Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Out of the mire...

Ok. First of all I owe many people an apology. I HAVE NOT POSTED IN ALMOST FOUR MONTHS!! Please forgive me.
I have to be honest and say that I had found myself in a spiritual mire so to speak. I was depressed about many things, but recently Christ has been lifting me back to where He wants me to be. Praise God! The Lord has been answering my questions, and although they are not always what I want to hear, I am having to learn more about trusting Him.

Perhaps I`ll share more about that later though...

IN the meantime- IT IS CHRISTMAS HERE!!! Actually Christmas started here at the beginning of November. SO it has been Christmas here for over a month already. What do I mean by that? Well every department store and convenient store and any kind of store had started decorating for Christmas at the start of November. Since the Japanese don`t celebrate Thanksgiving (yet) I guess they just start celebrating the next big holiday.
The Japanese aren`t afraid to say `Merry Christmas` in public advertisements either! SO much more bold than Americans in that respect.
Well even though I believe that Christians should celebrate Christmas everyday, now is a great time of year to share about Christ with my friends and even strangers.
My team ordered about a thousand Christmas CDs. The CDs have music in Japanese and even testimonies about Christ. It is a good witnessing tool. I have given some of them to my friends and they responded positively to the music. (No decisions for Christ yet. But that is what we are praying for.)

I have been doing language exchange with my Pals Wataru and Yuta. Separately, not together. Both of them always have something interesting to say about God. During our language exchange I always give them `listening tests` where I tell them a Bible story and then I ask them questions about what they heard.
Yesterday Yuta pointed something out to me. He said, `Danny, since God loves us we should love God.` Wow. I was really impressed that he came to that decision on his own. IT surprised me. Everyone keep praying for Yuta and Wataru. Both are young kids at the universities here.

Also my computer finally blew up. ... well not really `blew up` like an american movie or anything. But the hard drive just gave out and now it won`t stay turned on. SO my supervisor graciously offered to let me use his old, spare, computer. It is a japanese computer so I am having to work around it`s different keyboard, but it`s better than nothing! I thank God for the blessing of a team that looks out for each other.
I`ll keep posting right up to Christmas.
Please pray for the Christmas CDs we are handing out. People may actually listen to them!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of my pals

Ippei has asked many questions about what I believe about God. I have been completely honest with him about why I am here, even going so far as calling myself missionary. He is the first person I have just flat out told up front. So far he hasn't stopped doing anything with me and still remains interested. I think this might have something to do with the fact that he seems bored with life. To him his life is pretty repetitive, and I would go so far as to call it mundane. He works at a retail store long hours, where all he does is "just stand around" (his words). If he sends me an e-mail that says "I am just standing around" I know this means that he is at work. He is a nice, easy-going guy. Speaks great english, and is creative. He has two passions (and a girlfriend that he sees on occasion); skateboarding, and painting. He is a pretty decent artist and enjoys creating different designs. I have tried to encourage him to do something with his artistic abilities. I think he appreciates my encouragement. Please pray that Ippei continues to befriend me. Pray that I can share Christ with him in a way that will make life more exciting in ways that he could never have previously imagined. Like many other young Japanese people, Ippei is searching for God, they just don't know where to find Him.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another message that we should listen to.

Michael Oh and his family are missionaries in Japan. He's a very passionate believer and someone whom I admire. This is a link to his blog-


This is a message that I hope that everyone in my family listens to and hopefully anyone else who reads my blog. He gave this message at a pastor's conference in February of this year.

Message by Pastor Oh

Granted it is a long message, but maybe you could just listen to it in place of your quite time, or even listen to it in parts.

Missions in Japan

First of all I'd like to apologize for not having posted anything on here in almost a month. It's been an incredibly difficult month, to be honest. Satan has been attacking my spirit. But I take comfort knowing that Christ is the victor ultimately despite my weak character.
Secondly I would encourage everyone to listen to this sermon by John Piper. Here is the link-

Message by Pastor Piper

I may not die doing missions here in Japan, but sometimes I wonder if it will take people dying for here for Christ's name to spread. Piper was right. Satan did win a big battle here in Japan all those years ago, however that was just a tiny battle compared to the eternal victory Christ already has. It makes me sad to think about the many lost people here. The only thing I can do for them is share what I know and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. A person's salvation does not rest on my shoulders, but relies on God's grace.

