travel spreading 1858gc

experience like a comic book scene

Last week I went down to the island of Shikoku. JR has a one-day rail pass where you can take the slow trains for around 23usd, so my 8-hour journey was quite inexpensive. I stayed in some building up on the top floor where there was nobody, and enjoyed the nice view from the open window. The concrete floor was a bit harder than the park bench a few weeks ago in a different city, but there were absolutely no mosquitoes. 🙂

The city is said to have 172,000 people, but, like most smaller cities outside of the Tokyo/Osaka/Northern Kyushu areas, it is bleeding young people, and dying. I asked someone where the busy part of town was, and they mentioned “Ginza Street”. When I arrived at the long shopping arcade around 6:30pm, it was ghostly silent except for the sounds of a few high school students going by on bicycle. Not a small number of buildings in the city looked abandoned, and some cats surprised me when jumping out of what I thot was the window of somebody’s house, but coming closer, saw that it was a hole into a really dilapidated “cat house”.

Anyway, my purpose was to go to the Seventh-day Adventist church there. I heard they have the 2nd largest SDA church on this island of over 4,000,000 people. Around 20 people attended on Sabbath, and I was refreshed to see the pastor basically agree with me about the sad pace of evangelism in Japan, and how our SDA church needs to be more active in winning souls, and less compromising with the world. Also, there was a young lady from Africa there, and we had a heartfelt talk about faith and Jesus and duty, and near the end of my time there she said that I must have been sent by God to help her faith. 🙂

But the comic book scene happened in the morning, just a few meters away from the church in the parking lot of a convenience store. My stomach wasn’t right, so I had sat down on a curb in front of the store. An elderly Japanese man came out, and sat on a block behind me, but soon came over and sat by me. We had a good talk, but with his old-folks’ accent/mumbling (probably caused by him not having many front teeth!) I couldn’t understand more than around 30% or so. Then one of his friends came down to sit by him. The 3 of us talked about things in that city, island etc. We talked about bicycles, as many people ride a special bicycle path there (I did too around 13 years ago), about the Hiroshima Carp baseball team who won their league pennant this year for the first time in 30 years, fishing, sightseeing etc.

Then they asked me what I was doing there. I pulled out my Japanese 1858 Great Controversy, and showed them. They didn’t say much, and I didn’t press it, just told them that I came to go to the church just across the way. But around a minute later, the second man who came to sit (who was drinking sake) started talking about religious things. He said Japan has many gods, and we respect them all. I mentioned something about how we should worship the one true Creator God. His voice got a little edge to it, and before I knew what was happening, I saw the first man riding away on a scooter. That’s when things got interesting.

He started talking about how we must have the sun to live. I said the one who created the sun is more important than the sun. Then he asked me if I knew about “Evolution” (all this was in Japanese). I said “yes”, and then took a light tone, (perhaps it seemed almost mocking to him?), asking him if it was possible that a rock could, over time, turn into a human? He said that it is like a child comes from its mother. I asked him if his mother’s mother’s mother was an ape or a rock. He seemed to soften a bit, and said “Well, all the gods are the same, they all lead to the same place”, to which I replied, “There is only one true God – Jesus Christ. He made everything, and we should worship him”. Suddenly his eyes changed, and he picked up his cane pointing to me like he was going to hit me, and said “You’d better not ever say things like that in Japan! Get out of here!” It was all so sudden, and comic-book-like, here’s an old man with a palsied arm starting to get tipsy, suddenly angry to the point of violence about being told that there is only one true God. I was smiling, and thinking he was half-joking at first, but when I saw his grip tighten on the cane, and his face turning a bright red (perhaps 1/2 from the sake?), I decided I’d better go, so picked up my backpack, and without turning around, walked away. I did notice that there was a young man at the smoking stand watching us, and could hear the old man talking excitedly to him as I walked away. Who knows, maybe a seed was planted in the young man’s heart?

