Here for an update on Okinawa, and a little request as we move into 2018 (more on that later).
Japan has always been known for being deeply rooted in Buddhism, Shintoism, Animism, and other ‘isms’; basically, worship of many forms. It’s sort of similar to Hinduism in a way that there are people who worship hundreds of different gods and spirits. People believe that there is a spirit within every thing; every tree, every object, every season, and that spirits of animals and persons linger on the earth when they die.
I expected to encounter all of these whilst in Hokkaido early this year, but for some reason (call it grace, Divine covering or blindness), there was none. I went there ready to pray up a storm of warfare against darkness in Japan, but was met with untainted beauty and purity in the northern island. I fell deeply in love in Japan, knowing that the Creator wouldn’t create such a stunningly beautiful place if He didn’t love it. I left eager to see more of Japan in the coming Fall.
I entered Okinawa with so much light, love and excitement within me, I did not anticipate the darkness I would face until it slapped me in the face the moment I landed in Naha.
I did not expect to be met with the spirits and spiritual practice here in Okinawa (kinda feels like the Hungry Ghost Festival period in Singapore… not my favourite holiday ><). I heard many stories from those around me, who shared openly the very real encounters they had here. The worst part was hearing these from the little kids in school. That honestly freaked me out for awhile.
One evening, I felt I’ve had enough and decided to do a prayer walk and worship, from my home, through the school and down the streets in my vicinity. What started as a well-guarded posture and intention for warfare, ended with assurance and peace knowing that Light always overcomes darkness. I can (in a way) let loose. Love is the greatest warfare. Where there is love, darkness and evil cannot survive. That night, I went to bed asking the Lord to send angels to these children’s homes and families. May they befriend the angels and meet Jesus.
And there is so much love in my school. This school is built on strong foundations of love and grace.
Since that, I haven’t heard or encountered anything new. There’s so much light in our school, I am beginning to realise. My boss and his wife (who I found out later are Christians themselves) do a lot for the children. They make the school a safe sanctuary for the kids. It is a joy and honour to be a part of this family school.
One of the kids from whom I heard some of those stories, climbed onto my lap during playtime last Friday. She noticed the cross necklace hanging on my neck.
She asked me what it was and I said “It’s a cross, I got it from my Friend, His name is Jesus. He loves me very much and He loves you too.”
Then I started humming the ‘Jesus loves me this I know’ song. I didn’t think she heard me cause she was so occupied with playing on my lap, until she looked up and me, smiled and said (in Japanese): “He’s the strongest isn’t He?”
I was speechless. “What did you say?”
She kind of trailed off in her own thoughts, but she said something along the lines of “nothing can destroy Him/ the cross”, and “nothing can hurt Him”. And she just… hugged me while I sang softly to her.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 NKJV
This encounter made me think of this verse immediately; and it wasn’t the first of its kind. I am astounded at how sensitive children are to the things of God, how they understand and see everything through untainted and uncomplicated lenses.
The children in Mozambique were some of my greatest and wisest teachers while I was there for three months. They saw heaven and encountered the Father only a child knows how. It’s no wonder Jesus said that unless we become like little children, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Being in a country where people have never seen a cross; as opposed to those (mostly Western) who have seen it, know it and usually have some sort of response towards it; I think about how best to talk about something so out of this world to children who are still finding subtractions difficult. It’s not that I am actively trying to talk about Jesus in class, it’s just that I often don’t know what to say when kids ask me what’s on my neck, or why I have a ring on my supposed wedding ring finger, or even what Christmas is truly about. I guess I don’t really have to think about it, He can and will guide the conversations, like He did with that child last Friday.
However, I think it’ll be nice to share this very amazing, very important part of my life with the human beings I see most this season.
So here’s the request.
I want to read Bible stories to my class during Story Time. The kids love Story Time and we have it almost everyday, depending on whether they clean up soon enough for it ><
I am on the lookout for Bible stories for kids.
… in English, with pictures and colours; nothing too complicated or theological. You know, stories like David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lions Den, Jonah and the Whale, The Exodus, Parables from Jesus etc.
I haven’t found much here in Japan. There is a very limited resource of Christian books in Japan, much less so in English… much much less so for children.
I’ve gotten the go-ahead from my boss on this! Yay favour!!!
It would be really awesome if you guys could keep a lookout for me too; wherever you are, UK, Singapore, America and so on.
If you find any, please drop me a message! It’ll be great if you could send it over, or if you live in UK or Singapore, I know people who are coming to Japan next year who will be able to bring them over for me. I am willing to invest in these so I am happy to pay for whatever it costs to get them over, although I will also graciously accept them as gifts should you desire to sow into these kids.
Love & Light,