The following post is taken from Bethanie Frick's blog. Bethanie has been participating in Project Ezra from Japan. Read her blog at betsyfrick.blogspot.com.
Deuteronomy 6 and 1 Corinthians 13
Oh the joy of bringing the Word of God to even one hungry soul! God's patience, faithfulness, and love always astounds me!
Last weekend I was visiting my former pastor and his wife in Fukushima, Japan, which is about a three-hour drive on the tollway from where I live. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to read anywhere, and I was away from Shirone the entire weekend. But on Monday, Pastor took me to Nihonmatsu castle to see the chrysanthemum decorated mannequins, and also the rebuilt foundation of the castle. The castle had been on the top of a very high hill, mountain foothill, perhaps, had a beautiful view and lots of people milling around. Bursting with praise of God, I had a very strong desire to read there, so I stood up on one of the tower foundations and read Deuteronomy 6, that week's reading. It's likely lots of people could hear me; even so, they all just ignored me. But that's alright. Most seeds don't sprout instantly! I continued praising God all the way home.
Today, Monday afternoon, I left a bit earlier aiming to go around to all six parks in Shirone that I've read in before. First I went to Yostugouya Jido Park, the one that has always been the hardest for me to praise in and read in. I found it a bit easier to maintain a heart of praise all the way there today, and while I still encountered some difficulty, it's getting easier to praise and read there, too. I stood to read this time, and this was my third time to read there altogether. The other two times I sat down to read, and I sat in a different place each time, too. It seemed that there were a few people passing by on the street, but otherwise no one was around to hear. I chose to read both Deuteronomy 6 from last week, and 1 Corinthians 13, this week's recommended reading.
Next I went to the "Lions' forest" and Shirone Jido Park, next to the ward office. It has gotten very easy for me to praise there. Today I stood in a different place as well, on the foundation of some kind of water tower that's painted with a child's mural, perhaps done by a school. I read 1 Corinthians 13, and near the middle of the chapter, out of the corner of my eye, I could see someone walking by quite slowly. I suspect they lingered close enough to hear the ending, but not near enough to talk with me afterward.
After that, I went to Minoguchi Park. No one was there when I arrived, so I praise-walked the perimeter and stood on a hill to read this time. Again, I read 1 Corinthians 13, but I found that I struggled a bit, and was even distracted in my thoughts. So, in spite of the encouraging chance to distribute bibles there last time, it's definitely very much a battleground. As I was leaving, I greeted some highschool boys who were just entering the park.
Next I went to Shirone General Park, near the culture center. There were lots of people using the outdoor track, but no one in the park area. After praise-walking, I stood on the stage, and silently prayed for a moment before reading 1 Corinthians 13. I had an overwhelming sense of how much we all need to receive God's love, as well as share it with others.
Still full of praise, next I biked over to Suwanoki Park, next to the nursery school. Again I had the urge to sing Jesus loves me, and although I could greet some of the kids and moms, most were not in the park. There were a couple of older girls, perhaps in elementary school, playing nearby on the swings when I sat down in the same place to start, but they had left by the time I finished. Again there were some boys playing baseball on the field behind the park as well. I read loudly, but I'm not sure if anyone was near enough to hear.
Next I went to Suido Park, which is usually empty, but since it was later than I usually go, there were some elementary age kids playing in the park. Some boys were in one area, and about three girls were sitting in another area. I praise-walked the perimeter as usual, but from the morning rain there was a lot of mud, and I had to carefully watch my step. Then I decided to sit on a bench to read 1 Corinthians 13 rather than stand on my usual hill under a tree. I think they probably could hear me, but they ignored me. I sat there for a few minutes longer, still full of joy in God's word and the privilege of having it and reading it, full of the joy, hope, and faith that comes from receiving God's love. I reminded myself that God's word never returns void, but always accomplishes His purposes. Then I headed home.
On the way home, I passed three kids, a girl in upper elementary, a boy maybe in kindergarten, and a toddler boy who was crying. They appeared to be out for a walk. I stopped and asked the toddler if he was okay, then started to take out my Sunday School bible memory cards to offer him one, but he and his sister continued on in the opposite direction. The other boy was moving on too when I asked him if he wanted one or not. He came over and asked about it, and I explained that it's a bible verse, it's God's word. "Can I have it?" he asked hesitantly, and I said of course, and gave him one. He joyfully took it and ran to catch up with and show his sister. Then I continued home.
"And now I will show you the most excellent way.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
"Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love."
- 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:13 NIV