I love curry. Indian and Nepalese cooking has a unique flavor that appeals to me… It’s close to the top of my list of favorite foods. We recently found out that some of the population around our Aganai Lutheran Church in Tokyo, Japan also share that same taste. Several curry restaurants have been popping up near the church with chefs and workers from Nepal.
When Aganai’s pastor, Pastor Nakamoto-sensei, went to pick up his curry take-out one day, he invited the Nepalese staff to come visit church. Coming to a Lutheran church is a big step for someone who grew up in a country where over 80% are Hindu. One of the Nepal workers stopped by Aganai Lutheran Church while a Kingdom Worker, Dave Reineman, was attending a Japanese language lesson taught by a local church member… That caught the interest of the man from Nepal. He wanted to learn Japanese too, so he could communicate better with his customers. He started coming to the classes, and he brought the curry restaurant owner too. Seeing this, Pastor Nakamoto decided to start classes with a prayer and then a devotion, which eventually moved into using the postcard sized ChristLight lessons developed by Multi-Language Publications (MLP) in Japan. It became an opportunity to tell the stories of the Bible in simple Japanese.
How would they be able to dig deeper into the Word if they only are just learning basic Japanese? How could these restaurant workers study the Bible on their own? Kaori-san, our MLP-Japan translator, inquired about what MLP might have to offer.
Transport yourself to the other end of the Asian world – to the country of Nepal. In Nepal, thousands are hearing God’s Word. We have translated most of the Bible Teaching Series booklets that are currently available from MLP. Those booklets in Nepali have been a key resource in reaching people throughout the Himalayas and Western Nepal. Some leaders travel for many days down the mountains, just to get to classes or pick up books to bring back to their groups.
Back to what is happening in Japan…
What a blessing that the resources developed for the difficult living conditions of Nepal are now able to have an impact in the advanced city of Tokyo! These Nepalese people that are now living in Tokyo, Japan can still read the Gospel message in their native Nepali language.
That scenario isn’t unique to Japan. Society today is much more mobile – with travel, work, and digital communication. We are finding many opportunities to reach global mission fields in a new way. Hmong people in Vietnam are now benefiting from the MLP-supported translations that began with the Hmong ministries in the USA. The same is true of the connections to the Nuer tribe in Sudan – their first contacts with us came through a church near them in America, and they are now developing material through MLP to reach out to people in their home country of Sudan.
What a great blessing it is to have resources in 53 languages available to share! Remember, even your neighbors can benefit from these resources. Think about any new, non-English families that have moved into your area – how will you share the gospel with them in a meaningful way to them? I encourage you to consider what resources MLP has in their native languages.
Let them taste and see that the Lord is good – it’s much better than curry.
By: David Kehl, Multi-Language Publications – Asia Coordinator
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