I am having some guys over on Tuesday night for dinner. They all want to see this huge stinkin' apartment that the IMB got for me. I went into one of their apartment's the other day and I have to admit that I feel rather lame in this huge place. His apartment was the size of two of my closets. I can tell that we're going to have a lot of fun on Tuesday, so please pray that I have a spirit of Joy and compassion that is contegeous, and also that my guests wonder what it is that I have and desire it too (besides the huge apartment).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Earthquakes and Ghosts

Many of you saw my facebook post about the earthquake. I was laying in bed and at one twenty in the morning the building started to shake and there was a low rumbling noise. I thought at first that this was merely the train yard next to my apartment building, which makes constant noise all night long, but then I began to think, "The train yard has never shaken my bed before." It steadily got more and more intense and my bed shook across the room. Needless to say I suddenly realized that it was an earthquake. I ran outside of the apartment to see what the other people would say. However I soon realized that no one else was leaving their apartments.
The only indication that we had an earthquake was a little message scrolling across the bottom of the television screen. No special news report or anything. The next day my friend from Taiwan told me "Welcome to the islands. Last week my family and I drank tea and watched television during and earthquake and no one batted an eye."
The night of the 'minor' earthquake though I lay awake wondering how I would have reacted if it had been "the big one". I had to give my life to God again that night after having thought I had already done this! I was afraid to be sure.
Also last week I met with this awesome kid, whom we'll call Will. We had lunch and did some language exchange. He is an English language major at his school. I told him that I respected the challenge of learning a new language because I was going through the same thing. He knows far better English than I do Japanese though.
Near the end of our lunch time we started talking about things that we were interested in. He said that he was interested in Ghosts and then asked me if I beleived in ghosts. I told him that I believe in ghosts whole-heartedly and then told him that I have a lot of ghost stories! For one thing we as Christians worship the Holy Ghost! So I told Will that since I had a meeting that afternoon I wouldn't be able to tell him all of the ghost stories and we would have to wait until this week. So all week long he has been sending me texts reminding me that we are meeting again today and are going to share ghost stories. So please pray that the Lord speaks through me with my meeting.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


So these past three weeks have been pretty busy. But busy is good. I haven't had time to think about much else. We have been meeting new university students and making new friends. Of course this only makes me wonder more about all of the lost people in Japan. The more friends I make the more I long to see them come to Christ. Can you imagine your friends burning forever in Hell? Sometimes these are the nightmares that race through my mind. They don't even know what's in store for them after they die. A lot of people here are only concerned with what is happening in the moment and very few think too far ahead into the future. One of the questions that I like to ask them is what do they want to be doing in the next ten years. Of course this even gets me thinking.
The weather has been hot here. And getting hotter. When the volunteer team was here we went to many places that I had not visited yet. We climbed part way up a mountain too. That was really awesome. Sometime I'd like to get back there and finish climbing it.
I've been helping all of my friends study English. At this point I know that this is the main draw to any kind of friendship with me, but if I can use that to glorify God then I don't mind at all. All I can do is keep praying for them and hope that somehow their eyes are opened up to the truths of Christ and the need for grace.
Sometimes it's overwhelming looking at hundreds of people everyday that are going to go to hell. The amount of lostness is great. The harvest is plenty but the workers are few, and that is not any more apparent than here in Fukuoka.
I have surprised myself in the past few weeks with language. God has blessed me often with understanding and the right words in Japanese in a way that could only be from Him. For example I tried to explain the concept of House Church to a friend, and I basically was able to do it completely in broken Japanese. ha ha. It probably made no sense to him grammatically but he still understood what I was trying to tell him.
So this post is kind of just rambling. However I felt it was necessary to write something because it has been so long since my last post. My next one should be more clear. Thank you all for your prayers. It's been a hard weekend and a lot has been on my mind.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The right words

God knows how to put the words in my mouth, even when I don't know what to say! I have had some opportunities these past couple of weeks to share my testimony with some people and it was at these times that I worried most about how to verbalize my faith. But it was always after I was done witnessing to a friend here, that God reminded me that all I have to do is share what I know and He will do the rest. After I have done my part it is up to the Holy Spirit to work in the listeners heart. Only God can make a dead soul alive! Not me.
So this is one of the big encouragements to me. Not having to worry about my foolish words.
Please pray for the young man that I am spending time with now. He shows interest and understanding in the ideas of Jesus, but I am praying that he also sees the necessity of grace. We will call him Jim for the sake of a name.
I gave Jim one of the comic book Bibles last week which he read quickly. He told me that "some of the ideas are well thought out." Which I suppose means he has been thinking of them after the fact. This is encouraging for me to hear.
Thank you all for your prayers.
The weather has been a bit rainy here, but the locals say that it will only get rainier as the summer progresses. It's the wet season. Next week our team is going to be receiving some volunteers for the month. Two of the guys will be staying in my apartment with me. So that will be nice to have some company for June. We will be playing ultimate frisbee with students and trying to develop relationships with them that I will be able to continue even after the volunteer team leaves.
Pray for the team to be encouraged about missions while they stay here. Ask the Spirit to work in their hearts and break them for the Japanese people while they are here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Random encounter #1