Yes, the Great Controversy is alive and well, and being played out in big and small ways all over the world. Just as the title says, it’s between Christ and his angels, and Satan and his angels. We have a big role to play too. May we be ready to fulfill that role at any moment, even if it is like a comic-book scene. And yes, the thot did cross my mind, that doing this same thing in this same city around 80 years ago would have gotten me thrown in jail or worse. Let’s work to redeem the time, because that will happen again, but on a global scale in the end-times.

hong kong

After arriving at Hong Kong airport on June 22nd and exchanging some money, i found a $40 (hkd) (5.5usd) bus to the city. There was very little other than trees and hills and sea for the first 30 minutes, and i was starting to wonder if this was really the super city i had heard about. Well, that was answered quite breathtakingly after coming around one curve to see what may be the largest container dock in the world – what a sight! The mounds of containers forming a little city by themselves, with 5 or 6 huge cargo ships willing to piggyback them to ports afar….just thinking about how much time and energy went into just getting all these containers to this one place, let alone producing all the stuff that is in them is mind-boggling. Yet, somehow it gets done.

hong kong island skylineclick for huge amazing hong kong skyline

The Seventh-day Adventist church in Happy Valley (love that name!) is having Prayer Meeting as i arrive. It is all in Cantonese, so i just sit in the back and look thru the hymnal. There are only 5 attendees, and as they break up to leave they ask me individually about where i’m from, my purpose here, and where i’m staying. When i tell them i might stay at the McDonald’s or in the park, they look a little flustered, and walk off, except for the young man who calls a friend who he thinks might be able to help me, but gives up when no one answers.

So i see them all off, then sit down on the steps to spend the nite. Fortunately there is a ledge high above the door which keeps out most of the rain, as the last stages of a tropical storm pass over. It is a good time to reflect on the goodness of the Lord, and think about the many things that have happened in my life. To enjoy a passing cloud, to hear a bullfrog praising God, to see the rain coming down in sheets in the lights of the horse racetrack over in the distance, to see the parade of luxury cars and taxis going by, feeling the wetness, feeling the hardness, all the sensory things that make life, life……to wish for sleep – ha! Sleep finally does arrive around 3am, as i learn i don’t have to just sit, i can actually lay down (a little slow on things). My bottom on my pants gets a big red “C” on it from the plastic bag i’ve put under me to keep me dry, but it just brings a smile to me and many memories of the supermarket i got that bag at in Thailand over a year earlier, and of course of the many people i met and stayed with there, and what “might have happened”, had the school kept going, had the friend decided to start our own school, etc etc.

Morning comes early, and hot. I’ve had a long sleeve shirt on all nite, partly because of the chill, but also to keep the mosquitos off, and it has worked perfectly, for which i’m most thankful. Taking it off to reveal just the short sleeve shirt below feels nice for a while, but then the red, itching welts pop up pretty quickly, forcing me to get a move on. There are 7-11s everywhere, and like in many SE Asian countries there is a huge selection of different kinds of soy drinks to choose from – yum. The nuts and raisins brought from Japan are enjoyed in a little park with the soy milk and rolls. Breadmaking skills never really arrived in the Far East outside of the former French areas, but it is palatable.

The Chinese Union Mission office is my main goal for the day, so i head off to the subway (MTR) to the place where i found it on the web. I really hate Google, but their map search is the best i know of. Today tho, it produces an epic fail. No one around the station where i get off, and go to the place marked on the map has even heard of the area, let alone the building name! I quickly find out that Hong Kong is very different from my expectations of something similar to Singapore in English skills, as i find many people cannot even read English, let alone speak it. In the city center there are lots of foreign-looking people, and lots of signs in English, but just a couple of miles from there plants you firmly in Chinese-speaking territory. Finally one man pronounces the address i’ve written in Roman letters, in Cantonese, and tells me i need to go to a place 4 train stops away. How to find the place once i get there? I have not a clue, but have come this far so……. Getting off at that station i look for an area map, when i notice right below the exit sign a list of places it serves, and there is the name of the building i’m looking for! Thank you Lord for helping me this far.

