"If God is our father, then who is our mother?"
I remember thinking, "Well that conversation took an unexpected turn really fast..." when my Japanese friend, who I had become very close with, was battling through this information I had just given her. The creator of ALL things, the one who formed the earth with His words alone, wanted to be her Father.
"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." – 1 John 3:1a
But if there's one thing to understand about Japanese culture it is that (generally) the mother is the backbone of the family. The father is the provider, the strict rule maker, but usually not present. So how can I explain to my friend the love of a Heavenly Father when she may not have known the love an earthly father?
I went into my time in Japan counting down the days until I would return home, but that quickly became a number that I grew to dread. How could I leave these people that I had created relationships with? How was I supposed to leave a place where I had VISIBLY seen God work and AUDIBLY heard him speak to me? How on earth was I to bring myself to tell my family I wanted to return, even before I had left?
Church, there are fatherless all around us. We pass them every single day in the aisle at the store, at school, even in our own families. Their souls have not found the Heavenly Father and we are called, no, COMMANDED to share this infinite and eternal Hope that we were chosen to take part in.
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”- Psalm 68:5
How do I share the love of a Father with a fatherless society? I'll tell you how.
You love them through their trials.
You realize that every single person is searching for something to give them peace and then you share the peace that you have found.
You pray with the sick.
You pray with the healthy.
You clap with them when their baby learns to walk in front of you.
You cry with them when a husband is refusing to speak to his wife because she is trying to seek a God who loves her.
You smile at them when they sit next to you on the train.
You laugh with them when cultures collide (and sometimes clash.)
I do not believe that God gave me some special purpose or grand calling other than to massively love the person he placed in front of me. All he asks is that I share His love and salvation with the person that he loved enough to die for. He asks this of you too if you are only willing to listen. It does not have to be a person 6,210 miles away... Maybe they are only 6 steps away.
If you are willing to listen the Father is crying out "who will show them my Love?"
I am, Father.
I am willing.
I am ready.
Throughout my time in Japan I had the ability to :
• co-lead over 8 "Mommy & Me" bible studies
• work in 6+ university classes
• teach 9 kindergarten English classes
• take part in 10+ adult English classes
• Attend 2 English classes for medical professionals
• Attend 5 women's English events
• Take part in 5 park days (evangelism &a outreach)
• Attend & assist 1 VBS
These were all scheduled events, there were many more opportunities to serve the Japanese people and share the gospel just through living there for 10 weeks. Each of these events brought new questions and perspectives about this religion that puts "worth on the individual" as my Japanese friend said once of Christianity.
I ask that you pray fervently for the people of Japan. Pray that God would raise up a generation of fathers who seek him and a generation of mothers who point their children to Jesus. Pray for the missionaries as they endure a country under the dominion of darkness with less than 1% Christianity. Pray for my friends that I had to leave behind, many of them still lost but seeking, asking, and knocking. Pray for the lost that you encounter every day.
Meghan Gagliano is the children’s minister at Pleasant Home Baptist Church. She had the opportunity to serve for the summer of 2017 in Japan. She works to equip the children in her community to reach out to their friends with the hope of Jesus Christ.