Hope for the Weary in Japan

. 2 min read

UMPIG-Julian Christmas gathering

By Devorah Umpig-Julian
But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind, and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous (the just, the upright). – John 14:13-14 (The Amplified Bible)
Over the past year, I’ve been praying for some new directions in my personal walk with God. For months, as I engaged in my regular routines, I felt a vague restlessness, coupled with the disturbing question, “Why is life so monotonous?” No matter what I tried, I always felt like something was missing, and eventually it felt like I had nothing more to give. Loudly and often I voiced this to the Lord.
God, with a divine sense of humor, responded by shaking things up and helping me engage in a new way. At times, I look up, smile and say: “I know that was you, God! Thank you!”
When I asked God to open new directions for me, God literally changed my location, and our family had to move. I had no idea God would be so wonderfully radical or so kindly ruthless.
Weeks after we moved, hunger for God’s word became my classroom as God began changing more of the inner world of my heart. I shared these experiences with friends and others for encouragement.
God puts new people in my life because I have a role to play in theirs. Take, for example Jai*, a 36-year-old single lady and rookie graduate student from Vietnam. She has no relatives in Japan and she felt isolated. Student life was tough on her. In fact, she contemplated suicide. She planned to overdose with medicines, but God had other plans for Jai. When she went to the pharmacy to buy drugs, the pharmacy was closed!
A friend invited her to come to our house for Christmas fellowship. That night, she heard the biblical story of Christmas for the first time. She listened to our songs, prayers and sharing and enjoyed the food. She met new friends. Little did she know that God was speaking to her already.