The Chinese Union Mission office is located on the 12th floor of an office building way outside of the city center, in a mostly residential area. The lady i’d contacted before on the internet seems a bit flumfluxxed about why i’ve come, but quickly becomes very friendly and helpfully introduces me to the publishing director who talks with me over 20 minutes about this book and Ellen White. We have some common ground as he went to school at Southern Adventist University in Tennessee (i didn’t go to school there, but have been there many times), but lose our common ground when he says regarding Ellen White books being published in the Chinese language: “We have too many Ellen White books already”. Perhaps he meant that there are many books not being read enough, but more talking reveals that he has some problems with Ellen White. He gives the same reasons as many others have about why this 1858 edition of The Great Controversy is not necessary, with the main reason being that Ellen White got better and better as she went along, and corrected her earlier works. Ouch. I agree that everything has to be read in context, but believe there are no mistakes in the earlier works. He then shows his views regarding the Bible, as he says Paul told the people in Corinth that a woman should cover her head, and not teach over a man, but that was just because Corinth was such a wicked place. So we must consider all the context of everything written. I keep mostly quiet, but demure a bit, saying that all the words in the Bible are inspired, to which he seems to politely disagree. He mentions that next year the General Conference is instructing to print many Great Controversy books, to which he shows his reluctance to perform, saying that he would rather give Desire of Ages to someone who doesn’t even know about Christ, unlike those in Western societies. I agree that to non-Christians, Steps to Christ should come before The Great Controversy.

seoul delight

From the 24th to the 29th i was in Seoul, Korea. The new Japanese church in Yongsan-gu were extremely hospitable hosts, letting me stay there, making sure i had enough to eat, taking me to see other Seventh-day Adventist institutions and to the public sauna/baths, and even letting me give the sermon/1858 Great Controversy study in the church on Sabbath with around 15 in attendance. This was truly amazing. Being in Japan for 15 years, i’ve only been asked once before to give a sermon. And here, with a pastor i’ve never met before, he trusts me to feed his very youthful flock without even having ever met me! Amazing.

The pastor had told me in a email that he wanted me to give a testimony, so i was expecting 10 minutes or so during the Sabbath School time. But when i arrived, he said i was the main speaker! When i told him i’d like to study chapter 32 of the 1858gc with everyone, he said i could do my testimony and then the study, which we did after putting all the chairs in a circle. I guess there were around 15 present. I think 3 or 4 of the people are not SDA and maybe not even Christian yet. Even tho over half of the people were Korean, they were typical Japanese style with keeping quiet most of the time. After the study one couple seemed deeply affected, and asked a few questions. It was a great experience for me to be able to carry out a study in Japanese. One nice thing was, there was no spirit of doubt in the writings of Ellen White, and there was no put-down of myself either, both things that are quite common in my travels. I gave everyone a book, and pray that the Holy Spirit will work on hearts now. Around 1/2 of the people stayed all afternoon, and we had a little sundown-worship too. The pastor told me there are quite a few young pastors in the Japan Conference who are very dedicated, and waiting for opportunities to help lead the starving sheep into green pastures. May God hear their earnest cries, and incline his ears to my heartfelt prayers that something be done to awaken the sleeping church in Japan.

The pastor said that he read that Japanese were 30 times more likely to become Christians while outside of Japan, rather than in their own country. I can believe it, because i’ve heard of quite a few cases like that myself. He said even a Japanese ambassador’s wife was baptized into the SDA church last year! But really, one of the best ways to evangelize the Japanese, may be to approach them when they are not in their comfortable “cocoon” of this island nation. Then again, maybe a certain nuclear reactor will drive them out of their cocoon soon!!

Thanks for everyone’s prayers to come back into Japan. I was forced for the first time to buy a ticket back to Korea before i could leave Seoul. But Asiana airline refunded all except around 35usd after i arrived in Osaka, so not too bad. The immigration officer didn’t say anything, but again, that may have been because i did have that ticket carrying me back out of Japan, something they like to see.

I really have to get a visa soon. More and more it is on my heart and hands that i need to WORK for my own health’s sake, and especially to help spread God’s words in the various countries. Please pray that if it is the Lord’s will i stay here in Japan, that the Lord will open the way. I just want to follow where he is leading 🙂 Thank you Jesus for this wonderful experience in Seoul, and i pray that the Yongsan Japanese Church will grow brighter and brighter in leading many to Jesus there.

if you take the bible as it reads….

Yesterday morning i went to a Sunday church called “Kohitsuji Chapel” in Nakamozu. A Seventh-day Adventist Sister had met the pastor last summer, and had given the 1858gc i had translated 10 years ago to him. After the service the pastor talked with me about a minute, very nicely, and i showed him the book etc. and asked him about keeping the sabbath. He said “If you take the Bible as it reads, Saturday is the Sabbath”. He looked down, changed the subject, and moved away soon after. May God work on that seed!!

goodbye gmi

Well, the time spent with Gospel Ministries International was a little over 3 months. It has now been 10 days since i was told to vacate the place, and as there seems to be no more news forthcoming about this, i guess this will be a wrap-up, at least from my perspective.

