We just returned home from our house-church worship service, held in a rented room at a local community center. We had broken up into three groups to share from the Word. Two groups had been done for a LONG time… we were waiting for the third group to finish. And waiting. And waiting. Five minutes before we had to leave the room for the next group to come in, one of the members of the third group turned around and announced, “Saiko wants to be baptized! She is ready to be a Christian!” We all gathered round her as she prayed to her Creator and invited His holy Presence into her life. When we called Annie and Owen over to share the news with them, Annie asked, “But Mommy, if you are happy why is everyone crying?”
Saiko had been attending a Bible study with Aiko, a newer believer in our group. A month ago, she expressed interest in attending church, and has been coming with George and Aiko ever since. Today, she cinched the deal — she has become one of the Lord’s children and is excited to be baptized. Before the waiting group of older men artists came into the room they were waiting for, we sang (in Japanese) the first stanza of the only hymn in our worship songbook:
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine,
oh what a foretaste, of glory divine.
Heir of salvation, purchased by God,
born of His spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my Story , this is my song;
praising my Savior all the day long.
It is amazing assurance –Jesus is mine! In this culture of many rules and codes of behavior, there is wonderful freedom to be found in becoming God’s child. We continue to stand amazed at the Lord’s wonderful work inspite of, in the midst of, our small somewhat rag-tag worship community.
It was fitting to take a photo of some of our group in front of the “snowing” cherry blossom tree — perhaps Japan’s favorite symbol of new life.