Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Japanese Wedding and Redemption Story

Life in Japan continues to be new and exciting. One of the highlights of the previous week was getting to attend our first Japanese wedding! It was a special wedding for our ministry because this wedding represented a beautiful story of redemption.

In 2012, CBI was hosting a Friday night event, and across the street from Heart and Soul Cafe, there was a young man playing soccer alone. An American missionary with one of the Japanese seminary students walked over and invited him to come in for pizza. He decided to accept the invitation, and they quickly learned his story. Hikaru lived in the apartments next door to CBI's building, and he frequently noticed the life happening right next door to him. He was curious but never came in.

Like most Japanese, Hikaru had never heard the gospel and did not have a framework for Christianity. But, that changed after an invitation to eat pizza one Friday night. From that night, Hikaru was befriended by some of the missionaries and seminary students at CBI. He was always invited to events, and was learning more and more about the love of Jesus. After some time, he not only came to events, but also came to church.

Last year Hikaru professed faith and became a Christian. He joined a very small minority of Japanese Christians...they are less than one percent of the total population. Over the past year Hikaru has grown in his faith, and in January of this year, his girlfriend Masami became a Christian as well!

Hikaru and Masami decided they wanted to get married, and because of a lack of support from their families, we decided to transform CBI's building into a wedding space. Last week, The CBI team made lots of origami, created lots of beautiful (and creative) decorations, and cleaned every inch of the first 2 floors of CBI. The Heart and Soul Cafe was the location for the reception, and the wedding ceremony was performed on the 2nd floor, where the seminary is located.

It was beautiful. It was great to see the whole CBI team come together to make the wedding happen. My favorite part of all was seeing the culmination of a beautiful redemption story. Marriage is a foreshadow of what is to come...the time where God's people will be united with their God. John writes about this in Revelation:

Revelation 19:6-9English Standard Version (ESV)

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
    the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
    and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
    and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
    with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
And the angel said[a] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
What an honor it is to see God at work in Japan. We long for the day that countless Japanese will be invited to the wedding supper of the lamb. The day that we will get to join them in crying out "Hallelujah! The Lord our God the Almighty reigns." May God continue to do what only he can do in Japan.