Serving in Japan: Reality
Our two cell groups gathered together, we all listened in silence as a new believer from the other group shared some heartbreaking news.
A thin middle-aged man with glasses, he spoke in a low, slow and steady way as he shared that his high-school-aged daughter’s friend had committed suicide that week. As he shared, he mourned the early loss of life. Why did she have to die? Why couldn’t he have said something to her sooner? He didn’t get the chance to tell her about Jesus.
With tears in his eyes, and tears brimming the eyes of everyone sitting in the room, he looked up for the first time at his cell group leader.
Do you think it’s possible that she could go to heaven? She never had the chance to hear about Jesus.
Our hearts lurched. This is the reality in Japan. People are dying without hope everyday. People who have never had the chance to hear about the love of Christ. There was no one to tell her.
A common topic we ourselves have been asked recently is about the loved ones of new believers who passed without the opportunity to hear about Jesus. Can you imagine the hurt we hear in their voices because their mom or grandparents never had the chance to hear the message of grace, forgiveness and hope that they have had?
They ask us, with pleading eyes, begging eyes almost, to tell them that their loved ones are not in that lake of fire they’ve heard about.
It’s a hard question. These are sobering moments. And the only thing we can do as we share that grief with them is to reflect on the character of God and the justness of Him who loved and created each one of their loved ones. Perhaps the Lord met them in a special way before they passed- we will never know. But we do know that we can trust God and that His decisions are always right.
Recently learning about the realities of a place called hell, one new believer my husband knows well said, “It is absolutely necessary that we tell the Japanese about Jesus. We must spread the teaching of the Bible.”
And with many perishing at so young an age, we must tell them soon.
"For 'Everyone who calls upon the name of the LORD will be saved.' But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?" Romans 10:13-15a
by Janine Alvarado, Missionary to Japan