Last Friday I went to Starbucks here which is unusual because I never go to Starbucks. IN fact I have no idea why I even went there, I suddenly had an urge to go. After I had ordered some coffee and sat down I opened the book I was reading. But, not ten seconds later, a young man two tables away made direct eye contact with me and started to show me the book that he was reading. It was a bit odd, but felt totally natural. So then I introduced myself and he introduced himself. After a while we found that we were sitting at the same table and had been talking for almost an hour. His English was very good, having spent eight months in America and attending an English cram school. In fact this was why he was in Fukuoka. His cram school was only a few blocks away. We exchanged numbers and information and planned on meeting again. The young man has stated that he believes God exists for those who believe in Him. Whatever that means. I am to meet him again tonight so if you catch this sooner than later keep our meeting in your prayers. First and foremost I want to remain natural and real. I don't want to seem as if I have some ulterior motive when we meet because I don't. If being a friend is also sharing Jesus with a person than I will share Jesus with them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fifth Post

Sorry that it has been so long since I have posted on here. Not much has happened worth noting in the past couple of weeks.
Yesterday was very awesome. The entire time I have been here so far, it has been very difficult to make any friends among the university students. They are nice to me and helpful, but if there is a difference between nice and friendly, then Japanese students are not friendly.
It takes something to be included in any groups.
Since I have been here I have been taking lessons from my Japanese tutor. She is a very sweet middle aged woman and doesn't speak any English. She's given me many things including an old bicycle of her husbands. The bicycle has been very helpful and even fun to go around on. Yesterday, however, my teacher did something very incredible and I don't even think she realizes how incredible it was.
She took me on a school campus that she used to teach at so I could meet some girls that she knows. These girls in turn introduced me to some guys they knew. This was very awesome and an answer to prayer because being introduced by another Japanese person is exactly what I needed. Now they were interested in me as more than just some weird foreigner hanging around.
One of the students even raced back to the train station after I had left to get my phone's e-mail address so he could text me. That has never happened to me before at all! I've never experienced any students so eager to befriend me.
My teacher is very Shinto. Shinto being the Japanese religion. It just goes to show who God can use. The rest is up to Him now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thank you

I have been here a month so far. Thank you all very much for your prayers. They have meant a lot to me and I KNOW they have been effective. While I have not made any definite friendships yet God has granted me peace knowing I am in His will. I am going to live victoriously and try my best to not let the situations I'm confronted with, or the cultural differences tear down my faith. As we know, Christ already has the victory and as Romans 8:37 reminds us "...we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." I am going to claim this verse as I go out into this land filled with witchcraft, spirit worship, and despair.
This past weekend the largest festival in Japan was held here in Fukuoka city. Over two million people came. It was very exciting and maybe some of you have seen the pictures from it that I posted on Facebook. We handed out Bibles and tried to talk to people. I tried to make connections with the young working people we met. Some young people can't get into college so they go directly into the work force.
Thank you all again for your prayers. I'll keep you updated as God moves in Fukuoka!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Yesterday I was walking on the campus across the street from my house. It wasn't very busy and in fact there were very few students there at the time because this is the start of "Golden Week", a Japanese holiday week where many offices and some teachers take off. It's a big shopping week too, so all of the stores in Tenjin, the main shopping district, were full of people.
There were a few students there on campus. Some were dressed up in business suits because they were there taking special exams. Others were there just to hang out because school has only been in session for three weeks and I guess they just don't know where else to go to meet up with people yet. (Though I suspect they know pretty well where the bars and drinking joints are because I've already been invited to go a couple of times.)
I was looking for a way to naturally start a conversation with some students. I really want my conversations to be REAL. I try to be as real as possible in that I don't have any ulterior motive for merely talking to someone. Of course I want to share Christ's love, but If I do that without actually showing love first then I would feel no better than some Mormon who is sharing out of some selfish desire. Christ shared his living water out of love. OF course this doesn't mean I am not here to tell about Christ! Usually one of the first things I tell people when I meet them is that I am here as a missionary and as a language student. Both of those are true.
SO back to yesterday. I was walking around praying for the campus and for the students. When I turned around a corner I saw this awesome cat laying in front of a doorway, simply basking in the sunlight. It was obvious that he was loving the sun. I really love cats and miss ours from back home so whenever I see one here, no matter how mangy and stray it may look I have the urge to go up and pet it. Usually they always run away from me in fear, probably because I look like a freaky foreigner. I cautiously walked up to this cat and it just lay there and squinted at me from the ground. It didn't move a centimeter. (Heh heh they use the metric system here.)
This may seem really crazy, but I've kind of gone crazy being here for three weeks, but I prayed "Dear God help this cat to stay still so that I can pet it." Ha ha! I really did pray that. So I leaned down and the cat still didn't move. So I started petting it, and the cat loved it, of course. It even started to play with me and wrestle with my hand, which is something that I love doing with cats. So I was pretty much on the ground playing with some stray cat in front of, what I later found out was, the law school.
A girl stepped outside to speak on the phone and saw me there. She and I started talking and I found out that she knows German and a little English. She got excited when she found out I was learning Japanese and called some more of her friends to come out and talk to me. A dude came outside and we introduced ourselves to each other. Then some other guys came walking up to go inside and we started talking. There was very little English spoken. It was really hard to carry a conversation on with them.
Then some Japanese dude who had just spent most of his life living in London came outside. He was excited to see a westerner and I was excited to see someone who spoke fluent English. I was kind of surprised to see that despite being Japanese he was going through some of the same cultural shock experiences I was. The law school had a shorter holiday than the rest of the campus for Golden Week, that is why all of these law students were still on campus. Altogether I had a good conversation with all of them, and look forward to maybe getting to know them and some more of their friends a bit better.
And I think back now and realize that if God hadn't of answered that simple prayer about letting me pet that cat then I probably wouldn't have met all of these people. Also the cat disappeared mysteriously and we all couldn't find it after we realized it was gone.