David Gates kindly asked me to join GMI at the General Conference Session last June, and i went to volunteer my service there in July. I helped with odds and ends, and learned video editing, went on a couple of trips to run a video camera, and spent most of the time with media.

A little over 2 weeks ago now, i received a email from one of the leaders “J” with a very angry tone about what i had written concerning Br. Gates’ sermon “Converging Crises” in March of 2009. I had emailed the review of that sermon to Br. Gates before posting it, and am glad to say that several people have seen this review on my blog, and were benefited by it. But this leader did not know about it (as he was not even involved with GMI then i don’t think).

It seems like probably that email went to several other people at GMI, and one person talked to me about the mocking tone in my post. While not agreeing to having done anything wrong, i did see after our talk that i had used two words that were wrong, and repented, and deleted them the next morning.

Then on Sunday evening, exactly 10 days ago, the manager of personnel (J) talked with me. About 3 or 4 minutes into his talk, he said that if i write anything slanderous on my blog concerning him, that he would sue me. I could hardly believe my ears, and asked if this was the spirit of Christ. After that, not much else even registered, as the spirit of the dragon was abundantly evident. Near the end of his 45-minute talk, he asked me if i know what happened to “tattlers” in his elementary school. I told him i didn’t, and he said they got beat up. Of all the people who have threatened me with bodily harm in the last 20 years, why is it that they are ALL fellow-believers???

He asked if i had followed Matthew 18 in pursuing problems i have with Br. Gates’ sermon. I told him i did follow the first part, but not the second part. I did mention during his talk that we should rebuke public sins publicly, but i did not push that point. That was my mistake. When error is propagated publicly, Matthew 18 does not apply, as it is not between “he and you alone”. Of course it is best not to show dissension among God’s remnant people, so we should try to settle differences without going public, but as the response from Br. Gates in March 2009 was showed no sign of even discussing the problems in his sermon, i published the review, hoping it would help others of God’s flock who have questions regarding the message.

I’m thankful that i did not raise my voice during the “talk”, something which i no doubt would have been eager to do if this had occured 25 years ago. So i thank God for working on my emotions. I mean, how can we get too excited about ourselves when we think of what our dear Saviour went thru – and at the hands of his own people?!

One of the strange things is, is that Br. Gates, the man who originally asked me to join, has not contacted me at all on this…. Two of the other leaders had a problem with what i had written, and i’m cast out. Is this the way a Christ-centered, Faith-based ministry should be run? The personnel director gave me two days to find a new place to stay, and i’m very thankful that a couple did take me in quickly.

My brother is glad that i’ve left a “cult” (in his estimation) (altho i agree “yes” men are the most welcome there), but i can definitely see the hand of God in leading me to GMI, and also in leading me out of GMI. The experience of living closely with like-minded believers is something that my growth in the graces of Christ needed. I hope i was able to be of benefit to them also. My prayer goes out for the leaders that are mixing error with truth, and more so for the torn sheep there who, like me, are desperately wanting to know the will of God for their lives. Praise God there are some who will follow the Lamb wherever he goes 🙂

spanish meetings in richmond va

The meetings by David Gates at the Spanish-speaking church in Richmond Virginia from September 14-20 are over now, and i think went off well overall, even tho i didn’t understand hardly anything – ha! It was fun to pick up a few Spanish words tho, and the refrain from the them song is still going thru my mind: “Mas alla del sol” (Far, over there, the sun). Compared to Japanese it is super easy, as many words can be picked out of a conversation just because they are closely related to English.

About 80-100 came every nite, and we heard some good testimonies from several individuals during the meetings saying that they feel a stronger need to prepare for Jesus’ coming. I handled one of the video cameras, and it was kind of hard to keep standing on a metal chair for 2 hours or more gazing at a tiny screen, trying to keep the head and sometimes body too not in the center of the screen where it would look unnatural, but in one of the “thirds” on usually the right side (i ran the camera on the right facing left), or on the left (when he would stretch over and look at the people to the far left of him. But it was fun too in a strange way, and i seem to be getting better at keeping the camera steady.

