What does the number 2 mean to you? Go ahead and answer. I’ll wait for you.
Some think of the number 2 simply as the number that follows 1, or the very definition of a couple. For others, they may say 2 is the best number (which is outrageous because everyone knows that 42 is the best number). 2 might be the number of kids some might have, or the number of pets. 2 could be the number of the floor you work on in your building, or cars in your driveway. For me, 2 means something different all together. 2 out of 100 (or 2%) of people in Japan know and follow Jesus.
To put that into perspective, lets imagine the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon home of the Portland Trailblazers. The seating capacity in the Moda Center is 20,500 people.
Imagine all the lights are off, all the doors are closed so it is pitch black. I mean so dark, you literally can not see your hand in front of your face.
Imagine every seat is filled and it is dark. 410 random people are given a birthday candle and they are trying to share the light. However, the other 20,090 people were born in darkness, raised in darkness and live in darkness. They don’t even understand what light is, much less why they need it. That is what it is like to be a Christian in Japan sharing the gospel.
When I was in high school, I spent a year in Japan as an exchange student with the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. It was a terrific year. I learned a ton about myself, Japanese culture and society, other cultures (with the other exchange students), and even gained some new insights into American culture.
One thing that will always stick with me is the hopeless of the Japanese people. Japan is a very economically prosperous country, but is spiritually bankrupt. It rates at the third strongest economy in the world, yet it holds the 17th highest suicide rate. Suicide is the #1 cause of death for me between the ages of 20 and 44. Though I could not find current numbers on teen suicide rates it is abnormally high for a country of its economic standing. More teens commit suicide on September 1 than any other day of they year. The school year starts in March, but they still have a decent summer break as we do. As they go through the first part of the school year, many students are faced with bullying, taunting and other social pressures. After a summer free from all this, some students are thinking about how difficult it is to go back and face it all again. Some decide not to.
The beautiful part of all this is the fact that Jesus brings hope. God’s love and hope in Him is stronger than depression, social pressures, or anything else anyone can face. When light and darkness face off, light wins every time.
2% is simply a number that I can not live with. Will you help us get to Japan to share the light of Jesus Christ with people who are so unfamiliar with Jesus, that they don’t even know why Americans (and others) celebrate Christmas?
We are looking for 500 people who will pray with us to reach Japan. You can commit to pray by clicking here, then scroll down to click on the prayer commitment.