons they not only came to the first rally where they got to meet Christians, make friends with them, hear the Gospel, hear testimonies, and have life spoken over them, but it was a reason they CAME BACK too!
Who am I that I would be used by God in such a way! I am blown away with how even with a language barrier, love and passion can pass through... Such simple efforts, for this is the truth: when I approached those students, I believed that if they came to that rally, if we loved them, and if they listened to the Gospel, they could be saved. That is how simple it is to me: I believed that the Gospel is "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes". That is all it takes; will you believe it too?
This is a link to the blog post from this rally!