Got up in the morning and packed. Came down for a rushed breakfast and ate and surprise discussion. I loved the time I spent with this family and church! As usual, wanted to stay longer J
Then went to meet my next friend. At the last minute I realized a better location for us to meet so I could activate my jr pass and praise God it was more convenient for her. So got it activated before she came. Being phoneless is horrible, but since she is usually late, I just waited and she came. We found a place to talk and settled in. At first it was all superficial, but then in the last hour God changed the conversation and so by the time I left, she had tears in her eyes L It’s so cool to have such good relationships with people. I met her at a conference 4 years ago and came to Tokyo to talk to her after it. Her daughter was one of the most intelligent girls back them. She listened to what I had to say about the baptism of the holy spirit and just accepted and started speaking in tongues. Then she asked for help on how to talk to her friends about it and wrote down everything I say. It was great! She is graduating today. When I first met my friend she was someone with a desire for a deeper relationship with God, but didn’t know how to get it. But every time I have seen her I have seen her grow and last year she almost made it to Cambodia on a mission trip and this year , 2 days after I leave she is going on her first mission trip to the Philippines! J She might go to India too! She is bringing her young kids along too because she feels it will really help them grow as people. I know that the trips to india as a child helped shape us into who we are today! Couldn’t have so easily been a missionary without them and realizing how much of a hurting world there is out there and how momentary comforts are secondary when people are involved.
I used my friend’s phone to let my next friend know I was coming. But when I arrived she wasn’t there L And I couldn’t find a pay phone, so I waited. And just when I started to wait, a lady came and asked if I was in trouble. I said yes, and I asked if I could use her phone! Was able to send a message and then she left. She was so kind, she said her work would be done in 15-30 minutes and she would come back and I could call her if she wasn’t there by then J I love japan!!! How God always provides help!
We chatted and then off to the next place. Getting super tired by now and when it came time to message time, now much to say, but enjoyed worship and my friend’s father was moved. He knows God wants him to do something about prostitution. Just doesn’t know what. So we talked for a bit.
Came home and Isaac was there as well. So we all chatted for a bit but we were all so tired. J I was going to leave as soon as I got up, but he wanted me to stay in the morning so we could all talk more. I of course was up bright and early and now am typing up the last day. I hate being without internet, but God is in control! J
Off to Osaka today. Changed plans from Hiroshima because of the distance J Nice to be flexible J
So I complained earlier about my internet situation and felt a little bad writing about it, but hehe! Guess what! When I went upstairs after breakfast I was told there was internet! So I got to take care of logistics of stopping at Osaka and who will pick me up! This morning I woke up and really wanted to go. I was up bright and early and and so if I left I could sight see and get to Osaka early J But praise God! I waited for my friends to get up and had breakfast with them. Their daughter is soooo cute! And although she I guess doesn’t get along with everyone, we got along really well! Good old doctor tricks of playing it cool till they come to you J Had a great breakfast and found out Melissa had time in the morning and so I asked if she wanted to go sightseeing, found out there was internet and off we went. Going with her I ended up seeing a lot more and eating a lot more cause we noticed more things to eat! J Had sakura/cherry blossom ice-cream, followed by a chocolate banana and last but not least, a candied umeboshi (sour plum). Got to see a beautiful temple, an old set of streets and a beautiful park with cherry blossoms. It’s not the season yet, but! J I am blessed that the trees are in bloom. It’s a big thing here and people go to the park and have picnics and look at the blossoms.
