We have been in Japan for two years, now, sowing the seeds of prayer, deepening our roots in our community, developing relationships with our neighbours.
Perhaps, in a world of mega churches, awe inspiring mass conversions to Christ, and miraculous healings, what we do in our part of the world may seem small. But, this is Japan. Historically, missionary work in Japan has always been slow and it requires much patience, as I am constantly reminded.
I began this year, with the family, boldly praying that we would see our first fruits here in Japan. But, as the months have slid by, I found myself becoming frustrated, and I confess, impatient with God’s timing, which seemed, to me, far too slow. And, so for a while now, out of that frustration, I have stopped praying that particular prayer.
But, God heard me. As usual, He has demonstrated extreme patience with me…and has shown me, once again, that He has a hope and a plan for Japan as well as a unique sense of humour, even speaking to me through something as unlikely as potatoes.
It’s now summer time in Japan and the summer harvest season is upon us.
Two weeks ago, our neighbour M… shared with us a bag of organic potatoes she had been given by a friend. Last week, the I… family, one of Julia’s classmates, brought us a ziplock bag from their trip to Shizuoka, with three beautiful organic potatoes inside, and then just yesterday, I ran into E…, from Nigeria. He was working in his little community garden space when he saw me.
“Wait,” he cried with a big smile. Then he handed me a small bag. Guess what I found when I looked inside…yup, more potatoes.
Whenever things happen in threes, I start looking to God for the reason. My life has already had many significant threes. Usually it happens when He’s trying to make a point obvious to me. So, I asked Him what it was all about.
God, then, reminded me of that prayer for first fruits, that I had prayed for so boldly, so many months ago. And suddenly, my mouth dropped open in surprise.
He had answered my prayers.
God had given us our “first fruits”…but not in the way I had envisioned. He had given them to us in vegetables, more specifically, potatoes. Our “first fruits” wasn’t a conversion, but friendship.
And so, I have been humbled and once again deeply awed by His faithfulness. I have to believe He does have a perfect timing for everything and that He has great plans for Japan.
And you know what else, I’m praying boldly once again for those “first fruits,” or perhaps in this case, “first vegetables.” I can’t wait to see what He has planned, next.
Note: To protect the privacy of the people mentioned, I have only given their first initial. Thanks.