Yesterday was a good afternoon at Hongo. Classes will start next week, but this week we come and hang out at the center from about 2-7:30 to register new students. Sometimes things are pretty slow...our old students usually don't register until classes start, and we don't usually get dramatic rushes of new people. Today our first new visitors of the day were two girls who came in at 7:30 just as we were picking up our bags and getting ready to flip light switches.
But yesterday was really busy! We had something like eight people stop by. My favorite, however, was a guy named Amar. He looked Japanese to me, so when he first tried to tell me his name, I automatically tried to make it into a Japanese sounding name. "Amaru?" But no...he corrected me. And then told me his full name, which I made him write down and teach me how to pronounce. He is from Mongolia.
Normally we go pretty easy on our registering students...Etsuko gives an explanation of our free Bible classes and strongly invites people to attend those as well, even if only to get more English practice. But when she asked Amar any questions, he told her that he had seen on the internet that we were a Lutheran organization, and so he had looked up the history of the Lutheran church and Martin Luther and wondered if Etsuko would tell him more about it.
I love seeing Etsuko get the chance to do what she really loves doing. She wanted to be a pastor, but has ended up a church and English school receptionist. The days I come in when she has had to shove letters in envelopes all day I see how much it wears on her. But give her anyone who will give her the chance to talk and encourage and teach and she lights up.
This Mongolian grad student was completely engrossed in her explanation of papal bulls, sola scriptura, and salvation by faith. I was a little afraid she was overdoing it, but once she stopped he just pressed on with the questions. She had a Bible out soon enough and was showing him through that as well. Only when two more prospective students walked in the door did he jump to his feet, a little embarrassed, and apologize for taking so much of our time. We assured him he had been no trouble at all, and he assured us he would be back with more questions.
A little while later, we had a Korean guy stop by who is only in Tokyo for a few weeks, but asked if he could pray in our church.
I have a cool job. :-)