Circle of Faith

A few months ago, we met a woman in her fifties from a neighboring prefecture who had come to visit Kanazawa Baptist Church, where we worship and work. We learned from our pastor that this woman’s father was a longtime church member, but had been in and out of the hospital and was nearing death. This obviously was weighing heavy upon our visitor, the only non-Christian among four sisters, and caused her to begin looking for something more. Laura and I each have had the pleasure of spending time with her in recent weeks as she has continued to visit.

Just before a worship service one month ago, in which Laura was to preach, our pastor shared with her that he thought that this woman was prepared to make a profession of faith. He thought that it could that very day and he wanted Laura to pray for her at the pulpit should she make the decision. Laura gave a wonderful message that day after which this sister came forward in tears to accept Christ. The pastor joined her in crying as she came forward. Laura supported her proudly in offering words of thanks and praise from the pulpit in prayer.

I sat in my seat wiping away tears, not fully knowing her situation, but understanding what a journey it must have been for her and imagining what lay ahead. In a country where less than 2% of the population professes Christian faith, she was a member of a family in which all had done so before her. She was experiencing the pain of the oncoming death of her father, a man whom she deeply loved. She also was preparing to re-enter a culture that often does not understand the faith she now proclaims as her own.

Two Sundays ago, our new friend and fellow follower of Christ entered into the waters of baptism. It is a sight that is not often seen in our church of some 30 members and a regular Sunday worship crowd of around 45. As part of the baptism process, the new Christian gives testimony to his or her faith at Kanazawa Baptist Church. In her message to the congregation, Laura was even mentioned as part of her faith decision. I’ve never taken a baptism service for granted, but they become all the more precious when they so rarely occur, especially when you play a small role in the process of being the hands and feet of Christ to a new member of the body.

Just two days after this momentous baptism occasion, her father passed away. A man who had run the race of faith and inspired his family to follow ended his journey on earth. Last week, we attended the funeral for this church member whom we had never met, but loved and celebrated all the same because of the impact that he had on his family and others. We learned about how joyful he had been at his death upon his daughter’s decision of faith and baptism.

What challenging circumstances. What amazing timing. What a beautiful circle of faith.

Carson_Laura_Foushee_c_sm_for webCarson and Laura Foushee are Cooperative Baptist Field Personnel living in Kanazawa, Japan. Both natives of North Carolina, Carson and Laura met at McAfee School of Theology after graduating from Elon University (Carson) and N.C. State University (Laura). Carson’s passion for global missions and Laura’s passion for the local church have blended together as they serve in Japan through English language education and through Kanazawa Baptist Church as co-pastors of its international congregation.

They can be reached by email at clfoushee@thefellowship.info. Feel free to also to check out their website and the Kanazawa International Baptist Church website.

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