By the way, ねこis the hiragana for neko, which is Japanese for cat.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Jesus Comic Book

Most of the Japanese students are very eager to help me learn Japanese which has been cool. Yesterday for example I sitting in a coffee shop and two girls a couple of tables away started to help me with my Hiragana, which is one of the writing forms of Japanese. I had made some flash cards to help me remember the sounds made by the symbols. There are forty-six in Hiragana alone. Tomorrow I start learning the next form, Katakana. ....and then the Kanji, which are the thousands and thousands of Chinese characters that the Japanese have made their own.
IN ANY CASE- back to my story. So these two young ladies, whom I will call Sally and Cindy, started helping me with my flash cards. That led to questions of why I was in the country. Since I am over here on a "Religious Activities" visa there is no point in my hiding what I am mainly doing. I told them I was there for gospel spreading, which, of course, they didn't really understand at first. But once I gave them Jesus' name in Japanese something clicked and they understood. After we talked for a bit longer in both broken English (and even broken Japanese in my case, which was cool) I found out that Sally and Cindy were both students in one of the many local Universities. I gave them my name and told them they could contact me through Facebook, which many Japanese university students also use. Then I pulled out a Japanese comic book about the life of Jesus.
Now I have found that Japanese people of all ages love comic books. There are many stores around here that are totally devoted to them. They call them "manga". Most of them are pretty trashy and pretty violent, but there are some that aren't so bad too. When I pulled out the story of Jesus manga Sally and Cindy became interested. The comic book is a form that many people in Japan would probably actually look at and be interested as opposed to tracts, which may seem too preachy or wordy. (Not that those aren't good witnessing tools either.) Almost every time I am on a train or bus here I see teenagers, university students, some women, and mostly grown men reading comic books.
I gave the book to Sally to look at because I only had one copy, but I am praying that she reads it and then passes it on to Cindy.

I know that I may never see these girls again, but it was encouraging to talk to them. So say a prayer for these girls. It's not impossible for you to intercede even on the other side of the world or wherever you are. Pray that by reading this seemingly simple manga that they learn more about Jesus and that if they do have questions they will seriosuly seek answers in the right places.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My visit to the local worshipping joints.

