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Japan Reflections: Let My Light Shine Before Men

We left for the Nashville airport a little after four in the morning. Having arrived from Ft. Lauderdale/Miami the night before, it had been a quick turnaround with very little sleep. But we were excited – we were going to Japan!! Mine & Becky’s second trip – Shelton & Alyson’s first. We met Pastor Dan Scott at the airport & our flight left at 6:10am to Minneapolis/St. Paul, where we literally ran from one terminal to another without stopping to board another plane to Seattle.

Pastor Dan and I sat across the aisle from each other on this flight. I’m not sure what the people around us had on their agenda – but they knew by the end of the flight that they were sitting next to a couple of guys who love Jesus, ministry, and Christ Church Nashville! I so enjoyed talking with him. His brain is incredibly sharp – but he has a compassionate spirit. His love for taking the gospel to global humanity is touching. His upbringing in a missionary’s family is so evident in his both his love & knowledge of so many parts of the world AND his incredible linguistic skills. He is amazing!

In Seattle, we barely had time to take the train to the international terminal to board our flight to Osaka, Japan. As we were preparing to board, we noticed a large group of young people dressed in suits and ties, and dresses. They were also wearing name tags with their names in English, as well as something written in Japanese. After getting onboard, we started to talk to some of these outgoing, friendly people, and discovered that they were all Mormon going to Japan to give two years of their life to share their message. Although these young men and women were only 18- 21 years of age, they were committing to sever all ties to family & friends for this two year period. No visits or calls to parents – except for a brief phone call on Christmas and Mother’s Day. They were all so nice and extremely interested in the purpose of our trip and what we were going to do. The most interesting thing they said near the end of the flight was that they really appreciated us being so nice to them…because, in their words, so many people are not.

As we began our descent to the Osaka airport, I looked over a nation of people so different from ours…and yet so very alike. I prayed and asked God to never let other people perceive me to be someone who isn’t nice to them because they aren’t like me. Rather, let me be seen by others as someone who loves them – and, yes, even likes them – regardless of how different they may be from me. Only then, in that kind of caring environment, can I ever hope to have dialogue with them.

In the closing of my prayer, I asked Jesus to help me, in my shared exchange with others, be transparent enough to let Him be seen in me. Lord, throughout this entire trip let my light so shine before men. Amen.

As we got off the plane to start our two weeks of ministry, I could sense that God had His hand on us, and was already opening doors, preparing the way! His presence will make everywhere we step holy ground!


-Geron Davis