Got home right on time without rushing and collected my stuff. Off to the station to catch the shinkansen (bullet train). I got there early enough to get a reserved seat! And then went searching for food! J Found some nuts that looked good, but wasn’t sold on them. But once I was comfortable in the seat I started to regret not getting the nuts. Well, the food lady just went by and guess what, she had those same nuts J. What I love about Japan is that everything tastes good. You rarely find a bad piece of fruit even (I was told today that they toss 25% of the produce before it gets to the consumers – only the best is sold). The nuts were incredible! Just the right amount of crunch, roasting and salt! Wow! I sure have missed Japan! I love how free everything is. You never have to worry about anything being stolen or people taking advantage of you. You don’t have to be on your guard, you can just be you and love everyone and everything! I love it! And everyone is so nice and accommodating to foreigners. We accidentally went into the wrong track and didn’t want to pay again and despite not understanding us, they just let us through! J You can ask anyone for directions and they really try to help. Everyone is so childlike! Life is so simple and good! J And I think most of all, I have so many friends here! I could move back easily, but also know this is not what God has for me right now. J
So what does Japan have to do with save each one? It was the birth place. When I first came to Japan I didn’t know what I was supposed to do here. Just that I was supposed to come. I was originally at a church and just loved it. I literally could have died for the people there and I had just met them, but God said to go elsewhere. At the new church, I was afraid I was going to be asked to leave again by God and was afraid to get close to everyone and put my heart out. So I prayed for a week and asked God for the plan and told him unless I knew, it would be too hard to put down roots (now of course I have realized, it’s good to put down roots wherever you go for however long, because the opportunity of investing in others never comes back and you miss out). So towards the end of the week, I got an answer – I was to go to 5 different places in Japan and share about 5 different things. After making sure it was God and not me, I just simply believed it would happen. How I didn’t know, but that it would, this I did. I didn’t even have the money to make it happen, but God had said it and I was going to do it! One by one in those 3 months I ended up at every place. The 2nd to last being Okinawa Japan. Through a misunderstanding I ended up staying with a family that I didn’t know despite someone else wanting to have me stay with them. But this family ended up opening up the door to Cambodia. The first night they found me in a crowd of people, how is beyond me. They brought me home and we started chatting. I shared about how God brought us to him and they shared about their life. They reminded me of my family. We always had guests growing up and it was that same welcoming, make yourself at home feeling. I loved it! The next morning they said their church did medical missions in third world countries and were always looking for doctors. Would I be interested in going. I was hesitant and they could see that. I had just quit my job and moved to Japan. I was going to be a missionary for the Japanese people, but to be polite I said I would watch their short dvd’s on the countries. First up was Cambodia. Now 1 month earlier I had met a missionary who had said she wanted to move to Cambodia and spend the rest of her life there because she loved the Cambodians. I remember thinking, good, I am glad someone has a heart for them (cause I certainly don’t). What I love about God is that He isn’t harsh, but he shows us when we are wrong. So as I watched the dvd God showed me so clearly that I had to go. Tears welled up as I saw patient after patient with congenital malformations that only God could heal. I knew I had to go. The next dvd didn’t do anything. So I said, I was going to Cambodia. But they said the trip had been cancelled that year due to the pastor’s health. So I said I would wait and go the next time they went. The next time I went to Okinawa (about 3 months later) the pastor said they were going and he wanted me to come along!
I arrived a day before everyone else. I had to come from india because my cousin’s son was getting married. The locals met me and took me to the hotel. I got to hang out with them and rest and watch tv (a true delight when you live without television). At night I met the team. And the next day everything started. I already had friends because of the day before and everyday was a delight. One day we had our clinic in a church and so there were instruments around. One doctor grabbed the guitar, I made drum sticks out of the tongue depressors and soon we were worshipping away. Clinic was filled with miracles everyday.
The first night I heard we would be seeing 500 patients a day. 5 doctors, 500 patients, that means 100 patients and since they are with translation, that is the equivalent to the time of 200 patients. In Seattle I used to max out at 30ish and that was over 8 hour days. Here we would have 6 hours. So obviously that meant, no praying and or talking about God, only doctoring J I was disappointed but knew I was supposed to be a doctor on this team and so I would be a good one.
I am glad God’s ways are not our ways and if we only just submit, he does it all.
I was nervous. I hadn’t practiced medicine in 1 ½ years. Things weren’t automatic and this was a third world country. So that meant that I would need to remember about TB, Malaria and other diseases I had learned about nearly 10 years before in medical school! But again, God is good. The first patient had heart burn. YAY! I can treat that. Said a quick prayer and off she went. The next patient though was sick.. Based on all her symptoms I thought she had either metastatic cancer or TB in her bones. As I was examining her I was talking to God and saying, “God, I became a doctor to help people, not to see them die. If this (2 week) trip is going to be like this, I can’t handle it (emotionally). “ Here I was complaining and frustrated and sad. But God already had an answer. My interpreter interrupted me and said, “what your patient is saying is that as soon as your touched her, all her pain disappeared.”
God healed her and showed me that I may be a doctor on this trip, but really it was all about reaching this patients for God. The next patient was a little 7 year old girl. The nurse came in asking if I needed to see her. She had a congenital (born with it) problem and so he thought it would waste my time. I of course was super excited after the last patient and so said to send her to me. She came. I examined her. She could only see shapes out of one of her eyes. We prayed, she could count my fingers. She was hungry. I told her to get lunch J The next day there was a 15 year old who came and she couldn’t see anything. She had lost all feeling on her face and I guessed she had a brain tumor, probably near her brain stem and so didn’t really think there was anything that could be done for her. I said, “I’m sorry there is nothing we can do for you, but Jesus can heal you, can we pray for you?” We prayed and first she could see my eyes. Then she could see me smiling, then she could count fingers and see that I was writing things. I saw the long line of patients and knew I had to see more patients and so asked the 12 and 15 year old with me to take her into the private room and pray until she was healed. 5 minutes later there was screaming and they all ran out. The girl was healed and obviously believing in God! I could share story after story. But as you can see, God really helped me fall in love with the people. I was forming lots of American and Cambodian friends and it was great!
It was that trip I met Michael. more on that next time!