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A scene from Akagi Kogen Service Area

A scene from Akagi Kogen Service Area

Isezaki City is in Gunma Prefecture and only about 2/3 of the way to Tokyo from my home. I wasn’t in an especial hurry to get there because all that awaited me was to check into a hotel for the night. I had to be in Isezaki in the morning of the next day, February 28, for certain important business. I dislike staying at hotels and rather would stay with friends, but I have no close acquaintances living in that city.

There was relatively little waiting for the first two cars which took me to Sakae Parking on the expressway, but I had to wait nearly two hours for the third driver. In every case, though tiring and taxing on my patience, I find it is worth the wait because God usually sends somebody special. This time it was a kind foreigner, a Russian man by the name of Sasha.

At first I didn’t recognize Sasha as a foreigner and spoke Japanese to him, but he told me in English that he doesn’t speak Japanese and is from Russia. I then greeted him in Russian and he was so happy! I was happy too because I realized he didn’t speak much English, and therefore it gave me a chance to practice speaking again the Russian language that has lain dormant in my mind the past 12 years since living in Russia. I could understand nearly everything he said.

I asked Sasha if he believed in God and he said he is an atheist having been born in Soviet times and was taught atheism. He said he believes the world happened without God. I asked him if he thought his car happened without man, or if he thought the road we were riding on happened without man. I hope I gave him food for thought. Sasha is a very friendly man like most Russians, and our conversation was pleasant the two hours I was with him.

Sasha dropped me off at Komayose Parking area just before Maebashi. Isezaki is about 15 kilometers east of Maebashi. I thought that probably the next car would take me to either Maebashi or Takasaki a bit past Maebashi, and from there I would take a train the rest of the way. But wonder of wonders, 3 young men heading directly to Isesaki picked me up and took me directly to the hotel! Two of them are 24 years old, and one only 22. They really seemed to like me and one of them, Shinpei, invited me over to his house for supper after checking in at the hotel. I accepted and he took me to his apartment. There I met his wife, Tamami. They are still newlyweds being married only 3 months. I had a great time and shared my faith with them and the two other boys, Yuki and Hidenori. Shinpei wants me to visit again someday. I hope I have further business in Isezaki and meet up with them again in the near future.

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About James Arendt

Born in 1950 and raised in Chicago Illinois, USA.
Served in the USAF from 1970 in San Antonio, Texas, Biloxi Mississippi, Sacramento California and Asaka, Japan and honorably discharged in 1974.
Became a full time missionary for Christ and served in Russia, China and Japan for 44 years and counting.
Lives by faith in God's supply with no fixed job or income.
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