Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Old Introduction

Old Treasures

One day I wandered into the other Christian bookstore in Osaka's northern hub, Umeda, and I was surprised to see that they were selling used books. They even had some in English. To my delight I found an 80 year-old book called "Japan on the Upward Trail" and bought it for less than ten bucks.

The book turned out to be a very, very positive review of the state of Christianity and its progress in Japan. It was written in 1923, and the next twenty years would make the author's excitement seem sadly ironic. However the book also contained some beautiful treasures -- stories of Christians in Japan's history who had sacrificed everything for Jesus. Of people like Grace Hosokawa and Joseph Neesima.

I had never heard these stories before! When missionaries come to Japan (like I did), often we don't know how God has been tilling, working, preparing and planting seeds in the soil before us! Many of us felt like we were starting from scratch. And so we did start from scratch. I think maybe that's one reason why we've met with so little "success" here.

I know every missionary has their theory of why missions are so difficult in Japan, and every theory also has a solution that if we know this then revival will come and sweep the nation. But I would like to share this humbly based on my own experience and attitudes.

Jesus is Already Here

When I came, I didn't know that Jesus had been here before me. It sound simple, but it's really important to know that God has been there ahead of you and that He will be there after you leave. We are just cogs, so to speak, pieces in the middle, the middlemen to help things along at only one point of a much larger story.

Somehow I think we often forget this whenever we go to a "new" mission field. I think we've been doing that for hundreds of years -- trying to convert heathen pagan cultures without recognizing that God had prepared them long before we ever arrived. Not only that, but they had heard His witness in some way. Jesus is "the true light that gives light to every man who comes into the world" (John 1:9).

Jesus Made the Japanese Heart

It's very simple. Jesus made the Japanese people. He is the very root of their being, even if they don't know Him. They are made for Him, by Him, and through Him. Just like you and I are. Yet when many Japanese become Christian, instead of feeling like they're "coming home", many feel like they're leaving their home culture. I think we need to recognize that Jesus is Japanese, if you know what I mean. I want to let Him shine, even within the Japanese culture, and let Him show Japanese in His way that He made them and that they are made for Him. I want them to feel like they are coming home when they come to Him.

It's my prayer that the stories I post here will help Japan discover her heritage. Even though her history is frought with cultural clashes, misunderstandings about Christianity and lots of arguments about which Christianity is right, in the Beginning, Jesus made the Japanese. In the end, Christianity will be reduced to Jesus -- who is a living and real Person. Not a set of beliefs. We come to Him, not to articles. He has been with Japan throughout her history, and He is wooing her people to Himself, as His beloved bride.

In Christ---Maker of you, me, and the Japanese,
Ramone Romero


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