Dear Internet Family and Friends,
God bless you! We pray that you are full of the grace, peace, and rest of God! What a joy to report on our recent trip to Japan and Korea. By the grace and mercy of God, I have just had the awesome privilege of carrying the cross with my good friend, Ken Janke in Japan, then in Korea.
In Japan we began carrying the cross just outside of Tokyo, then we walked with the cross to the top of Mount Fuji. From there we carried the cross on into Hiroshima, in southern Japan. I felt such burden for our world as I walked with the cross into “Peace Memorial Park” in this city that became the world’s first atomic bomb target on that terrible instant on 6 August 1945. I was filled with emotion as I thought of the nations at war that I have walked through. I couldn’t help but remember the suffering I have seen, and the cries I have heard as I have walked through the different nations at war. Though this park was built as a memorial and a reminder, nations and people continue to fight around our world. How God’s heart must grieve at the hurt and destruction that people inflict upon one another. How He must long for His dream of “peace on earth and goodwill toward men” to come to pass. Oh, that people around the world would commit their lives to the Prince of Peace. That they would know the peace that Jesus made through the blood of His cross – a peace that goes beyond our understanding!
We truly experienced the beauty and favor of God as we were openly welcomed and received. The people of Japan were lovely to us. They were very kind, friendly, open and gracious! Many stopped to talk, smile, weep and pray. We had the joy of meeting and praying with many who truly wanted to become followers of Jesus.
While there, we also had the privilege of speaking in a number of churches, as well. It was a real honor to be with my good friend, Noriyuki who is now pastoring in Myoshi, just north of Hiroshima.
From Japan, we left to carry the cross in South Korea. Wow! What a time to be in South Korea! The nations of South Korea and North Korea have been at war for 50 years. We arrived just before the the historic “Reunification Talks” between North and South Korea. As the two nations were holding their collective breath in hopes for understanding and reunification we had the awesome privilege of carrying the cross on their “Freedom 1 Highway” that goes from the South to the North. It was built for the day when the people are reunited. We carried the cross right up to, and along the (DMZ) which presently separates the South from the North. Can you imagine it?! A large wooden cross in this place of tension! Incredible!
Pray for wisdom for the leaders on both sides, and for those who carry out actions in their name. Pray that the voices wanting to give peace a chance and those willing to set aside old grievances would drown out those pressing for retaliation and the settling of old scores. Pray that the Prince of Peace would reign in the hearts and minds of the people of this divided land.
As we carried the cross, we had the beautiful privilege of explaining how God desires for all people everywhere to be reconciled to Himself and to love one another. We were able to explain that just as the North and South of Korea have been separated from one another, we are all separated from God by our sin. Just as God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, He has committed us to the ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors for Christ.
As in Japan, we also had the privilege of speaking in a number of churches. These were memorable and precious experiences. The Korean people have been blessed with such hearts of prayer. The beauty of their hearts reaching out to God in prayer, praise and worship was truly a beautiful experience. Yet, as usual, for me, it seemed that God’s glory was most clearly seen in the streets and along the roadsides. Usually, it was only one person or one car at a time. Yet, the response of the people was deep and heartfelt. I will never forget one day near the DMZ. As we carried the cross the ground began to rumble as many, many South Korean tanks approached us on the opposite side of the road. I was deeply moved as they passed us and each of the troops turned and stood atop their tank and saluted us and the cross! At the cross there is hope! There is peace!
View pictures from this trip.
God Bless You!!