The City No Longer Forsaken

"They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted." ~Isaiah 62:12

Sunday, October 5, 2008

In Which Pamela is Surprised

Today was English Book Club again. And it was good. Yay!

There is a man in that club who isn't a Christian and who has gotten into a lot of arguments with the other class members. I personally think he's rather good for the church members...he forces them to defend their faith. But often I've been frustrated when they end up arguing over a grammar point when it seems like the fact that he's talking about the particular grammar point is significant. At least, I've always felt like there was something different about him. Something more than just an argumentative white-haired man.

Today, he prepared a speech to give us in English because he felt bad for me and Paul since the group almost always speaks in Japanese.

He shared in the speech which parts of the book had been most impressive to him, and began the whole thing off by apologizing that he did "not believe in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ." He also said he didn't understand it. He had been surprised that Brother Yun did not believe in politics but said that the Kingdom of God was separate. He had been shocked by Yun's statement that God had allowed the Chinese government to destroy the church so He could build it back up again His way. And he had been deeply impressed by Yun's pleading for God to receive his spirit while he was being tortured and the fact that Yun was able to rest in the fact that Jesus had sacrificed His life for him.

When he was done, I repeated to him how he had said he didn't understand the Gospel, and I asked if anyone had explained it to him before.

And this is where the surprise came in.

He kind of laughed, and said he had had a girlfriend something like 60 years ago who was a sincere Christian. (60 years seems way too long to me...maybe his numbers were off, but anyway). I asked him to explain the Gospel to me, and he said that Jesus' blood was the most important. He said that he understood the Gospel with his heart, but not with his head, and that if he understood it with his head, he would become a Christian.

He further said that he had happened to see that old girlfriend by chance two weeks ago, though he had been with his wife.

Apparently he fell out of love with her at the time when they attended church together.'s just one of those random stories. Though it was surprising at the time, writing it down here it strikes me how common the story really is. I've had students randomly tell me they have Christian parents months and months after I've known them. And it is amazing to me how many people really *have* heard something of the Gospel in a country where the "percentage" of Christians makes it seem like it would be unlikely. God keeps reaching. Even when our hair has turned white and we've been turning down His offers for more than half a century...He keeps reaching.

In other news, one of my non-Christian English students asked me today if I knew that Takaaki was becoming Christian. Apparently he's not holding back that information at all, which is awesome cause for celebration!

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