Amy's first winter in Japan was bitterly cold. The trip had been difficult, but God had brought her safely to her first assignment as a missionary. Living with other English speaking missionaries, she ate food imported from England and dressed in a warm fur coat and gloves which drew much attention.
When Amy told an older woman about Jesus, she noticed that she was staring at her clothes. Right then, Amy decided to dress like the Japanese and eat their food.
"Amy quickly discovered that Japanese people in the streets took almost no notice of her when she was wearing a kimono. What a relief it was to be able to go out and not be stared at by everyone. One afternoon, Amy went out for a walk by herself. She had learned enough Japanese to be able to carry on short conversations. ...
"After walking for a while, she stopped. . . to talk to a small girl about five years old. Amy asked her if she knew about God and that He loved her. The little girl nodded excitedly. 'Yes,' she replied. 'I’m going to the magic lantern picture show tonight. That is where the foreigners will show their God.
"The little girl smiled as she skipped off down the street. Amy gazed after her, trying to grasp what she’d just heard. Buddhism is a religion of many gods and many statues of gods. Buddhists often believe the statue itself is a god and not just an image of a god. Amy wondered whether the small girl thought the pictures of Jesus many missionaries used were actually God....
"Amy walked home slowly, troubled by what the little girl had said. How could she make Japanese people understand that a picture of Jesus was not a god and contained no magical powers. It was just a picture and could not talk to them or love them." 77-78
To make sure no Japanese seekers would misunderstand the true nature of God, she stopped using pictures to share the gospel. Instead she trusted God's Word and the Holy Spirit to bring faith and understanding. Soon many of Buddhists she met were trusting in Jesus. Other missionaries were amazed.
Sure enough, the silk weaver who had become a Christian four weeks before had shared her new faith with a coworker, who also wanted to become a Christian. Later in the day, Amy talked to an old woman who wanted to become a Christian, too. It was amazing. The Christian population of Hirose had gone from nine to twelve in only a month. Of course, the local Christians were excited and wanted Amy to come back again soon.
Two weeks later, Amy was back. This time she felt that God had promised four converts during her trip. On her arrival, Amy held the same type of meeting she’d held on her previous two visits, but this time there was hardly anyone there to listen. The weather was too cold for most people to come out to a meeting. Still, Amy believed there would be four new Christians in Hirose before she left. She simply had to find who they were. 81
Many Christians believe that they will be more successful if they don't offend anyone. They think they can bring more people to Jesus if they just talk about His love. So they ignore some of God's teaching and approve what He calls sin.
After all, one reason why so many reject God's saving message is because they don't want to do what God says. They would rather follow their feelings than God's Word. They don't want to talk about His holy standard, which gets in the way of doing what people want. Amy faced that same conflict:
"...the other Christians in town were thinking that Amy had put off Buddhists from becoming Christians on her previous visit by making the gospel too difficult. Amy had told the silk weavers who had become Christians to burn their idols. The other Christians believed that Amy did not understand their culture and that there was nothing wrong with a Christian also having idols in the house. The idols didn’t do any harm... 81
Amy couldn't agree. She happily dressed in Japanese clothes and ate their food, but she couldn't do what God said was wrong.
The Japanese Christians sighed. Now no one would be interested in what Amy had to say. Still, halfheartedly, they supported her meetings. But as they had thought, no one present seemed interested in the message that Amy came to share. Everyone sat and stared blankly at Amy....
Just as she was beginning to get discouraged, the room went completely silent, and then a voice spoke. It was the voice of a woman seated in the corner by the door. “I want to believe,” she said.
Amy dismissed the meeting and began talking to the woman. When the woman’s son came into the room, instead of interrupting, he stood and listened. By the time Amy had finished talking to his mother, the son too was ready to become a Christian. Amy was thrilled. A mother and a son would be able to support each other in their new faith. Amy introduced them to the other Japanese Christians before setting off back to her room for the night. 82
On the way there, she and Misaki San stopped to tell one of the local Christians who had not been at the meeting the good news. When they entered the man’s house, he looked relieved. “I am I so glad you came,” he said. “I have a guest here who wants to know how to find the way to God.” 82-83
Any told the guest about Jesus and the cross, and he believed. Early the next morning, someone knocked on Amy's door. Another person wanted to hear the gospel. Just as God had shown her, He had used her to bring four precious people into His Kingdom. All she did was tell about Jesus and His wonderful Truth. The Holy Spirit did the rest! Nothing could be more exciting!
"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
Amy Carmichael - Rescuer of Precious Gems -- Part 1