I just came down from my little balcony, and my cheeks are still chill with the night air (though this night is warmer than many of late). Why was I up on my balcony instead of under my electric blanket at 11 at night? Well, I’ve been having trouble getting to bed on time lately anyways, so I went upstairs to pray.
Most of an hour ago, I noticed that I had left a light on upstairs from earlier in the evening, so I went to shut it off. Currently, the upstairs here in my new place is completely vacant: I think that nothing I own is actually up there, yet. When I got up there, I felt fear rising in my heart. These attacks seize me from time to time, so after turning off my light, I retreated here, to my bedroom, and prayed against the Enemy’s hand. Before long, I was enjoying fellowship with God and praying, and then He told me to do something rather strange: go upstairs again. A little reluctantly, but quickly this time (usually I am slow to obey), I went up. I left the lights off, almost as an act of defiance to the Enemy, and this time there was no fear up there. I looked out one of my windows at the city and noticed lights in the distance, possibly Utazu or Sekaide.
Out that window, I have a little balcony for hanging clothes to dry. It’s not very big. As I was thanking God for reminding me of that (currently my wet clothes are hanging from my bedroom ceiling), there came into my heart the crazy idea of actually going out on the balcony (hoping it was secure, for this was my first time) and praying. And so I did.
I must say that I felt like myself in a way I have not these past seven months. It reminded my of my place halfway between earth and sky in San Luis Obispo: the AGO house fire escape landing where I had my quiet times for 3 years. I thought of that place and begged God not to let me lose the memories of SLO, for they are so dear to me. I suppose that’s one reason to continue reading my old journals from that time. By the way, if anyone reading this lives in the AGO house, I suggest you start having your quiet times under the fire escape window. It’s a great place. Just bring a blanket.
I also prayed that God would wrest this area, Kagawa-cho, from the hands of the Enemy. And that He would use me to do it. I was challenged by another missionary today to start praying hard for this area before anything else, and that seems wise. The barriers are too immense to do anything else. Over 30,000 people live here, and there is not a single church. And this house, this one with the little balcony that sits perched between earth and sky, this house is supposed to be the start of a new one.
However, up there, the cold night air blowing the sounds of traffic through my ears, it didn’t seem so impossible. Up there, in prayer, it didn’t seem impossible that Japanese people really can be saved from their sins. And that once that happens, that they really can be discipled. It didn’t seem so impossible that a poor servant like me could be used for such salvations, even though I have not seen one since coming. Perhaps it was just the nostalgia, but up there, I felt myself believing with a faith that has fallen into the back corners of my mind since coming here.
I have encountered difficulties and hardship since coming to Japan. In Tadotsu, my prior residence, there was a lonliness that did not relent. But that seems to be changing as the winter winds settle across the barren rice paddies. Perhaps a change of seasons is coming to me, perhaps not. But tonight, sitting in the cold, I felt different than I have in a while.
Working in three locations on three different plant projects (one with a weekly meeting, one in the bare, pioneering stages, and one which hopefully may start in April), it’s hard to have a heart for all of them. I haven’t found my heart for Kagawa-cho, yet. I just moved here, after all-my house is still barren and in need of a good heater and a kitchen table. However, tonight on my balcony was the beginnings of my heart for this town. Lord, save it. Glorify Your name here.