A recent theme that has kept coming up in our team is how to love one another well, no matter the circumstances. Although it’s been challenging at times, God has been using both ministry opportunities and our daily time as a team to continue teaching us this valuable lesson. In our weekly Bible studies, we have been going through the book of James, and the Lord has been teaching us all a lot. Something that really stood out to me personally was James 2:13 which says,
“…Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
Living in tight spaces/community with others can be very trying at times; outreach has taught me this lesson faster than anything ever before. This verse has really impacted how I treat others, showing me that in order to live in community, I need to give others mercy and grace even when it’s difficult. Jesus didn’t show me mercy because I deserved it, so I need to do the same for others.
This week has been very focused on building relationships with all the wonderful people we have connected with in Tokyo. Monday evening, our team organized and hosted a game night for the staff of YWAM Tokyo. It was an awesome evening of fellowship with the staff and leaders and an opportunity to give back to the people who have been supporting us since we arrived in Japan. We were also joined by an outreach team from YWAM Kona’s School of Worship. Tuesday night we were able to attend The Living Room worship night with YWAM Tokyo. The worship night is open to everyone, and many Japanese Christians attend, so it’s an awesome experience to pray and worship with Christians from the opposite side of the world.
Friday we traveled to Ichikawa to hand out flyers promoting the children’s ministry we would be hosting Saturday. The church we were partnering with were beyond excited to have us there, cooked us an amazing Japanese dinner. Saturday morning we were off to Yoyogi Park where we are involved with a weekly homeless ministry. There we helped the other volunteers to conduct a mini church service, and hand out bread and hot coffee to the homeless. I was very honored to be asked to share a message as part of the service. God put it on my heart to share my personal testimony of battling drugs and alcohol with these people. I shared how God has used the darkest moments in my life to pull me closer to him, and how if God can love me through the things I have done He can love anyone. And the best part is that we don’t have to do anything to make God love us more, He loves us unconditionally and He longs for a relationship with us.
Later that afternoon we headed back to Ichikawa to begin our children’s ministry. We were super excited to see the little church we were in packed with kids. Over the course of several hours we sang songs, performed skits and few members of our team shared stories and testimonies about Gods love for them. After the program finished, we took all of the kids to a local park to play and love on them. Our team felt super refreshed to experience child like faith in action. All in all it was a day full of love, laughter, and a whole lot of Jesus.
We have now arrived safely in Osaka after many travelling adventures, and have been so blessed to be able to stay at the YWAM base here. These next two weeks are packing a full ministry schedule; our team is anticipating the Lord to continue moving in big ways. Please continue praying for our team that we would finish strong and keep stepping out in boldness as we have hit the halfway point in our outreach.
Thanks to all of our supporters, we would be here without you. Much love, Craig Zylstra on behalf of Team Japan.Read More