29 November, 2014

What religion is Japan?

Today I'm "out in the field". Well actually I'm sitting in the bedroom I slept in last night at a house I've never been to before. People who knew us, but we didn't remember them. 

This morning we spent 2 ½ hours at their church doing a presentation and talking to people. Only 17 people (not including kids), but as a group they get an "A" for enthusiasm for missions. I had a lady almost in tears as she talked to me (I'm still not sure what that
One of the few times we've been to the beach in Japan.
It was early spring and just a bit chilly, but the boys
enjoyed making sandcastles.
was about). It confirmed to us again the value of encouraging churches to set aside time outside of their Sunday morning worship to hear from us. We have more flexibility and time and can be more personal.

It has meant a whole weekend away for us, though, because we're there again tomorrow morning (though not upfront in the service). However, the bonus is that the ocean isn't far away and there are many choices of amazing quality beaches. As Queenslanders we had no idea that the beaches we have here are spectacular, until we moved away. But anyway, we've been in Queensland for five months and haven't taken the boys to the beach here yet (only in WA). So, it's about time to lather up (we're all very fair) and head down to the water.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with an answer to a question we periodically get when we're doing the rounds:

What religion is Japan?

Most Japanese identify themselves both as Buddhists and Shintoists, while surveys have shown that only one-third of the people profess a religious faith. That’s because many Japanese people don’t understand “religion” in the same way that Westerners do. They practise religion for the functions it fulfils in their lives. Many people are dedicated at a Shinto shrine at birth, get married in a Christian-style wedding and have a Buddhist funeral. Each religion provides different benefits at different times. Please pray that many Japanese people will know Christ as the only One who can meet all their needs.* 

* Adapted from 31 Days of Prayer for Japan, 2nd edition, OMF International.

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