Taiwan Training, Day 4: Grief & Rugby
The OMF Japan family is grieving. The Lord called home a respected, godly, much loved co-worker in the early hours of this morning. He leaves behind his wife and 3-year-old daughter, and a legacy of faithfulness that has changed many lives. I wish you could know him. I wish I had known him longer. As believers in Jesus, we can look forward to seeing our dear brother again in glory.
It seems odd, even offensive, to carry on writing a blog post when we’ve just suffered such a loss. But communicating God’s Word is a mandate that our brother carried out faithfully and with deep joy. So I will go ahead and reflect on some of what we discussed today about sharing the gospel.
Did you know that Tokyo has been chosen to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup final? The RWC games will be played all over Japan, with the final held in the stadium now under construction for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
I don’t really follow rugby, but this seems like a significant honor for Japan. Moreover, it’s an easy topic to use as a conversation-starter. In our course today, we read newspaper articles and discussed how we might turn a conversation about current events to a discussion of spiritual things.
What elements of Japanese worldview does the Tokyo RWC touch? Perhaps national pride, economic concerns, tensions about foreigners, and others. What Bible story or stories might also speak to those worldview elements? How can I lead into a deeper conversation and gauge whether the person I’m talking to is willing to go there with me?
We discussed how to engage in meaningful conversations using a variety of springboards, such as current events (Tokyo RWC) and common questions we often get asked (“How long have you been in Japan?”). We can seize opportunities for talking about the gospel in many ordinary life situations if we keep our hearts open and our ears attuned to the Holy Spirit.
What keeps people from putting their faith in Jesus? We brainstormed spoken and unspoken barriers to becoming a Christian, then categorized them under Family, Spiritual, Personal, and Other.