I'm happy to share an inspiring post today from author Laura Popp. Laura is a fellow member of my writers group, Fellowship of Christian Writers. May Laura's story encourage you to answer God's
call on your life—whatever that may be today!
In the summer of 2009, God called me to be a missionary in Japan. I thought He was nuts, but knowing better than to argue, I packed my bags, and with nothing but a few contacts and a job teaching English, hopped on a plane.
Nearly two years later on March 11th, 2011, my whole world shook. Literally. But the tremors felt in Nabari, Japan were nothing compared to those 350 miles north as the largest earthquake in the recorded history of Asia struck the Tohoku area. Though I thanked God for my life, I bit my nails worrying about my friends suffering in Tokyo and Sendai. I wept as I watched events unfold on the news. The aftershocks continued, walls of water over thirty feet high sweeping away entire cities, fires raging, infants and elderly freezing without electricity, nuclear reactors overheating, and the death toll rising to 16,000.
“What can I do?” I prayed. “You sent me to these people. Teach me how to serve them!”
The next day I got a mass email from a Filipina Christian friend in Fukushima. “We have to get out. The nuclear reactor near my house is in melt down. I’m going back to the Philippines, but can anyone take in two Japanese sisters?”
“Yes!” I wrote back immediately. “Send them to me!”
Two days later, I met the sisters in Osaka. Their eyes told of unknown horrors, and fear and exhaustion weighed them down.
“What would you like to do?” I asked on Saturday, after they’d had a chance to rest.
“Take us somewhere beautiful,” the older sister Junko, an English teacher, replied.
I brought them to a plum blossom garden in a nearby town, the pink and white blossoms draping over the trees and terraces like delicate curtains.
At the entrance to the garden stood a small shrine, and the two sisters paused to pray.
“What did you pray for?” I asked when they finished.
“The safety of our families,” Junko replied.
Feeling moved by the Holy Spirit, I asked, “Do you believe there is a god in that shrine who hears you?”
Looking confused, as if she’d never thought about it before, Junko turned to her sister. They discussed it in Japanese for a few minutes, then Junko turned back to me.
“No, we just do it out of habit.”
“Well,” I offered with a smile, “would you like to meet a God who will hear your prayers?”
The two sisters discussed again, until Junko finally said, “We would.”
The next day I took them to church. There the sisters heard about God’s love for them and Japan, how God grieved for the death and destruction, and how He would rebuild Japan. They heard about the church’s plan to help and about the hope they could have in Jesus.
Tears filled my eyes as both sisters raised their hands, receiving that hope and love. Now I understand. Thank you, God, for bringing me to Japan.
Junko and her sister spent the next month in my apartment until they got government housing in Kyoto. I visited them there and we enjoyed a popular Kyoto pastime: dressing as maiko (apprentice geisha). I will never forget the day, my birthday, when Junko was baptized.
I challenge you that wherever you are and whatever you do, answer God’s call to love, to speak, and to serve. That is the greatest testimony you can give.
*In what ways have others showed God's love to you through acts of service?
Laura Popp is the author of Treasure Traitor, a young adult fantasy novel. To learn more about her travels and book, check out her website: www.ljpopp.wordpress.com.
*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, will come out in early February. Sign-up is free and to the right!