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

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Passion Tokyo

Monday after the retreat we Shinkansened back to Tokyo and went immediately to Shibuya for the Passion Conference. Charity, Ken and I shoved our backpacks in coin lockers and had about two hours of craziness after that. I won't blog the whole story here, but it is an epic tale of bravery, missing tickets, missing people, dying cell phones, oversleeping people, and lots of running around. Needless to say, by the time the conference was fifteen minutes in, all 17 of us missionaries and Japanese friends were finally all assembled with seats and tickets.

We were still missing one person the first fifteen minutes of the concert, and he was the one person out of the whole group that I had a strong conviction needed to be there. When we arrived in the hall, there was a sign saying that all saved seats needed to be released. I draped his ticket over the seat. In the meantime, attendants began asking about saved seats just in front of us. They would have people scoot into them and bring in people from outside. I began praying rather frantically, "God...please blind their eyes to our seat" over and over again. I sprinted down with his ticket and let him in fifteen minutes later. And then I could finally worship.

Never before in Tokyo have I praised God along with 2000 people. Not that numbers are so impressive in and of themselves, but on the other hand...2000 people were praising God in Tokyo! The conference lasted about 3 hours, and here are the highlights from my perspective:

-Chris Tomlin sang "How Great is Our God" and he did part of the song translated into Japanese. I can't put into words how meaningful that is to me...hearing people (even American people) really praise God in Japanese has got to be one of the most beautiful sounds in the whole world.

-The Passion Conference is traveling around the world, and each city prays for the city that the conference will go to next. It so happens that the city before Tokyo was Seoul, Korea. Apparently some of the older Koreans thought it might be a problem to ask the Korean crowd to pray for Tokyo, but, as the speaker said, "Luckily, the auditorium was full of young people." He told us, "Just in case you weren't sure the Koreans wanted to pray for you, we got their answer on video." On the screen came up the video of 20,000 or something Koreans, he asked them if they would be praying for Tokyo, and they errupted in cheering. The video swept across the front row, and there was one girl who was obviously speaking right to the camera, reaching out to it and mouthing (or possibly shouting with all the noise) that she was praying, that she loved us. Then, the speaker told us that these signs had started popping up in the Korean crowd, and he had brought them to share with us tonight. Those are the pictures in this entry. I got teary eyed at other parts of the conference, but at this part I could not stop outright crying. If you don't know the history between Korea and Japan, it is not pretty, and it was so moving to see the love that they had.

-Dancing! Yay worship dancing!

-The reactions of the young Japanese guys we had with us. They said:
  • "The conference brought a huge earthquake in me. Singing with all the people in the hall, praying together,and listening to Louie's talk, the joy to worshiping the Lord and feeling His grace arose in me, which is the sense I had lost for a long time more than a year! And I have never been such proud that Tokyo is my home town! I used to dream to evacuate from this suffocating place. I used to spend time thinking over a "exit from Tokyo" plan. But what I witnessed yesterday was that Chris Tomlin was praying for Tokyo, people in the hall were praying forTokyo,and you guys were praying for Tokyo. I remember that one of my friend tolds me on the very last day at Illinois 2 years ago, that he was envious about my going to a mission field of vast expanse. Now I fully understand what he meant."
  • "I love Jesus more and more!"
  • "I didn't know Christians could be exciting." (hee hee...I think he meant "excited", but I kind of like it this way. ;-) )
Anyway, it was a super cool night. We went out to dinner afterwards and I watched people become friends, plans for Christian bands get discussed, and Jesus' name lifted up in general. It was a wonderful evening!


Anonymous said...

Chris sung it in Korean as well which was awesome!

Elizabeth said...

Yay! I've been praying for the Passion conference!