Kindling Fire

Yes Rose!! I am united with you in prayer standing firm in faith for these precious souls.

Japan has been like a kindling fire in my heart for quite some time. Meanwhile, I have begun to notice that there are countless Japanese ESL students wandering the streets of Calgary with their fellow Japanese friends and classmates. My heart is to boldly reach out to them in love.

Please pray that I will be an effective witness for Christ to whoever shall cross my path.

Kitano Takeshi: Through the eyes of Jesus

A few years ago the Lord clearly spoke to my heart about a Japanese director named, Kitano “Beat” Takeshi. Seeing Kitano through the eyes of Jesus left me awestruck with a holy hunger to reach out to him. I sensed there was an open door.

Through prayer and encouragement from others, I was able to share the Gospel with him by means of a hand written letter. Whether Kitano ever read the letter or not, I do not know to this very day. What I still see is a man with who is deeply loved by Jesus.

Imagine Kitano’s God given gifts and talents being turned over to Jesus for His glory! Imagine how many hearts would be stirred (by the Holy Spirit) when they see Kitano Takeshi radically transformed, washed and cleansed by the power of the blood of Jesus!

Like Samuel when he answered the call of God – how God could use one person to shake a nation.

I pray Father that Your will be done in Jesus’ name! (by Shane W.)


Who is a hero? The dictionary defines a hero as a person who, “is admired for his achievements or noble character,” or “one that shows great courage.” So it was unusual that I would find such a man living in a blue tent in a park in Tokyo, Japan. The “blue tents” are called that because they are little houses temporarily erected by homeless men as shelters and they usually are covered with blue plastic. Sometimes the city officials will come and chase the homeless men out and the tents will disappear over night, but then again, within days, another blue tent will emerge somewhere else, maybe alongside a river or under a bridge.
One day, I met a quiet homeless man whom I will call Mr. Suzuki. That is not his real name. Like most men who had been homeless for years, Mr. Suzuki was thin and frail looking. It was hard to tell how old he was, but maybe he was in his fifties or sixties. Often, homeless men look much older than their chronological age as they live a tough life -- living outdoors, under bridges, in subway passages, or even just on a park bench during freezing winter nights or even during the typhoon season. Like most men who have been homeless for a long time, Mr. Suzuki looked beaten and like an old pair of shoes, worn out and barely holding together.

Yet, when I began to talk to Mr. Suzuki, despite his very soft voice, which almost seemed to be a whisper, I could see such life in his eyes. His eyes sparkled like those of a happy primary school boy! He looked like a boy looking at a rainbow for the first time, yet also, his eyes looked as wise as a man who has been meditating on a mountaintop for years.

Maybe it was his difficult life experiences which had changed Mr. Suzuki. He had had a family but had lost them. Though he had once had a girlfriend, he had never been married. He had once had a good job in a company but the company had closed due to financial problems. Apparently, Mr. Suzuki had even had a car once, but over time had lost everything and in his shame and disgrace, he had left his parents’ home to disappear into the city’s streets.

Then, as Suzuki put it, he was “found by Jesus.” I suspect that Suzuki didn’t like the term “Christian” and would avoid that term, but he had met a young evangelist who had come to the park to give food to the homeless and who had told the men about the love of God and of the sacrifice Jesus had paid for us. Suzuki said he had been walking through the park and heard there was free food, so he went to get something to eat. But it was more than a rice ball which he found that day.

As Suzuki put it, Jesus touched him somehow that day in the park. Then Suzuki received a Bible and started to read it. He had found that Jesus himself had been poor, had had no money, no place to “lay his head” (which made him truly homeless), and had had no wife or children. Sometimes, Suzuki used to picture Jesus on the cross, an innocent man who had been mistreated, beaten, falsely accused, and who had suffered deeply. Mr. Suzuki decided he would become a modern day follower of that homeless, suffering Jesus, and he began sharing with other men in blue tents about the “hero” named Jesus Christ that he had found.

Then, one day, Suzuki came to talk to me. “I have a very terrible problem!” he said. He spoke so loudly that I was certain that he had committed some terrible crime or that he was maybe dying of cancer or something like that.

“Oh no!” I said.

“Yes, I am in trouble,” Suzuki replied.

“What did you do?”

“I got a job!” Suzuki said.

“Huh?” I replied, confused.

“You know people have been trying to help us find employment? Well, yesterday, after some interviews, I was offered a great job. It pays well.”

“Mr. Suzuki. Pardon me, but I’m missing something. This sounds like good news. We should be celebrating!” I replied.

“No, no. It is bad news. I’ll have to work seven days a week and 10-12 hours each day!” he said.

“Oh, I guess that IS a problem,” I thought, assuming that probably having not worked for so long, Suzuki was not used to hard work and long hours. Maybe he had become even lazy? Well, those long hours might just get him into shape, I thought.

“But you’ll get used to those long hours,” I said, remembering how I often used to work 7 days a week for long hours. “Hey, that is part of life, Mr. Suzuki!”

Mr. Suzuki just looked sad. His eyes were filling with tears.

“You can do it,” I said to him, placing my arm around his shoulder to encourage him. “Cheer up. This is good news!”

He said nothing for a long while. Then he looked up at me with very sad eyes.

“I’m not worried about working long hours,” he said to me trying to be kind despite my misunderstanding him and misjudging him.

“What IS the problem, Mr. Suzuki?”

“If I work all the time, I can’t be here anymore” he said pointing to the blue tent “village” around him.

“Hey, then you can find a flat and have heat during the winter and shelter from the typhoon rains!” I said smiling.

“I don’t want that,” he replied, almost seeming to be angry. “I want to keep helping the new men who come to the streets. They are so lonely, and they don’t know anything. And I want to be able to spend time with my brothers here on the street, to help them find food and a bath once in a while, and to teach them how to build a blue tent house,” he laughed a bit as I think my expression must have seemed funny to him. I was truly shocked.
“That is what Jesus would do, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Uh, I guess so,” I said.

“And these men need to know about how much Jesus loves them and how he was like us and so they can feel that deep love inside their hearts like I do. Right?”

“Sure, Mr. Suzuki,” I said, very shameful for my assumptions about him.

“So, what is a job? Money for me? A place to stay? A future? Is that important? Instead, I need courage to stay on the streets to help others,” he said strongly.

And as I left Mr. Suzuki that day in the cold park, watching him smile as he helped patch up some friend’s blue tent, knowing that he had only had one rice ball to eat that day, as I walked to the subway station heading for my warm flat, my hot shower and my wife’s fine cooking, I knew that I had met my own hero, a blue tent hero. His was a love way beyond what I could even begin to understand. (by Hippo)