Wow. This week has been a true international experience designed by Father God. I would like to take you on a journey around the world...all from within 3 miles of my home in Dallas, Texas! Often, I go to a nature trail a mile away to walk. On Monday, I was delighted to see my sweet friend from Japan walking toward me. After greeting her I commented on the beautiful full moon God blessed us with the night before. Her face lit up, and she said, “the September moon is the best!” This was a special place to have this discussion because it was in this exact location on the trail that I saw a morning moon that inspired me to write a children’s story about the moon. I was fascinated that there was a specific time of year that was perfect for seeing the moon.
Fumiko shared that in her home country of Japan, they celebrate the September moon for three days- the students have school off and there is a big festival. She said that they marvel at the beauty of the moon. This moon is an expression of God's beauty and love for us. However, Fumiko shared with me that most people in Japan are not Christians. They worship the creation but do not know its Creator. This breaks my heart. I would love for us to have a moon festival in the United States to pause and admire the God's beauty. Would we begin conversations with our neighbors about God? What if when we see the moon it reminds us to pray for those in Japan who do not know about God, their Creator? I believe we would learn of many more stories like Fumiko's story.
Below is part of an email to my family recounting when I met my Fumiko on the trail.
Over the last few weeks I have passed by a lady who reminds me of Granny. She is Granny from another part of the world. I asked her where she is from, and she said “Japan.” Then, as we talked I asked how to say “good morning” in Japanese. She said something that sounded like “Ohio.” So, I tried to say her name and “Ohio,” and she smiled. I hope I can now learn some Japanese to say “hi” again on the trail.
It was another four months before I saw Fumiko again on the trail. Here are my reflections from that day.
Thank you, Lord, for putting Fumiko in my path again today. I remember seeing her in the spring. She still me reminds me of Granny even though she cut her long beautiful, white hair. It is her calm, peaceful spirit that reminds me of Granny. Last time I did not know if she understood me, but today, she pointed to her hair when I mentioned my Granny. She said she remembered.
I asked her how to say a few more expressions. When I asked her how to say “God loves you,” she was quiet for a moment and then said that most people in Japan are not Christians. I reflected and asked if she was. She said “yes” with a gentle smile.
She explained that in 1972 a missionary came to her door and told her about Jesus. She became a Christian and moved to the United States in 1973. She said that she has children here but that her brothers and sisters still live in Japan.
Fumiko also shared with me that she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro when she was 29 years old! Recently, she said her breathing has been limited, but she still loves to walk. I asked if I could pray for her, and she asked for me to pray for her health, pointing to her lungs and breathing gently. How interesting how the Lord works. I had woken up at 2:30 a.m. that morning with burning in my lungs and had left my apartment around 4:45 a.m. to be outside in the fresh air. Perhaps a shared sort of understanding in pain is how we come to deeper know the love of Christ and appreciate His loving sacrifice on the cross for our sins and become connected in this way.
Thank you, God, for reminding me that you are always present and always working. You are the Great I AM. You are Our Creator, God. I pray for the people of Japan to know Christ and that their admiration for your Creation would also remind us in the Western world to stop from the busyness of life to admire your Creation. May Christians from around the globe focus our gaze on heaven, where one day we will get to worship with those across the ocean in unison. May we all develop this heart of love and peace here on Earth like that of Fumiko, who reflects Christ's peace. I pray that we will be unified in love and purpose in pointing to the evidence of God all around us so that more people will believe in You and your Son, Jesus, through whom we have eternal life.
In Jesus name, Amen.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." -Psalm 19:1