Here are some quick thoughts of our first day in Tokyo. Somehow I need to be quick because this jet lag is kicking my butt and the bed is calling my name! Here’s how the first day unfolded:
- The day started in one of the largest churches in Tokyo, the Musashino Evangelical Free Church. Because the country is so unchurched, that means a simple auditorium seating less than 100 houses this “large” church.
- We spent some time being trained by one of the missionaries here about Japanese culture and churches. There are two American missionaries who have lived in Tokyo for decades leading our time.
- After lunch, we visited the Tokyo Municipal Government Building, similar to the former Twin Towers in New York City. From the observation floor, we were able to see the entire city and prayed over its 35 million residents.
- Next we visited a place that was very beautiful on the outside, yet had a spirit of darkness emanating from within. It is the Yasukuni Shrine where the “spirits” of those who have died in Japan’s many wars – including WW2 – are believed to reside. More than 2 million “spirits” have been enshrined here. We witnessed numerous people praying to the “god” that lives in the shrine and paying respects to the dead spirits.
- Before dinner wrapped up the day, we met with the national leader of Japan’s Campus Crusade for Christ, who is also part of a church plant and part of CRASH Japan – a disaster relief organization in response to last year’s massive earthquake and tsunami. It was fascinating to hear the creative strategies they are using to reach people, particularly Japanese business men.
This first day served to be a reminder of the urgency of the Gospel. Being surrounded by millions of people who don’t know Jesus (less than 1% of the country is Christian) has jolted me out of complacency to remember the mission Jesus put each of us on – to make disciples who make disciples. That’s the only answer for a city so large and so lost as this, and it’s the only answer for the city I love so much – Knoxville!
With that being said, here are a few quick personal thoughts from my first day:
- The food is good! Nothing too crazy, and I used chopsticks for lunch and dinner. Who knew that was possible?!
- We probably walked 10 miles today. Everyone walks, rides bikes, or takes the train. Kind of like in Powell
- I’ve started getting to know a Japanese church planter who launched a church called Life Church in Tokyo last October. It’s been amazing to share in the similarities with a church plant on the other side of the world. Check out their website and then help them by liking them on Facebook!
- I was so tired this afternoon that I drank my first coffee drink at Starbucks. Some kind of frapuccino. Unfortunately, I really liked it. It was unfortunate because Starbucks ain’t in the budget!
- There are six other pastors on this trip from all over the US – Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Portland, and Austin, TX. They are all from church plants ranging from 2 to 10 years old. I love hearing what God is doing all over the US in these new churches!
That’s all for tonight! Goodnight from Tokyo.