One of those shops was run by a soon-to-retire couple. She knew a little English vocabulary and he studied it during school, but using English was not required during his time as a grocer. Little did they know that two Americans would begin frequenting the store. The result was some hilarious conversations. Every conversation involved hand gestures, picture drawing, and sound effects, a strange version of charades. Thankfully, as we studied Japanese we learned to communicate better, making the conversations seem a little less crazy.
As our friendship progressed, they began to invite us to their house, a rarity in Japanese culture. They ate traditional Japanese meals with us, and one night we watched some of the Olympics with them. While they remained dedicated Buddhists, we enjoyed our friendship and became part of their family. The wife directly told us to think of her as Janae’s Japanese Mother.
While our limited Japanese hindered our ability to verbalize both God’s love for them and their need of forgiveness that is granted through God’s plan in Jesus, this is the basic idea of what we want to do in Japan. We want to begin relationships with people, making it clearly known that we are Christians wanting to tell others about Jesus, and get involved with their lives. We want to be able to counsel them when difficult times come, rejoice with them in times of gladness, and show them how we live our lives in Christ.