Stay ready for God’s promptings to share
God can use all aspects of our lives to advance his kingdom, even tasks that do not seem directly related to missionary work
God can work in the most mundane situations when you’re least expecting him to.
One of the multiple hats I wear is the role of property manager for a mission-owned guest house in Higashi Kurume, a little over an hour from where my family lives in central Tokyo. One day, I was there again to meet with a couple of contractors to get estimates for work around the house.
The second contractor who came that day was an 82-year-old plumber, Mr. Yoshida (not his real name). He was very comfortable with me and kept talking to me about plumbing, life and even some of his superstitious beliefs. As I was listening to Mr. Yoshida by his truck out in the driveway of the house, the Lord made it clear in my heart that I was supposed to share Christ with him and I had a sense of assurance that he would listen. I told my teammate Adam, who was standing next to me, to quickly grab the eCube from my backpack in the house. eCube is a gospel presentation tool that works like a Rubik’s cube that I often use to share about Jesus. “There is something I want to share with you,” I said to Mr. Yoshida.
After I gave him a simple but visually striking presentation of the gospel with this evangelism tool, he shared with me that he has a mizuko (an aborted child) from a previous relationship that even his wife of many decades does not know about, and how he, to this day, continues to offer to the mizuko jizō (the Buddhist guardian deity for the spirits of aborted children, which sometimes represents the spirit of the lost child itself) a bottle of milk heated to breast-milk temperature every single day. He said he considers his plumbing work in his old age a life sentence imposed by fate to atone for the guilt of taking the life of his unborn baby.
I sure hadn’t been expecting this type of conversation when I was heading to the guest house that day. But sensing the Lord’s hand behind this meeting with Mr. Yoshida, I told him the truth that making offerings to mizuko jizō would never blot out his guilt, but God himself has sent his Son to die on the cross to pay for it, so that he can be finally and completely forgiven. Having had no-one ever tell him about Jesus, he said, “I was wondering why that poor man had to hang on the cross, but now I understand.” That day, I presented the gospel four times to Mr. Yoshida to ensure that he understood. “This may sound presumptuous,” I said, “but this probably is the most important message you have ever heard or will ever hear.” He responded, “I think so.” Although he was not ready to receive Jesus on the spot, he happily took the eCube.
Training believers to stay ready with eCube
While there are many different evangelism tools and approaches out there, I’ve been finding that eCube is a particularly effective tool and that Japanese believers can be trained to use it for evangelism. We did evangelism training using eCube one Sunday last year with the three small churches in our church network. We demonstrated how one might share Christ with an eCube, and then everyone practiced it in groups with their own eCubes. I was very encouraged to hear that soon afterwards three people were able to share Christ with their non-Christian friends, including a Japanese brother who shared with his close friends and a Chinese brother who shared with his girlfriend in China over Skype. At another time, I trained a former boxing champion that I had been discipling how to use the eCube and he was able to share the gospel with one of his employees, a former world boxing champion, that same week.
While these evangelism opportunities have not yet resulted in any immediate, on-the-spot conversions, the training and the eCube’s usability have enabled Japanese Christians to share their faith. I’m encouraged by this, given how difficult the average Japanese Christian feels it is to share their faith. Also, eCube communicates enough spiritual truth (via memorable images depicting the separation between a holy God and sinful man and Christ being crucified, etc.) to generate a spiritual dialogue. Such a conversation, whether through eCube or other means, can be the start of a person’s spiritual journey or it can be meaningful input into the journey they are already on. You can never gauge how open a pre-Christian is to spiritual things until you talk with them about Jesus, and eCube is a good tool that many can use to start that conversation. And, of course, there is great blessing for the believer who obediently engages in evangelism.
Where his Spirit leads
All Christians, no matter what their job is, should be prepared to share the great hope that we have been given in Christ. For this, it is extremely helpful that you have at least one way (ideally, a few) that you can use to communicate that hope with those whom God brings into your life. Evangelism is often a process, but that process must involve proclamations of spiritual truth, eventually leading to a salvific understanding of what God’s grace did for us in Christ (Col. 1:5–6). The Lord of the Harvest has wisely and intentionally put each one of us in a certain time at a certain place (Acts 17:26–27) to be his light to whomever he is pleased to work in, whenever and wherever his Spirit leads (John 3:8). Yes, it means even when you are doing chores that do not feel like real ministry, like getting an estimate for plumbing work at your mission’s guest house. I encourage you to see your life in that light once again, stay tuned to God’s promptings in your days, and stay ready to share.
eCubes are available through e3 resources. https://e3resources.org.