Robert & Roberta Adair

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I shared about this briefly on our adairupdate fb page but thought I’d expand the story here. In our last newsletter, I wrote:

Other friends…have gotten more and more comfortable with the church community. They are beginning to feel less like okyakusan (guest) and more like kazoku (family). Please pray that these friends would transition to being fully adopted sons and daughters by putting their faith in Christ.

Then, after our small group on Sunday (emphasis on small as it was a pretty low turnout), I was washing dishes with one dude I referenced in our letter. As I had recently written that paragraph, I thought I’d share the sentiment with our uber-artsy friend. As my Japanese skills have gotten a little rusty over the last few months (yikes), I spoke extra-awkwardly and stumbly, but I think he understood the gist of what I was trying to say.

IMG_4539“I’m so glad you’re a part of our group. We like it when you come. Before, you felt like a guest, but now you really feel like one of us. But it makes me sad that you’re not my true brother and I’m not your true sister. We act like family, but you need Jesus to be true family.”

(“…I’m sorry that I’m speaking so directly. I wish I had the language to speak more softly, but because I don’t speak better…” “That’s okay. I understand your heart.”)

“One of my favorite verses is when a scared father asks Jesus to help him with his unbelief. I have weak faith – and I’m a “missionary.” It’s kind of my job to have faith. So I pray this often. Help my unbelief. Help me overcome my unbelief (Mark 9:24). It’s okay to not understand everything. None of us does. But we ask Jesus to help us, lead us, and give us his strength.

(“…Is this making sense? Am I sounding crazy? Am I being too direct?” “I understand what you’re saying.”)

“All of us want you to believe in Jesus. We pray for you.  I believe that you will someday be my brother. I will continue to pray for you…”

Then we went into the living room, and two friends who know him well were still around. I – awkwardly, bumbly – asked them if we could pray for our friend. I asked him, too, but (oops) only after I asked them. I then asked if we could lay hands on him and pray; believing that our hands symbolize the touch of Christ, of the Father, and of the Spirit. The 3 of us prayed.

When we finished, I asked if he would like to pray.  He said he did but didn’t like to pray out loud – that he preferred to pray in his heart. Cool. As one who prays more with grunts and sighs and sounds than with eloquence, I get that. Then he warmly thanked us for our concern and our prayers.  He seemed genuinely touched. (I use that word deliberately :).

I think it was good, and I want to believe that this friend will become a brother soon.  It’s a spiritual battle with a lot going on in his family that makes it very difficult for him.  Please pray for him and for our community to know how to encourage and challenge him.  Pray for us to know when to speak, when to listen, when to wait…and, gollllly, for the spiritual and language skills to do all three.

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