Recap of 1998
One dream i`d had just about ever since i started studying Japanese earnestly in Japan and paying about $400/month tuition, was to "make that money back someday". It wasn`t something real serious with me, but i really like the language, and i believed i could do a good job translating.
In February, that dream came true when i was hired as a temporary at a Japanese plant in Alabama. I was esctatic! And at the same time, i wondered if i could really handle it. The weeks of isolation at the farm since all my friends went back to Japan vanished. I enjoyed the peace and time to write, and i`m sure that`s what God had in mind for me, but i was getting anxious to get on to something else.
When interviewed,i told them that i didn`t have confidence interpreting, just translating. They quickly saw to it tho, that i got plenty of practice doing both. The first 3 or 4 weeks, i`d go back to my one-room mansion and after eating, get out the dictionaries again and work. I was determined to do the best i could. And...It was rewarded!!!! I`ve never been so thoroughly lauded and praised in my whole life:) I was told that i was the best Japanese-English translator there and that they really wanted me to stay longer and sign a 2-year contract. It felt REALLY good to have people appreciate what you do. I`d gotten maybe a "thanks" at other places i`d worked at, but nothing like this.
I`d been looking into opportunities to do mission work for a couple of years, and something that was bound to change my life showed up in March in the form of an email "we have a project in India". Of course i`ll go. So after stopping over for 3 weeks in my beloved Japan, i got on the plane and landed in Bombay. What a shock! You can read about it in my diaries.
In October i made it back to a `heavenly` Seoul and then back to the promised land - Japan:) I stayed with an American friend for a couple of weeks and then with some former English students for a couple of weeks. Both places treated me very nice and my trust in people slowly returned. Finally on November 19, i moved into a beautiful house where i have pretty much free use of the whole place. My former English student and her husband live here and they are very pleasant.
Almost everything i`d been taught in school and magazines, news, etc. is baloney. The main thing that made me think this way was how everything was so crazy, desperate, in India. I`d been told that the reason that Japan doesn`t have so much crime and the reason their society tries to keep `group harmony` is because they grew rice together and had to cooperate that way, and that they lived so close together that they had to be at least a little respectful of the people around them to live. This sounds reasonable and i believed it.
But now i`m thrust in a country where people are even more closely packed together and many people are mad at each other and try to rip each other off. No, it doesn`t have much to do with being packed together, growing rice or wheat, raising sheep, trade, education, etc. It has EVERYTHING to do with how much of a God-like character you have.
Here`s a country where they`ve been worshiping cows and rocks for over 4,000 years. No wonder many times you look at them and can hardly recognize that they`re human. It`s probably the same way Adam will look at me when i first catch sight of him in heaven (on the way?) I`m the result of thousands of years of people who were probably nature worshipers, breaking the commandments, and steadily losing their God-likeness. To an extent that de-evolution has been arrested, but I can`t go back and change my ancestors.
And it applies to countries too. The reason Europe and America have been blessed isn`t directly the result of smarter brains or harder work, it`s the result of living close to God and carrying out His kingdom`s principles. When did Europe really flower? - when the Reformation began and people turned to the true God. Why has America become the most powerful country on earth? - by making God`s principles the basis of the country. Peace, liberty, justice, freedom, these are all attributes that God blesses. No, i`m not saying that America hasn`t made mistakes. Over 600,000 people lost their lives in the Civil War because of not recognizing blacks as humans. And in the end times, because of trying to force a Sunday Law on everybody which goes directly against God`s commands, America will be much more highly punished than some country that has never really known God - like India and Japan.
So the reason Japan has become so materially blessed isn`t directly because of their hard work and determination after WWII, it`s because they had many principles of God`s kingdom like freedom and equality forced on them by the Americans. It`s interesting that the first time Japan really started to get materially wealthy was after being forced open by Perry`s black boats in the 1860`s. Soon after, they officially allowed freedom of religion. Not having any correct concepts of `peace` tho, they plunged Japan into a protracted, almost half century, war that reduced their country to ashes.
Even tho they still don`t know the only true God, in many respects they are following His commands without knowing it and are reaping some of the blessings. For example, they have the longest life-span of anyone on the planet. Why? They respect their parents. `Put them in a nursing home` is the absolutely last resort. Even if they can`t get along with them, they`ll try to take care of them. And they`ve been blessed. They almost never steal (umbrellas, bicycles, and bribes excepted) or kill, so they`ve been blessed with an attitude of not having to fear other people for bodily harm.
In my 20`s, i used to believe in conspiracy theories - the illuminati, freemasons, bilderbergers, trilateral commision, etc. Somewhere tho i realized that while these groups are up to no good, there is something more fundamental behind things. Of course i knew it was Satan, but i really didn`t see how or why. But now i see that it`s God who`s behind things. No, he doesn`t approve of evil, but if His Spirit is with people, they will do well, and if His Spirit isn`t with them, they`ll go downhill.
Is it arbitrary on God`s part? No, He wants us all to be saved. He made so many of us to fill up the empty space caused by the fall of all those angels and to show His attributes to all creatures throughout the whole universe (undoubtedly many more reasons). We call His Spirit or drive Him away by our own choices and actions. This explains why He will "give them over to a strong delusion so they might be damned" in the last days.
Why doesn`t God reveal Himself more fully - like having something we can see, touch or feel to prove that He exists? I`ve had a few friends in Japan ask me this. Finally i found an answer. Because God loves us. Huh? Most peple are going to rebel against God no matter what happens. The ancient world had the very visible presence of 4 angels with glittering swords guarding the way to the tree of life. Notwithstanding this powerful proof of being able to look at heavenly beings with your own eyes, only 8 people chose to be saved when the flood came. So those people received a very violent judgement then, and will have to be raised in the final judgement only to be burned up with fire. Does God get happy by destroying His created beings? Of course not. He sent His only Son to die in our place so we can live forever with Him.
But it`s a fact that the more people are confronted with irrefutable evidence of God`s existence, The harder their hearts become if they reject Him. As a consequence, the more terrible will be their punishment. In John 20:29 Jesus says to His disciples after showing Himself to them after the resurrection - "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Many years ago i mentioned to a friend that heroes in the Bible like Paul etc. sure had a lot of faith. He made the remark that to get him to stop `kicking against the pricks`, God had to personally reveal Himself to him. So we may be even more blessed because we have just read something handed down nearly 2,000 years and yet believe :)
I learned something about plants, but still not positive what. Are they livings things or not? See a separate section on the home page about this one.
Likewise, many ideas, insights, perhaps mistakes about prophecy were made. See separate page about this one too.
Some other kinda mundane things i either learned or were reinforced in 1998:
No matter what, some people won`t listen to you.
You have to remove ALL things that God hates from your life to get His great blessings.
Some people DO appreciate what you do.
Life without your parents isn`t as much fun as when they were around:(
Sometimes you have to do things you don`t really want to - for your own good.
Americans are hated by lots of people around the world.
VERY few people have understanding.
There is a LOT more we can be doing to spread the gospel.
A dollar can go a loooooooooong ways in some places.
Some people will say opposite things and not think it illogical or strange.
Americans have it REALLY good!
Some people like you no matter what.
The internet is really handy to keep in touch.
Korea`s Christians are on fire!
Many `baptisms` in India are shams.
Really poor people who are giving their all to spread the gospel are very precious in God`s sight.
`Things` don`t just `happen` right. They got right by somebody making wise choices and doing the right things (and hard work too!).
Japan is in a deep funk.
Americans are hastening the ruin of their own country by not holding their leaders responsible for their actions which are directly against God`s law.
God`s Word is more precious than a credit card or friends.