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Ayumu’s Journey

Ayumu went on a long journey to meet Jesus.

As a 26-year-old man in Kyushu, Japan, with a speech impediment, Ayumu one day decided to run away from his job and his hometown.?He simply left work and started walking. As he travelled, he found himself heading towards Osaka, which ended up being a journey of over 600 kilometers that took him over a month to complete. To survive, he relied on strangers for food and shelter, strangers who were not put off by his disability.?Even so, it was a long and arduous journey.

When Ayumu finally arrived in Osaka, he found himself in Nishinari’s Triangle Park, where our Roses Church meets outdoors every Wednesday and Sunday. That night, he went to sleep on a park bench, and the next morning he woke up to find himself surrounded by a group of people who were all talking about God.?His first thought was, “Wow, I didn’t know there were still people who believed in God.”??

It was beautiful to see how Ayumu was able to join our group so naturally. Nobody worried about whether he had been drinking, and no one was bothered by his speech impediment or his homeless status. People took turns talking with him and sharing the Gospel. We spent the whole day together and, afterwards, we made sure he had a safe place to stay for the night.?

It was all part of his long journey to meet Jesus.

Over the next month, one of our church members helped him find a more permanent place to live. Ayumu began volunteering at our soup kitchen, and someone there?was able to help him to get a job interview. We watched Jesus transform his life as Ayumu journeyed from having absolutely no interest in God—and no knowledge about Jesus whatsoever—to being baptized.

That journey seemed, in some ways, much longer than the walk from Kyushu. But he was no longer travelling alone, and he made it.

That day when Ayumu first came to Roses Church in the park was beautiful. For me, it felt like watching the Church operate as she was meant to, helping one man’s journey to be full of love. The Bible tells us that God is love. Is it possible that love is more powerful than we think it is? With Ayumu, we are seeing this before our eyes.

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