Good Evening

Kanazawa_Station_smWe had just spent a fun night with good friends and made a few new ones when it was time to head home. As we stood in the street saying our goodbyes, I saw an elderly woman walking by, curiously trying to understand why there were so many young Japanese and internationals in her neighborhood at ten o’clock. As I do with almost everyone whom I run across, I said a simple greeting in my limited yet growing Japanese, “Good evening”. She responded in the same manner and followed by asking us where we were from. After replying, “America”, that was about all it took to start a conversation that would not end for around half an hour.

You may recall that Laura and I knew next to no Japanese when we set foot in the country last September, so to say trying to understand a 86-year-old Japanese woman was difficult would be an understatement. This did not bother her one bit. Through context and a few words here and understanding a few words there, we found out that she had traveled extensively with her now deceased husband around Europe and even to America. As is customary, she gave us gifts, even during this short meeting, pulling out a bag of rice flavoring from a shopping bag that it seemed she had just purchased at a local market. Thinking our evening may be done, we expressed our thanks, until she told us that she wanted to lead us to her shop nearby.

She had not stopped talking since we first introduced ourselves. We were led by this very trusting lady down a small shopping street and were welcomed into her paper shop. Her residence was in the back with the business out front. Immediately she began to pull a few more snacks and a hand made paper horse, created for the year of the horse in the Zodiac calendar. The only thing we had to offer her was my business card, for which she was overjoyed to see a bi-lingual card with the position of “missionary pastor” on it. She shared that her children had attended a Christian high school in town, the same Christian school system in which we teach a weekly club at the university level. She even shared the one sentence she knows in English, the same one we’ve heard from several senior citizens in Japan who memorized it as children, “This is a pen.”

Surprisingly, even at such a later hour she was receiving phone calls. Our friend excitedly shared with callers that she was with a “beautiful American missionary couple.” After asking us to pray for her, being an older woman who continues to outlive friends, we told her that we had to be on our way home.

On the way home, we could not stop smiling about this chance encounter in the street outside the coffee shop, and we prayed that our new friend went to bed that Friday night with a smile on her face also.

All it took was “Good evening.”

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 Feel free to also to check out their website and the Kanazawa International Baptist Church website.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email