Merry Christmas from the Lockwoods!
Thank you for your partnership with us in introducing international students to Jesus at the University of Oregon and other schools in Eugene. Your prayers grant us favor and open hearts.
Friendship and hospitality are important to ministry. For us this involves being tour guides of America and its culture. Last month, for example, I (Dan) led a seminar for international students on the rules of American football. Thanksgiving was another great opportunity. By serving as friendly insiders of our culture and customs, trust is built, and God works even in ways we can’t see. This was an epiphany for me since as far back as 1999.
In 1999 I arrived in Osaka, ready for a year of campus ministry. Upon arrival, however, I learned my team was planning to take students on a U.S. homestay program. I was reluctant at first (I had just raised a ton of money to live and minister in Japan, after all!), and skeptical. But that program ended up being powerfully used by God. Students became more open to the gospel from that one week than from months of conversations, Bible studies and other Christian-sponsored events in Japan! I actually count two ‘epiphanies’ from that time, based on students’ testimonies. One is the power of loving, Christian families. The second is a Christian worldview; though we lament and fixate on increasing wickedness, and though it seem fleeting, our culture nevertheless retains elements of a Christian worldview. These two things help make the gospel more concrete, plausible, relevant, and attractive, connecting the dots for outsiders, who sometimes see them better than we do.
I recently received this note from Yuji, who was a student in Japan at that time (though he didn’t attend that U.S. homestay program): “Hello Dan, this is Yuji from Osaka! How are you today there in the states? I’ve got baptized today, on December 11th, at Life Church in Osaka and it has bee a long journey for me since I was evangelized by you and the Stint members in 1999-2000.”
Thank you, again, for your partnership and prayers, that the Lord would inspire, empower and sustain all our efforts to make him known. Immanuel!
Dan, Toshiko, Elayna, Malaya, Eli & Evan