The pastor’s wife offered to proofread the Spanish 1858gc book and one other family offered their daughter’s services to translate the Portuguese one, but i know that offering other people’s time is usually not a profitable thing to do. One man who runs an evangelistic radio station talked about the “original books” with authority, which surprised me, and again gave me a little spark to keep at it for “there are those who care”. 🙂

The people there were quite nice, if a little disorganized and loud, they even gave me some donations, of which i’m sharing with others. God is good. It was amazing to see a pastor who really seemed to care about his flock, and wants to receive advice from others about what to do to make his church come more into line with the inspired counsel 🙂

We were able to give an overview Bible study to the lady at the counter of the Quality Inn where we stayed at. America is so amazing to be able to have sincere discussions openly with people like this. The pastor is really evangelistic minded, and was always talking to people and trying to open doors to them. That is one big area where i need to improve, because my nature is to shy away from people, and keep my nose stuck in a book somewhere.

The only real problem i could tell, was the overall lack of solemnness. This is not just a problem with what i saw in Richmond, this is something that is all thru the ranks of us people who proclaim to have the last message of mercy to a dying world. Many times we like to saw joking things etc. that are not true, and then just write it off as a “joke”, and have a good laugh about it. Is this the way to act to help prepare a character to stand before a holy God?

God’s ministers should give the straight, solemn message, without trying to tickle the funny bone. It hit me with force, how different the atmosphere was during the Awakening meetings in the 1960s with what we have in the pulpits now. It was so earnest, solemn, and the people were poring over the words of God to see if these things were so. Where is that today? I don’t know of anyone on the planet doing it consistently, altho, of course i haven’t heard every SDA pastor speak!

blessing after blessing – indonesia

I had not planned to go to Indonesia. Even after 4 1/2 years of travelling since leaving Japan, i had never made even one contact in Indonesia, and had no desire to go and visit. After getting the 1858 Great Controversy translated into Bahasa Malaysia in 2007, i had thot that maaaaaybe i should think about going to Indonesia because the languages were so similar. Of course i had read on the internet that there are many Seventh-day Adventists (200,000 in 2010), and knowing how the people in Sabah are very receptive to Ellen White books, i had slightly considered that perhaps a similar response would be seen in Indonesia.

Well, after 5 1/2 weeks of what appears to be mostly fruitless time spent in Malaysia (except for meeting one young SDA), wondering why pride, having maids work on the Sabbath, worldliness, and strange conspiracy theories (the last is probably stopped by now) had entered the church, and why not even one person would study the 1858 Great Controversy with me, i caught a late nite flight to Jakarta. The information on the internet was not good, saying that this city is bland, polluted, and a bit dangerous. Of course there was a bombing of the Marriott hotel here not too long back too, so that element is something to watch out for also. So i came a bit concerned about safety, and not expecting much in the way of spreading the Great Controversy book. But was i ever wrong! OK, the safety problem is mostly as described, but i didn’t actually encounter it. There are quite a few thieves, and the corruption of everybody, especially govt. officials, makes everybody out to be a thief it seems, but the reception of the 1858 Great Controversy book by Ellen White is just astounding! The only other place that has ever come close in reception of this book is Sabah Malaysia, and that was 4 and then 3 years ago. It is a different story there in both respects now tho.

At the Jakarta airport i had no hassle at all in purchasing a visa for 25 US dollars. The girl pasting the visa in the passport had the veil over her head, but her nice smile almost made me think i was at a tourist information center. I kind of made friends with one elderly man from Malaysia, and gave him a pamphlet on health, and then after around a 30-minute wait in a scene extremely different from the huge, efficient Bangkok airport, i walked thru customs and then into a little hallway lined with money changers and taxi booths. There were quite a few men there plugging for customers, but after changing 27sgd, i walked thru them just smiling and shaking my head “no”. Of course many of the taxi drivers would not take such an easy “no”, so they would follow me asking where i’m going, where i’m from, etc. etc. There was a large, outdoors all-nite fast food place, but that didn’t look too inviting outdoors, so i went back inside, and found a little cafe, and hung out there all nite nursing a cup of hot milk with some almond-taste chemical in it.

back to tennessee

I was raised in Tennessee, living here until age 22, and then again for several months in 1997-1998 time frame. Now i’m back again.

