Foundations

You guys remember that Bible study I was doing?  The one all in Japanese… highlighted everywhere with English notes all around it?  The one taking hours each week to prepare for?

Well, it’s done.  Whew!  I’m sad but also immensely relieved at the same time.  It was a great book that takes you from Is there a God? and How was the Bible written? to How to walk and grow in your new faith.  It shows you a great deal of how Japanese reason, given the examples and analogies they use.  And it’s a great exercise in what I call language mathematics… namely, that double negatives in Japanese make a strong positive.  Take for example this sentence, translated literally: “However, we to become happy, by just that, enough you couldn’t say not necessarily don’t you think?” which I think could be translated to: “Wouldn’t you agree that we cannot become happy by ourselves alone?” Bah.  My brain hurts.  Word for word translation just does not work.

Well?!? And?!? I thought you might ask.

The young lady I was meeting with made her decision to follow Jesus. (WOOO-HOOOOOO!)  I think the decision was made maybe before I brought it to the point, but making a decision publically (or at least with another person) is an important moment. The enemy sure waged some war against her preceding it, but praise God, He prevailed! We have a new sister in Christ.

We started reading through Mark in our personal devotion times before she had even made a decision.  Each week, as we go through, she brings out her journal with thoughts and questions on what she reads.

Apart from asking me what Jesus meant when He said that the friends of the bridegroom will fast when he is gone away, she also had questions like:

“Who is David?”

“What happened with Judas Iscariot?” (we haven’t read the full book yet)

along with the following exclamation:

“Jesus says that anyone who does His will is family. It is wonderful!”

Beautiful moments.  It’s awesome to journey together as she discovers God’s word for herself.  It’s tricky to answer questions sometimes (try explaining justification and redemption in another language).  And it’s humbling to recall that the things I take for granted as known (even though I know better!) are a new foundation of understanding for this precious sister.  It’s a privilege.

But it comes with great responsibility and so want her to rely first on the Lord, but to count on me to walk along the path as we both follow Christ.  And just like a child is trained in the ways that he should go, so a young believer needs to be taught and discover principles, fed as a youngin’, given milk that will nourish and is not tainted with my American cultural interpretation of the Bible (you perhaps doubt me when I say this, but it’s very true) and even my idea of what application looks like.

She will be travelling for a while, and so we are continuing our discipleship meetings via Skype, and are excited now to continue onto the next little booklet for new Christians.  Per her request, it’s in English.  I’m not disappointed about that at all.

But, I will continue to re-study this current evangelistic book and pray for new people to work with… that His name may be known!  And that I can proclaim this message more and more clearly, as I ought… in Japanese!

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