A baptism in Japan

Several of us blubbered at her baptism as we sang Kimi Wa Ai Sareru Tame Umareta — a popular song among Japanese Christians about being born to know the love of God — because so many of us have seen S. grow from a squirrely kid to a confident, cheerful young woman.

Her eight-year journey to this point includes an interest in English, regular interactions with patient Christians, walking up a big winding hill from her house to the church, helping with weekly kids’ English classes as an aid, regular discipleship meetings with our pastor’s wife and lots of time with other young people at our church.

I love how many people at our church have been a part of her journey. I love that our boys have known her their whole lives, and that we got to be a part of praying and cheering for her. Her baptism was a special day, indeed.

In Japan, people are considered adults when they turn 20. Even though S. decided to follow Christ in high school, her mother requested that she not be baptised until she became a legal adult, which she did recently. What a special way to celebrate entering adulthood. In a country where only around 1% are believers in Christ, we praise God for her: for her faith, courage, perseverance, and joy. We praise God for his work in her life.  Please pray for S: that her faith would grow in good soil and that she will be salt and light in her family and community.
Baptism is a big deal in Japan; I’m surprised at how Japanese people respond to it. It seems that a lot of people don’t react strongly if they hear about a friend or family member identifying as Christian, but it can be a different story when they hear they want to get baptised. Yet, words are often easier than actions. Saying “I love you” is easier than daily showing sacrificial love. The words “I’m sorry” are easier than changing habitual, hurtful behaviour. Saying “I’m a Christian” doesn’t carry the same weight as participating in a ceremony that communicates you’re dead to your former self and alive with Christ.

Please join us in prayer for Japanese friends who want to follow Jesus but are hesitant to take the step of baptism.

— A SIM mission partner working with a Japanese church.