I made it to the GMI “compound” near the McDonald road church near Collegedale Tennessee today after a couple of false starts the last two days 🙂 I have a nice room, and the people seem nice. Please pray that i can have patience, and do what the Lord wants me to do here. They provide lunch, but breakfast and supper is on my own, so am about ready to cut up that big green pepper i put in the bag last Tuesday and maybe munch on some peanut-butter crackers.

It sounds like lots of people have just moved out, and lots moved in, so things are in quite a state of flux right now. Sounds like my first work will be helping in tidying up and maybe a little construction, and then maybe they will train me in video editing. So even if i don’t get a whole lot of private time to work on my animation project, hopefully there will be good results from the editing training. Of course i hope to be of service to them too. I sure hope and pray that the 1858 Great Controversy book and animation project can get propelled forward by my association here.

Lord, what do you want me to do? I’ve prayed much about this, and you’ve led me here. Here i am now, please use me. I need more patience, and pray for it abundantly, and also that i can give the straight truth to everyone i meet. I’ve tried and tried and tried to find places to get to working on the animation project, and nothing has ever worked out. PLEASE Lord, make it work out — soon. Amen.

preaching 1858 great controversy

A SDA Brother in Indonesia and in Thailand sent me emails this week, both talking about preaching this original edition of the Great Controversy book by Ellen White. Of course my heart is singing 🙂

even we just meet for three days but you as like a fire to burn my spirit up, now i more study about the bible and great controversy. you know, last sabbath I made a lecture in church about spiritism and this coming sabbath they asked me to continue it with Shaking, please pray for me to burn their spirit be faithful. and you know three of my high school students ask me to make a bible study, then suddenly one of them want to be baptized, so this coming sabbath they will come to my church for bible study and to hear the lesson of shaking. they are catholic, protestant, and pantecost. please pray for those students. I saw Jesus is coming soon, many people out side very hunger and thirst of the Words.
Last Sabbath I preached about the “Great Controversy between Christ and his angels and Satan and his angels” and that all of us are involved in it, it doesn’t matter if we want or not. Day by day, with every decision, with every sought and word we are in one of the two companies: of the white banner or of the black banner.

It is very interesting: I preached the last three Sabbaths but in three different countries: in Thailand, then in Romania and than in Moldova. On Sabbath morning I preached in the house of my brother and in the afternoon we went in the city (about 30 minutes by car from my friend village) to present the GC book there. The pastor invited me to preach and it was a very nice time. There were not many people (in the evening not all the people come to the church) but the brethrens participated very active and interested. Then I sold 9 GC books (my friend will collect the money later). I did plane to go on Monday to the Moldavian Union to speak with the brother which is responsible with the literature about the CG. Unfortunately on Monday it was official public holyday and my flight was on Monday night. But my Moldavian friend promised me to go on Tuesday to talk about the book. Do you know? In Moldova they bind the books very nice, like the English GC from India!

okinawa (cancelled), bursting heart

It got down to around 8C last nite, the coldest i’ve experienced in over a year – brrr. My jet-lag is slowly lifting, and my mind is starting to work again.

My friend’s mansion (Japanese-style! – meaning “small apt.”) is so very clean and quiet, very different from most of where i’ve been in the last 9 months. She likes to study the 1858 Great Controversy book, and we are spending good time going over the questions, and answering other questions raised by other church members around here. Her husband is non-christian, but doesn’t mind that i’m here. It is sad to see that while most all of the SDA church members are very compromised with the world, the few strong ones are a bit wacko.

Is it God’s leading? I believe so – a friend has given me a free ticket to go to Okinawa tomorrow for a camp-meeting to which the General Conference President himself will be attending!!! The problem is – it is the International Missionary Society Reform Seventh-day Adventist Church campmeeting

Please pray for me.