On Monday I went into Hakata, which is one of the main districts in Fukuoka city. I went with my language tutor, Ieshi Bashi Sensei. She was going to show me the Shinto shrine and the Buddhist temple. The Buddhist temple was impressive I have to say. There was a 23 meter tall wooden statue of the Buddha. And then there were hundred of little wooden Buddha statues on the wall behind the larger one. My eyes teared up from the burning incense as we walked in. They asked us to wash our hands before we entered; a Japanese tradition. In other countries that practice Buddhism we wouldn’t have to do this. But Japan took Buddhism centuries ago and really made it their own.
There were a few people in the temple who were praying. They burned incense and lit candles (kinda like a catholic) and then prayed. They bowed their heads and closed their eyes.
The Shinto shrine was not much different. People bought prayers and then tied them to strings for the spirits to hear them. There was a woman in the garden who was reverently praying to some spirit. It was pretty tragic to me.
“This is the first time that I have ever seen some people actually worshipping other false gods and doing it so passionately.” I thought to myself. Then God spoke to me right there. And it was such a clear message that I had to stop and think about it for a few moments.
I looked into a koi pond. There were big golden fish swimming around in it, used for decoration in Japanese gardens. They have whiskers like a catfish but I was told they didn’t taste good. (Cause I asked.) It was after a moment of meditation in that Shinto garden that I was able to continue on following Ieshi Bashi sensei with our tour.
You see it seemed to me at the time so sad and so sinful that these people were worshipping spirits and the Buddha. I felt sorry for the futility of their religion. But God changed my heart right there as he convicted me of my own false idol worship. There have been times, and probably will be even more times in the future, where I have begun to worship things other than God and I never thought of it as worship. Relationships with friends or family, a motorcycle, money, myself even—personal skills, or things that I have done “on my own”. If I’ve idolized anything or made anything in my life as important as God is to me, then I have worshipped these things in vain. I have done no better than the people who were worshipping the Buddha and the animistic spirits of Shinto.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

First Entry

This is my first blog entry while I am in Japan.
....so I don't know where to start, but....
First of all-
There are crazy things here. Very different from the US, but what was I expecting? OF course I was expecting things to be different here! So after arriving and getting settled into the apartment (which is really cool by the way) I started exploring this city.
To me Fukuoka is huge. By far the largest city I have ever set foot in. There are several sub-way lines and train lines, and bus routes. And mopeds and motorcycles and tiny tiny cars. And building after building after building.
I live on the eleventh floor of my building. I can look out at the train yard next to the complex and every ten minutes a huge honking jet flies over the apartment. We're (us in the apartment building) right in line for the airport landing strip. The jets fly really low too. It's like that scene from Wayne's World where they are sitting on the hood of their car and watching the planes fly right over there heads. ...and it's about that loud too.

Next: Serious Part
Lost people. I don't mean lost as in "they can't find their way around." I mean lost as in they don't know Christ. Very simple, yet very sad. God has been breaking my heart for the people of Japan and never more so than when I am on the trains here.
Let me describe this to you-
I am putting yen into a machine to get a ticket so that I can go down to Tenjin, which is one of the shopping districts. I have been doing a lot of exploring lately and going to these districts has been good. I don't like staying in the apartment alone.
After I get my ticket from the machine I walk through the gate with about thirty other people then wait to get on the train. The trains are always prompt. If the sign says that it will arrive at 3:42 then it will arrive at that time are a few minutes earlier. We step onto the train and if I am fortunate then i will get a seat. I hate having women or older people stand when I am sitting down, so I always make sure that everyone has a seat before I sit down.
There is a young boy in his school uniform sitting across from me. He is dozing to sleep, probably because he only got four hours of sleep after school, studying, extra curricular activities, and time with his friends. He has his baseball bag in his lap. He obviously plays for his school team.
There is a young attractive lady sitting a few feet away. She is on her cell phone texting or playing tetris, or looking at photos. (Or even e-mailing. In Japan all cell phones can send e-mails, not just iPhones.) She looks up and stares out of the window. Probably hoping that she doesn't marry a salary man who will work himself to death before he is forty.
Standing next to the exit door, holding onto a pole, is a salary man. He is probably hoping that he doesn't work himself to death before he can pay off his car, or house, or his kids schooling. (Which is a normal, yet devistating cost.) He wears a weary expression.
Sitting a few feet away from me is a cute older couple. The man wears a jacket much like my grandaddy would wear and like much of the young people he is wearing a fedora on his head. (Though this is probably more for practical reasons than a fashion statement.) His wife sitting next to him is wearing a traditional Kimono. No one notices this as being different or out of place.
At the next station a group of about five girls not over the age of ten gets on the train. They don't have any adult supervision because Japan is a very safe country, and it is probably their quickest and only way to get to their home from school. They talk quietly amongst themselves and occasionally they will laugh with each aloud. They are all carrying bags that say "Kashii Handball club." Some of them have scraped knees from their practice.

Based on the percentage of Christians in Japan it is very likely that everyone i just mentioned is not a born again believer in Christ. This is what I see everyday now. A bunch of sweet, sweet lost people. God continue to break my heart for these people!
But as I lay in bed thinking last night, it dawned on me that it isn't much different for those of us in the states. As we get on a bus to school or walk around our campus, or malls, we probably are looking at a bunch of lost people. We need to be burdened for the lost more. I know I do. Sometimes I push away this thought because it's hard to think about.
But in everything give praise.
Next: Learning to communicate.