Testimony: Finding God’s Love in Japan
By: Rebekah Lambert
Japan. At first, the concept was, quite literally, foreign. I hadn’t thought much about the culture of Japan, much less traveling there. However, as I grew up and began to experience more and more of God’s goodness in my life, particularly in high school, I began to realize that I wanted to share that goodness with others.
As a budding musician, I know that my career will involve travel around the world and interaction with people with different views and religions and cultures than I have. Learning to communicate with other people is a skill that I need to learn. Traveling to Japan gave me the confidence, the experience, and the love I will need to be successful as a God-honoring pianist.
Having my grandparents with me allowed me to see a different side of Japan than I would have seen going with my youth group or with people closer to my own age. Instead of seeing the modern Japan and interacting more with kids and teenagers, I got to experience more of a family environment. I saw the effect of teaching kids and watching them teach their parents, and teaching parents and seeing them guide their kids in God’s Word. Because I was placed in such a diverse environment, I am becoming prepared to minister to people of all ages.
While in Japan, I met so many amazing people, and I got to spend time with friends of mine, the Horiis. Hanna and Ruth joined my family in Texas four years ago. We got to know them and taught them about life in Texas, and when they left, we gave them the promise of coming to see them soon. In September of 2014, I was able to follow up on that promise, and I spent four days with them at their house in Japan.
Hanna and Ruth took me to Harajuku, Shibuya, and many other cities across Japan to experience their own culture. We met their friends, I learned a little Japanese, and I had some of the best food I’ve ever had. But most importantly, I was able to experience two different church services, both very different from what I experience at home. The first was held in the home of a family friend, and the service included about eight teenagers, four adults, and three kids under the age of twelve. We sang, played games, and heard a message from one of the adults about how God had turned his heart from selfishness and greed into a heart of love and charity, which was followed shortly by the opening of a student ministry. The second service, a much larger service targeted at adults, was a very spirit-filled and moving experience. Not only did I have the amazing privilege of giving my first concert, I was amazed at the openness of the adults and their closeness to God.
Neither of these services were anything close to what I experienced, and continue to experience at home. In my church, people are polite, people don’t like over-doing things, and if you are disruptive in the service, you get strange looks and people begin to whisper behind your back. In Japan, I saw the same raw belief, emotion, and love in every environment I was in.
Having grown up in a Christian family, I was raised in the Word and I have already seen the love that accompanies God’s Word. However, I also recognize that that love has not been shared with everyone. It is my duty, as well as my passion, to share God’s love and His plan for all of us around the world while sharing my love for music with them.