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A Living Signpost

“Do you need money?” a passerby asked me. I shook my head with a smile. His was only one of the many questions I had been asked that day, as I stood on a street corner in downtown Osaka, holding up my sign.

Recently God has led me to do evangelism as a living signpost. In Japan, Buddhist monks have a tradition of standing at a busy place in their town or city and chanting, while people passing by stop to give them donations. It is a common enough sight, and so I have been using a similar means of spreading the Good News and starting conversations about Jesus. 

My sign is painted in calligraphy on Japanese washi paper. It asks the question, “Is Jesus Christ a foreigner?” I do this, hoping that the question will provoke meaningful interactions. In Japan, there can be a pronounced aversion to foreigners, and certainly the sight of me – a white foreigner standing in the street holding up a sign – has provoked stares. 

Why am I doing this? I have often imagined Jesus stretching out his hand toward me with that “Let’s go have an adventure!” look in his eye, asking me to step out on the water and take a risk. And so, sensing that Jesus was challenging me to spread my net wider and evangelize in this unorthodox way, I had a sign painted and took up my post on the streets of Osaka. Needless to say, this activity has led to a wide variety of reactions. I have been offered money, bowed to, photographed, posted online, and a few have actually referred to me as Jesus Christ. Perhaps they thought that was my name!

Risk is never easy. When we sense Jesus asking us to do something outside of our comfort zone, there are thoughts like “But surely Jesus wouldn’t ask me to do that!” These thoughts are like soldiers defending our safety, our opinions and our worldview. We must get past them in order to make a decision. 

I said yes. Will you?

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