My team and I went to Japan from October 20-28. On the way to Japan, we encountered a myriad of obstacles and difficulties, resulting in Bryan, P. Justin, and me arriving Sunday morning without luggage, just in time for service. Kim and Vin didn't arrive until Monday afternoon, after spending Friday night in San Francisco and then Sunday night in Tokyo due to the typhoon.
Asaminami Chapel, the church we attended on Sunday, was barely 20 attendees, including missionaries. It is one of three small chapels of Hiroshima Evangelical Free Church under the unified leadership of three pastors, Haitaka Makio, Kitano Kenji, and Yamada Yoshiteru. We met the pastors on Wednesday and were inspired by their powerful testimonies. Afterwards, our team and Jessica paired off to pray for the city while we walked around the area.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jessica teaches midday English classes at the chapels which are open to the community. All but a handful do not know Christ. We played games with them, exchanged stories with them, and prepared gifts for them. We were inspired and touched by their colorful personalities, and heartbroken by their unbelief.
We visited the Peace Park, which includes a museum in memoriam of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. Seeing how much the city invested into this park, along with hearing some of the testimonies from some of the older Hiroshima residents we met who were directly affected by the bombing, drastically changed our perspective on the devastation of this event.
I have been on many mission trips, but none have been as deceptively difficult as Japan. One of the things I personally struggle with is building foundational relationships, but God proved His faithfulness by instilling boldness in me to talk to strangers and meeting people who were surprisingly open and friendly. I definitely look forward to returning to Hiroshima and building deeper relationships with the people there, demonstrating how deep God's love for them truly runs!