The main man who invited me to come loves this 1858gc book, and wants me to give a testimony about my work in spreading it. I really am happy that someone is interested in the book here in my beloved Japan, but afraid that the “Reform” label will somehow get attached to it, so am a bit wary. It is really too bad, because this man and the others in the group that my friend has met are really sincere, strong, faithful, loving Adventists, just not in the right Adventist camp. May God use me to bring them back into his body. Anyone with Bible or SOP quotes for them? When i visited him last year, i gave my personal testimony about my own mother leaving the SDA church over the gold medal to the pope scandal, but that i don’t agree with what she did. I also showed from Revelation 3:14-21 and Ezekiel chapter 9 how we MUST be in the SDA church. It is God’s last church, defective as it may be, he still loves it, and not those churches that draw people away from it.

updated 4/15 4:40pm — I went to the airport this morning, and was told by the ANA staff that as the ticket was purchased under a different person’s name, i cannot fly using that ticket. Well, maybe this is the best? I often wonder EXACTLY what is God’s will for me to do? I want to follow perfectly like Jesus did, and while i know for sure i fall many times, much of the time i just wonder what it is EXACTLY that i am to do every day…….

Then i went to see a formerly-homeless friend. I’ve known him for around 11 years, helped him with a tent, gave him food and money when he had no friends sleeping under a blue tarp by the river, helped him get into govt. welfare and get his own apt, and even tho we have studied a lot of the Bible together, he shows absolutely no interest. To tell the truth, he even told me today in a nice manner that i should stop trying to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, because many people don’t care to hear it. And he is about to die it seems. He cannot even hardly walk the 100m to the supermarket to buy his food. And he is telling me this…. I makes my heart almost burst with grief at my friend’s hard heart and his choice of eternal death. Nearly every country i travel to people say “our country is the most difficult for evangelism”, but like recently when i told them the story of this formerly-homeless friend, they just couldn’t believe it.

Lord, please open everyone’s eyes in Japan. I love this country, and hate to see almost the whole island under the sway of the wicked one – choosing eternal death. Use me Lord! Use any means at your disposal to save even one. I want to see some of my Japanese friends in heaven!

scraping by

I flew into Singapore from Jakarta on Wednesday, and a good friend whom i’ve indebted myself to several times already cheerfully agreed to meet me at the airport. He drove me to a shopping center that has lots of travel agents, and East Asia worked with me to get a flight to Osaka on Monday (Thai airways) for 497sgd (355usd). If i could wait another week, the price would come down around 90-100sgd, but that is not acceptable right now, so i went thru my waist pouch that i haven’t used around my waist for a year or two now, and looked for anything that might be of value to a money changer. Singapore dollars – no need to change 🙂 Fortunately, when here a couple of months ago a couple of supportive fellow-believers helped me out, and most of that is still left. But hmmm, well, this Thai baht shouldn’t be too necessary anymore – throw it in. What about this Indian rupee note? ahhh, throw it in the pot too. Oh yeah, the jackpot Indonesian rupiah (i say because 100,000idr = 11usd).

The 3 Indian guys in the booth don’t bat an eye, but quickly ring out the total on a paper and hand over the sgd. In counting it, i think i’ll have 19sgd left over after paying for my ticket. But, surprise! I didn’t count one 50 note, so have 69sgd – sweet 🙂 The elderly couple hosting me for the 5 days while here remind me that i sold 10 Thai 1858gc while here last time, and they need to pay for that – another 60sgd. wow! I’m up to almost 100usd, and still have my 30usd and 2,000jpy to spare. How’s that for being taken care of?!

I sure do thank the 2 people in Indonesia who purchased 1858 Great Controversy books so that i have this opportunity to make it to Japan without resorting to something else 🙂 And of course the 2 in Singapore that made it possible for me to go to Kota Kinabalu, then Jakarta, then Manado, then Jakarta, then back to Singapore again – thank you! Made God richly bless all of you, and may your job not give you Sabbath problems A-san!

new india pics

Lots of pics uploaded today of my stay in India from July – December 2009:
2009 India pics

Most of the pics are from Pune, but some from Mumbai, and then Bangalore and Tamil Nadu at the end. Please note the pics are in order from last part of stay to first part of stay.

india! at last

5 months and 6 days after arriving in mumbai, i write standing up at a recharge center in the Bengaluru (or whatever this city’s name is when you read this – think BLR) airport. 5 months and 6 days. Wow. Has the total life time spent in this country really been close to a year now? (1998, 2006, 2009) While focusing mostly on the last two weeks of my entire stay here, i want to reflect a bit on my total time in India on this journey.

