The Land of the Rising Sun

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Japan. Land of the Rising Sun. So-called because the island nation lies east of the Asian mainland, giving the appearance to other Asian countries that the sun, indeed, rises in Japan. At least as far back as the year 607, official Japanese correspondence to China begins with the greeting “from the Emperor of the rising sun,” hence the Japanese call their country Nippon or Nihon (“the origin of the Sun”).1

I recently spoke with a pastor friend who has an extraordinary place in his heart for Japan. He was born there and spent several years living in the country. He brought Psalm 113:3 to my attention in a new light: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”

While the writer of this passage was likely not prophesying of Japan, this passage really does fit from a mission’s point of view. The sun plays a significant role in many world religions. The devil has twisted the focus away from the Creator to the creation. We know that the devil cannot do anything without the Lord allowing it to happen. Could it be that even in the twisted view of the devil, God still provided a bridge for people to come back to worship the true Son?

I now supervise the Japan project, launched in November 2023. Michael and Caitlyn Babienco have immersed themselves in language learning, and God has blessed them abundantly, as you may have read in some of their articles.

While I visited the project in April, I was able to experience this amazing country, unlike any other to which I have traveled. Geographically, there are places around the world to which it could be compared, but there seems to be something special about Japan — a rare sense of respect for people and the land.

As I walked around the city of Yokohama, I was in need of a trash can. It seemed that no matter how long I walked, I could not find one, yet the country was spotless. I finally concluded that if I could find a public restroom, I would likely find a trash can. I was right. One reason Japan is so clean is that, from an early age, children are taught to clean up after themselves, even in schools, where doing so is one of their duties; janitors do not clean up after them. Children are also taught the importance of taking care of what they own or possess.

It appears that the people of Buddhist, Shinto and some Catholic backgrounds have been taught from an early age some fundamental principles for living clean and upright lives. Could it be that God has made provisions along the way for people who do not know the true God to recognize aspects of His influence in their lives and culture through the way they were raised?

Please join us in continuing to pray for the people of Japan. Pray that the Son of righteousness would rise in their hearts and that they would be set free from their spiritual darkness. Thank you very much for your prayers and financial support that allows me to continue working with the projects God has called me to supervise.