Recently, in correspondence with another member from this site via email, I was asked a few questions about my life and what I'm doing in Japan. I responded with the letter that I'm going to post below, and that brother requested that I would consider posting it in this thread, as he believed that it might be a blessing to others, and something to pray about.
I'm just going to copy the letter itself from my email, but I'll just give you all a fast heads up that it's written in a fashion as to answer questions such as; "Are you alone in Japan? How and why Japan? Do you preach? How's the ground there? How are you supported?.Do you lead people to Jesus?....Are you happy?" So that's why the writing style might appear a bit strange.
To be honest, I always find it a bit awkward when I see people posting things about what they're doing currently in their life or trying to reveal personal revelations that they've been having, because it usually seems they want some sort of response from the community and pats on the back about how God is using them or directing them. I just want to say that this is not my intention. The only thing I honestly want from anyone here is their prayers. If you think Christ is getting the glory out of this post then fantastic. If you feel anyone else is, then safely ignore it.
Anyways, in answer to the above questions I had written the following:
As far as some of your questions go; yes, I am alone in Japan in the sense that I'm not married, but I'm helping a very small house church which is currently supporting me here financially. We run an English school during the week as a way for the family to make money, and also as a tool for outreach. We run the only school around with a native English speaker, and we're the cheapest. Our catch is that we read from the Japanese Bible at the end of each class, and then pray over the students, and invite them to come to church. This scares away some potential students because their parents want none of that, however many of the other parents begrudgingly try to overlook the fact that we evangelize in each class, because their children are getting the best English education around.
As far as "why Japan" goes, I really can't come up with a completely 100% answer, other than that I believe with my whole heart that the Lord has lead me here. I was doing a forty day fast with my father at the beginning of 2009 and all of a sudden during the fast, it seemed that I was able to get a more solid grasp on the voice of the Lord, and I believe He wanted me to come here. I don't know to what end, but I'm committed for the long run, if that's what He has planned for me. I intend to stay here until I die, God tells me to do something different, or Christ returns. Whichever happens first.
I do get to preach here, but to answer another question, the ground of men's hearts here are the rockiest in all of eastern Asia. Many have considered it one of the most difficult mission fields in the world, just because of the cultural bondage that is so ingrained in the Japanese. Just walking around in public and riding on the trains puts you face to face with the sheer hopelessness and emptiness of the people here, and the complete unwillingness for them to have it any other way. The culture here is perhaps the biggest self contradiction I've ever seen or heard of. Everyone knows that there is something terribly wrong inside of them, as most will admit that, but they utterly refuse to try and live even in the slightest difference than anyone else around them. In their eyes', it's better to live with an empty hopeless soul than to be different. Difference is the ultimate enemy of the Japanese.
When you preach the Gospel to them, they will smile, and nod their heads, and show signs of agreeing with you, and show every sign of paying attention, but inside, they'll detest your words, and refuse them entirely because Christ wasn't Japanese, so they think He has nothing to do with them. They won't even persecute you for speaking the truth with boldness, they'll just disappear, and pretend they can't come around anymore because they have some "new obligation" that must be fulfilled. Countless missionaries (even apparently seasoned ones, so I've been told) come here, and then throw in the towel, because they never see the results they think that they should see. So leading them TO Jesus, so far no. I always try to continually point them towards Him in everything I do, and whenever I speak with them, but they still don't think their sin issue that was propitiated by a Jewish Messiah has anything to do with living in Japan and being Japanese, no matter if I tell them that it's the malady of all men. I'm continually waiting for the Holy Spirit to make the words alive to their hearts, and to convict them of their sin. I've seen the traces of His fingerprints, and the beginnings of His work, but their hearts here are SO stubborn. It really has to be seen to be believed, as I was at first skeptical when someone else told me all of this. So honestly, if you could pray for the people here around me, it would mean so much to me.
As far as being happy goes, I'm always content. The state of the church and the people here causes me a fair amount of grief, but I'm content in the fact that I believe that no matter what results (or lack there of) that I'm seeing with my eyes, Christ has a purpose in all of this for His glory. I just have to tough it out, and stay faithful to Him in everything I do, no matter what seems to be going on.