India is really a country where the impossible, and totally illogical, is a daily occurence. How can it be that you see cows and dogs and pigs and humans all scrounging thru the trash bins (together sometimes!) and when mentioning how this is not seen in most of the world you get a blank stare like “that’s impossible”? How can you really call a populace civilized when they explode HUGE fireworks right in the middle of the street? What kind of education is it that produces many people that cannot explain a simple event with any sort of understandability? Or a culture where the rickshaw driver would rather yell and scream at you for 15 minutes (thus losing revenue) than accepting the fare he originally agreed to?

Please note that these are large generalizations. Saying that Americans are fat, or Japanese are clean is also a generalization. But these types of things are so common, as to almost identify a culture. Being someone who likes to ask questions, who likes to know the whys and hows of things, it was humbling to be told by so many people how to walk and talk and carry my bag etc etc. Yes, i believe this was God’s plan – to push down any pride i had remaining from my 48 years of life-experience. I can even be told now that i mustn’t clean the kitchen or toilet or floor etc., and keep on smiling and doing it anyway (only servants or women are supposed to get dirty inside the house it seems).

The purpose to come to India – to find young people willing to do animation to make the Great Controversy into a movie was stillborn. It is possible that a couple of people i met might help in the future, but as for setting up a little training school and doing the work – nothing got accomplished. But still i’m sure God DID lead me here. I had a wonderful, precious time homeschooling 2 children for the majority of the time. They taught me some more patience, and hopefully i got good experience that will be put into practice elsewhere as i hope to start or help in little schools and homeschools. If someone ever starts a “school of the prophets”, that would be a dream come true. And who knows, perhaps that is God’s will for me in the future. I had many wonderful talks, especially with the father at the house where i stayed most of the time, and i was fortunate to meet several people who are strong with Jesus.

And the last 2 weeks of my stay were like “icing on the cake”, and i mean that in a good way (mostly). It started out with a bus ride from Pune to Bangalore that was supposed to be 17 hours, but wound up being 23. The bedbug or whatever it was bites kept me itching almost uncontrollably for 2 days, and then normal painfully for about a week. Yes, the trains are much better, even with their stream of beggars, but i was just glad to get a ticket on any means of transport to reach my destination. I tried to call the pastor friend who said he would pick me up, but the call placed on the phone of a nice man i met on the bus wouldn’t go thru, so i asked a rickshaw driver at the ending point if he could call. He called somebody, then cut the phone, turned to me, and said “50 rupees i take you there”. I said “can you please call again and let me speak”? He agreed, and after satisfying him with a 10-rupee note for the call, he walked off, and i walked (dragged) the 40kg of books and calendars with me to the travel office down the road where the pastor met me. He was very gracious, and said something about being in the area since 4am when he had taken someone to the train station. It was after noon now, so i knew he had a lot of patience waiting for me. He took me to his church which is being renovated, and it was just good being with him again after a 6-week or so absence from our first meeting in Bombay.

After a bath and applying gobs of soothing jelly medicine that he so kindly purchased for me, i took a nap. He and his wife gave me their own cot-bed, and slept on the floor themselves on a little rice throw-mat. I felt bad putting them out like that, but protesting didn’t help things, so just accepted their hospitality cheerfully. That is one of the great things about India, there are so many bad things here i guess, that people who are in your group are looked after quite well, and worried over and watched over carefully. In all the 15 years i lived in the Japan with its 20+ landings at its airports, i never once was greeted by anyone. And i’ve never been taken all the way to the airport yet by anyone either, altho last time i was taken to a train station near the airport. But here, two pastors who have never met me before greeted me at the Mumbai airport in July, and, well, just tonite, i had three people go along with me to the Bangalore airport, just to make sure everything went well for me. That’s some hospitality! Of course, without that hospitality, it would be difficult to get here by public transport, as it is not connected well (hard to understand bus system and extremely overcrowded), and taxi drivers often charge what long-time foreigners here refer to as “skin tax” which is about a 5times surcharge.

People are lining up for my flight to Bangkok, so i better put this away for now. Thank you, some nice, dedicated people in this maelstrom that is called India, for making my stay profitable to my spiritual welfare, and i hope to yours as well 🙂

I’ll try to finish this now, a week later, typing in northern Thailand:
The pastor in Bangalore took me to many of his church members’ homes and businesses to talk and pray with them. He tries to meet with all his members in their homes once a week. This close contact is key, i believe, to keeping people healthy and strong in their church experience. I had many precious interviews, trying to lift the people up to look more closely to Jesus for everything.