Presentation on theme: "A Newsletter From Hokkaido by Joshua Ong. Hokkaido is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. The island is 83,000 square."— Presentation transcript:
A Newsletter From Hokkaido by Joshua Ong
Hokkaido is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. The island is 83,000 square kilometres, nearly 120 times the area of Singapore. Its population is just over 5.7 million. The beautiful land is full of of breathtaking mountains, extensive wetlands, natural lakes and marshes with heavenly landscapes. Its air is fresh and clean. Its water is pure and uncontaminated.
Over a period of 140 years, this island was developed with an unprecedented speed as a result of an enthusiastic frontier spirit, which was passed down by the pioneers who braved the cold temperatures and the lofty mountains! The pioneering spirit of God is stronger than ever! This uttermost part of Japan will break out a revival very soon! Japan will be known as the Land of the Risen Son as her people arise and shine for Jesus!
This trip is one of the most amazing trips I have taken. I know that the LORD has prepared this journey for me as He opens this door of ministry to serve Him in praising and worshipping Him with His people in Japan. It all started with a phone call from a friend in Singapore. That Saturday, as I was preparing for the PFI (Prayer For Israel) meeting, I was given the pleasant surprise that a Japanese pastor was in Singapore staying in his house, and was interested in getting a worship leader for his church in Hokkaido. I was being recommended. I told him that I would call him later in the evening. But on second thoughts, I asked him to check with the pastor whether he was interested in hearing me out as I was leading worship at PFI that afternoon.
The Japanese pastor came to the PFI meeting. But he had to leave earlier as he had another appointment. So we met in my friends house the next day. There was a same kindred spirit in both of us. I knew it was time for me to go! But I needed a confirmation from the LORD. While travelling in the MRT, I saw a man standing in front of me wearing a T-shirt with these Japanese words Itsumademo Tomotachi which meant Forever Friends. I knew that His hand was leading me on! Everything was prepared for me, including the air tickets. One of my friends gave me 20,000 miles from his Northwest mileage to get a free return international ticket to Tokyo. My domestic tickets were also obtained through United Airlines mileage points from the Japanese pastor.
The journey was almost 17 hours from Singapore to Memanbetsu including 3 transits at KL, Narita and Sapporo, and a limousine ride from Narita to Haneda. At Sapporo, the plane arrival was late by 15 minutes, and we nearly missed the connecting flight. But the ANA plane to Memanbetsu waited for all the passengers in transit. All of us made it including all our luggages. Not one missing! I was greeted by Pastor Kazuo and two Bible School students, Miho and Naomi, at the domestic airport. The temperature was 7 degrees Celsius at 3 pm. The snow in the hills was melting away, and traces of earthly colors could be seen.
On the way home, we visited and prayed for a church member, Koichi, before having a great sushi feast at a nearby restaurant. I am staying in Kitami City, on the 4th floor of a building which houses a restaurant, an English school and a church. There are also a few Bible School students staying there. I have a big apartment to myself. It is well equipped with heating and other necessities. Nearby amenities include department stores, 7 Eleven, KFC, supermarts and restaurants. On the same night upon arrival, we had a Bible study. After that, they gave me a warm welcome party serving traditional Japanese fried noodles. We also celebrated the 21st birthday of a church member. We had a great time sharing the love of Christ, and worshipping the LORD in Nihongo!
The next evening, I taught a cute little seven year old Japanese boy some English for over 30 minutes. It was an international exchange of the two cultures and languages. We sang our ABCs. Love is the language we share, coming straight from the heart, and transcending racial and cultural differences. Every morning, we have a morning devotion, praising and worshipping the LORD, and reading a chapter of the Bible. We are doing the Book of Galatians now. The sticky issues about the Jews and the Gentiles. This very difficult subject is being discussed interestingly as we try to use the simplest words in order to speak to and understand each other. A Chinese with some Japanese. What a wonder Jesus is! We understand each other, and have a very fruitful time of sharing and receiving.
The church also has an international school that accepts some high school dropouts! These young men in their late teens are not sumo wrestlers and samurais. Neither do they fit the stereotypes of white and blue collars. They will be mountaineers and pioneers doing things Gods way and not the standard traditional way. They will be missionaries in the future reaching the nations in Jesus name. I will be teaching them some cross-cultural worldviews and also conversational English. As I am teaching my English, I am also learning their Japanese. The worship in this church is great. The people sing with beautiful harmony. The tenors, basses, altos and sopranos! I love to worship with them as much as they enjoy my Chinese style!
The Sunday church services are at 10 am and 5.30 pm. There are Bible Studies on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I will be teaching some students music on how to play the keyboard and the guitar, and also how to sing. We have a restaurant named Shalom where we have most of our meals, Bible studies, church services and activities. This is an awesome assignment. So far, I have been able to communicate in simple Japanese. But to go further, I need more breakthroughs. I am now reading the Bible in Japanese very softly. Hopefully, my speed will increase. Till then, please pray that I will be a blessing to these precious people in Kitami City, and that I will be a fruitful tree bearing fruits that will remain. Hallelujah! Thanks & Regards, Joshua Ong