First Week in Tokyo

I am already one week in Japan. The flight went smoothly and I was even able to sleep a little! Thanks to all who prayed that my flight would go well. About two hours after landing, I sat with the Rosenkranz family in the living room, where we drank tea together, exchanged thoughts and then enjoyed a delicious dinner. They told me that they were planning a Ministry School trip to Miyazaki the following week, where all the students from the three Jesus’ Call churches would come together. And they invited me to come along. Since I don’t have a job, they said I could fly down as early as Thursday and not return until Tuesday, in which case the tickets would be much cheaper (so that would be from 10/5 to 10/10). Of course, I said, „Yes, I would like to come along“. 

At about 8 P.M., my roommate called to say she would be at the train station soon, so we packed my things into the car, picked up my roommate and went to the apartment where I will spend my next few months. I live together with two young women, one Japanese and one Indonesian. The Japanese girl, Yuka, was the one we picked up from the train station. Once we arrived at the apartment, Christian said goodbye to us and left us alone. Yuka speaks almost no English, so I had to practice my limited Japanese. (This is of course great for my learning progress, but was a little overwhelming at first). Yuka showed me the apartment and my room, which I shared with her, brewed a delicious tea and we spent the evening chatting. At about 11:00 P.M., the second roommate, Llyza, finally came home. After a short hello we all went to bed. 

On Wednesday I didn’t have any plans, the main goal was to rest and explore the neighbourhood. So I walked around and got acquainted with my surroundings. In the evening we went to Powernight, which is kind of a mid-week service to recharge our batteries.

On Thursday morning, Yuka stayed home. Together we did Morning Star. This is the daily Bible reading in the morning, where Star is an acronym for the four points you can take notes on (Scripture-Think-Apply-Remember). After that, we went to a mall to have a copy of the apartment key made for me. 

In the afternoon I again had no plans, so I went for a walk again, this time a little further than before, and sought out two parks, both of which are about 15 to 20 minutes from my apartment. In the afternoon, I devoted myself to studying and started writing this blog.

Friday was a little more exciting. Christian invited me to go with him to the parliament building to pray. Apparently, people from different churches regularly meet there to pray together for the Japanese politicians. First, we had to go through a checkpoint and then we got a badge without which we could not have entered the building. While my roommates make an effort to speak slowly and clearly to me, that was not the case here, and so I could not understand much except for a few scraps of words. First one woman talked about diverse things and also prayed in between, then we divided into small groups and continued to pray about specific topics. I was lucky to be with a woman who spoke English and so she was able to explain the prayer points to me. At 1:00 p.m. we finished the meeting and were able to enjoy lunch together in the parliament canteen before heading back.

I was back home by about 4 P.M. and studied a bit before we went to Prayer Night. For Prayer night, 8 prayer points (Thanksgiving, Holy Spirit, Satan, Pastors, Church, Salvation, Sunday) are distributed to church members each week. They will then prepare a Bible verse and a short Input on their topic. Then the first person gives their short message, and then we would start praying about this topic, then comes the second input, and we prayed again, and so on until all the points are through. 

On Saturday morning, I did Morning Star again with Yuka, this time Yuka tried to explain her notes to me in English while I tried Japanese. After breakfast together and more Bible reading and language practice, Yuka, Llyza and I went to a restaurant for lunch before going to Ministry School. In Ministry School, there is always a short exam first where the homework is tested. This time the students had to read the four gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. After the test, Naomi (Christian’s wife) talked in detail about the four books, the authors, the differences, keywords, various characters and more. The whole teaching: in Japanese. Fortunately, she always distributes handouts about what she is saying and has English versions for me and one other student who is more comfortable with English. This went on for about two hours with a short break. Then there was another break before Christian started his teaching. This time the topic was „Preaching“ and he gave us many important tips and impulses on how to prepare a sermon well. Because the homework for next week is that we all should give a 15-minute sermon in Miyazaki. 

Sunday is church day. At 10:00 we met, and the band members started to rehearse while the others were still preparing the room or praying. At 10:30 the rehearsal was over and we all devoted ourselves to prayer so that God would guide the day and we could reach the people who were coming. 

Then at 11:00, the worship service began. The theme of the sermon was „Don’t get caught in the enemy’s trap“. In Jesus’ Call Church, after each service, groups are formed in which we share what we took away from the sermon and then conclude with a prayer. Afterwards, we ate lunch together and spent time chatting. At 2 P.M. the Harvester Meeting began, in which Naomi explained important key points on how we can pick up and welcome newcomers.

At 3 p.m. the afternoon service began with the theme „Watch your tongue“. After this second service, we spent several more hours sharing and talking until we left the church at about 8 P.M. 

PS. On Wednesday I didn’t have my own key yet and was allowed to use the one of Llyza. It has a keychain with a Bible verse in Japanese on it. This inspired me to learn a Bible verse in Japanese every day. I started with the keychain and asked some of the church members for their favourite verses so I could learn them. I plan to ask all the church members to read their favourite verses in Japanese. If you would like, feel free to write your favourite verse in the comments so I can learn them too.