At long last, an entry! Sorry about the wait. I decided to talk a bit about my adventures passing out Manga Messiah and tracts. I did a lot of it, and it comprised the greater part of my work there. So here it goes.
Manga Messiah= comic book done in the Japanese story that tells the story of Jesus and salvation
Most people who know me will agree that I am not the most out-going person in the world. Therefore, passing out mangas/tracts was quite the stretch for me. We set up our little table on the edge of church property and waited for people to pass. Because our corner was right across from the famous tennis courts, a lot of traffic went by us. I know very little Japanese, so I couldn't get myself to say anything or go out of my way to hand things out at first. But with prayer I gained courage and I learned how to say some simple, essential phrases in Japanese to help me get that literature out there. If you ever want to know how to say, “this is a present from the church, go ahead and take one!” in Japanese, just ask me. It is now engrained.
I found myself questioning the worth of what we were doing several times, although it is embarrassing to admit. “How can just one book or just one tract make a difference in these people's lives?” I thought. But one thing I learned is that we as humans cannot limit the Holy Spirit. If God wants to use those mangas in their lives, He will, no matter what we think. As we stood on that corner, we were seed planters. I learned to pray that those little seeds would find water and sunshine so that they could grow beyond mere seeds.
I think that if you tried to do the same thing in America, you'd have a little more difficulty. Japanese people are utterly polite, so they would not be rude or bellicose toward you even if they disagreed religiously. They might not take what you are passing out, but they are always gentle about refusing it. The missionaries also told me that Japanese aren't as likely to throw it away later, either. God really has used those simple tracts to make an impact. We cannot underestimate Him.
I met a lot of interesting people during those many hours I spent on the street. Learning how to communicate with someone who can speak little or none of your language is exciting and challenging all at once. I met a guitar-playing fortune teller one day who told me that he wasn't a Christian, but he loves Jesus. Then there was the Westerner with beer in one hand and a skateboard in the other who came from California, but had no clue where he was headed next in life. I met Japanese pastors, interested seekers, and young Christians with their dogs. I have to say that probably my favorite people to give a manga to were the little kids, whose eyes lit up as they took the free book.
All in all it was a very good experience for me, and I pray often for those little seeds we planted. I hope that I don't forget the faces of all those people I met.