Ishinomaki Team#21: Kokoro-no-care & Head-to-toe Massage!
God miraculously gathered the 7 TBC members to be part of Team#21. God spoke to each and every member to GO and spread what He has done in our lives…and to share who Jesus is. So the team went as servants of our Lord Jesus Christ to serve the people in Ishinomaki.
The first day: By God’s grace, the team arrived in Ishinomaki earlier than we planned. After having prayers, meeting and training of hand massage, we moved to the community center next to our TBC@Ishinomaki building. The community center is now called “Ikoi-Dokoro” meaning “Place for comfort” in Japanese. In the evening, the community center turns into a place to eat and drink. This day was only a second day of starting that restaurant, but there were about 7 to 8 new visitors from around the neighborhood. One of the neighbors said
“When I was walking my dog around here, I saw this building and wondered what this is; and tonight, I saw lighting from this building and felt relieved and came.”
(**Note**The people around Ookaido area, a place where Tsunami hit was very bad, are STILL scared of not having lights… but when they see lights, they feel somewhat safe and secure. Only countable numbers of families are living in the neighborhood; most of the people left or had to leave for houses being torn down from tsunami…)
The cook of the Ikoi-Dokoro is a son of Mr.N (the owner of the plots of lands in the neighborhood). He is new to cooking but working very hard to serve food for the guests. Our team had a privilege in having his Imoni (sautéed potatoes) and Yakitori-don (Grilled chicken on rice bowl). Wow, the meal was so good! They are opening for non-profit, so the total price for all these was 350yen (about $4)!
As we were waiting for the food to be served, the team members had chances to talk to other guests in Ikoi-Dokoro. I had a chance to talk to 2 gentlemen; they were both bus drivers living nearby. They told me how hard it was to drive after the tsunami hit. There were dead bodies floating beside the roads… but they had to drive for volunteers and survivors. I shared why we are here (to share the love of Christ), and gave one of the gentlemen a hand massage. He smiled and seemed so relaxed! He then kept calling his wife on the cell phone… and she came!!! The wife got a head-face massage from other team member. She said she’d be interested in coming here and the church again. Praise the Lord!
Other members had chances to give massages too! The team felt how effective giving massages could be, to quickly connect with someone! Amazing!
The Second day: Group devotion was focused on PRAYING for SALVATION and REVIVAL in Japan. We often pray for mission trip and for salvations of the people we meet, but we felt it was important to pray for this country and the region for awakening the souls sleeping.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28
At the worship service, the Lord brought 3 guests from the neighborhood in which 2 of them have become regular attendees. Brother Ferdie shared message from Matthew 11:28; songs led by Ms.E; testimony shared by Ms.K. We all were blessed from the service! We gave a hand massage to one of the regular attendees after the service; directly explaining the Good News. She said she wants to believe, but her backgrounds and family are making it harder to decide and commit. Praying that God will taker her fear away and that she’d follow Jesus very soon!
God brought the team to Iinogawa-temporary housing to serve. From 3:00pm, we started giving hand massage and some shoulder/back/face/head massage. Most of the visitors heard Gospel. Praise the Lord for encouraging the team members to share even though they might resist… We believe that their souls need to hear the Gospel no matter what they may say.
The very first guest, Ms.U, accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior! She looked so happy after receiving Christ! This is what our Mighty God can do to the lives of the people… He SAVES.
Thankfully, many opened their hearts to hear the Good News. One of the ladies I talked/massaged to, Mrs.S, said “ I always feel relieved and secure when I’m in church and surrounded by Christians.” Praise God, her husband was also getting massage from us and heard the Gospel and said, “ I am so GLAD I came!”. May God continue to speak to their hearts.
God has also touched many others through the team. There was a man who lost everything he could… he was a person in which team#20 gave a Bible to. He said he can not open the Bible… because he feels he is still living in sin and that he has fear what the words from the Bible can do to his life…! He thinks there is a TRUTH in the Bible.
So… if he cannot open the Bible himself, why not I share with him some verses!?? I shared from Mattew 6:25-34. He quietly listened and said “It is true, Every-thing it says is true….”
The Third day: God told us to serve the people in Ookaido-neighborhood again; especially the carpenters working from morning to evening. We invited them for massage. They loved it!!
Mrs.Sato came (her son was a first person to be baptized in TBC@ishinomaki). When I shared the Gospel and what it means to have eternal life… and that Jesus is knocking at the door of her heart… she said “Mattete-ne” meaning “Please wait for little while, because I will”. Oh Lord, please let her heart say YES! We believe that there is timing for everything, so we pray for her salvation to come very soon!
A man from the neighborhood also came for massage; one of the team members was walking around the area and invited the man to come. He looked exhausted when he came, but he was smiling and happy by the time he left. This is what God can do… He gives COMFORT.
The landowner, Mr.N, also came in for massage: Face, head, feet and back massages! No doubt… he was relaxed and slept so deeply while being massaged! God literally gave him REST; he has not been able to sleep well after 3.11 so we thank the Lord for this.
Praising God for His wonderful plan being accomplished through the mission trip. May God and the family of believers continue to bear fruits in Ishinomaki and throughout the Northeast Japan! We can do anything by the saving power of Christ and the Holy Spirit in dwelling within us!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22 -25