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18 April 2023

“You made my day!”


Matt Lim and his wife Jen are CMS missionaries serving in Japan in student ministry. At a camp at the end of last year Matt had an unexpected conversation with a young believer. Although he felt very unprepared, as he reflects here, God was powerfully at work to encourage them both.  

A version of this story first appeared here on Eternity News on 26 January 2023. 

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

After a slow start, we were about halfway through the camp and I, as well as the students, started to settle in and warm up to conversations. One night after ‘Gospel Time’—an hour of praise, prayer and a message—came ‘Talking Together Time’, when students were encouraged to find another student or leader to talk about the previous session, camp… or anything on their heart really.  

I must admit, when I first saw this on the program I automatically thought this would become ‘free time’ for me, as I just assumed the students would end up pairing up with their friends or a Japanese leader. God had other plans. 

A student stopped me as I was about to leave the room and asked if I had a ‘talk time’ partner (all in Japanese, of course). I was shocked, but after I replied, “No”, he asked if I would like to chat with him.  

Out of my depth 

He got straight into sharing about his recent baptism and the joy of that celebration, but also lingering doubts about God’s presence in his life and other deep matters of faith. As my brain frantically processed all the Japanese, my initial reaction was panic. I felt so out of my depth, and was unsure how I would address his issues and questions.  

Pauses and silences seemed to go on forever. Yet by God’s grace, and through his Spirit, I was able to come up with a response, and somehow talk about some of the big issues that he raised. I doubted myself at many points before, during, and after the conversation, but he seemed genuinely interested and pleased with our discussion. I was surprised (and pleased!) by how the conversation eventually flowed, and how quickly our time seemed to pass. 

I told him that he had “made my day” through this wonderful conversation, which led to an attempt to explain what that phrase meant, because Google Translate did not convey the nuance! After he understood what it meant, and we parted ways, he said to me, “You made my day!” and my heart just burst with joy. 


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Praise God for his work in the life of this student, and pray that he and others like him would continue to be established in their faith through the ministry of Matt, Jen and others in Japan.