When last we talked of Theo, we and Higa sensei had invited him to a gospel concert at our church. Theo did indeed end up coming to that concert. It was pretty thrilling, because the themes of the songs and message were exactly the same as those that had been coming up in our personal conversations with Theo. We were so excited to realize that now he was hearing the same things that we’d been saying to him, in better Japanese than we could offer. Talk about reinforcement!
The following month, Theo wanted to go to a different restaurant and bar for dinner. This place is run by a couple (Trent and Tina) with whom he’s been friends for more than 30 years. The atmosphere was much more relaxed, and we got the sense that we were now being invited into Theo’s inner sanctum. We were seeing more of the “man behind the mask”, so to speak.
There were no customers in the shop that day, so we enjoyed a leisurely meal, chatting with Theo and his friends. At one point, they started talking about how difficult it is to live a good life.
“It’s impossible!” I said. “That’s what I love about Jesus. We don’t have to try to reach an impossible goal. We only have to trust in His forgiveness and love for us.”
“My sister is a Christian,” Tina smiled and nodded. “I have heard about this.”
The others asked questions, and I would answer, sometimes assisted by Tina.
At the end of the visit, Trent gave Peter a big hug. Men virtually never hug here (unless drunk or watching sports), so this was a huge deal. “I’m so happy to meet you,” he said.
The next time that we came to the shop, Trent approached us with a card in hand. “The mother of my friend now owns a sushi shop in Toronto. Can you please go there and give this message to her?”
We took down Toronto shop owner’s information, and look forward to meeting her. Okinawans are a close-knit community no matter where they are in the world, and we’re excited to see what comes of our encounter with this lady in Canada.
At the end of our last meeting, Theo’s face turned serious. “You will be leaving for Canada soon. I want to see you again before you leave. Can you come to my house for dinner?”
Dinner! I thought. Wow, that’s such an honour.
We’ve been to exactly two friends’ houses for meals.
Theo continued. “I will invite Trent and Tina, and maybe you can invite Higa sensei and his wife. I would like my friends to meet Higa sensei.
What an amazing opportunity to leave behind new Christian connections for our friends. We hope they’ll be very fruitful while we’re back in Canada.