Moriel's Mission Trip
Note: This is the report we received from missionary Scott Noble
Trip to Japan
At the end of March the four of us flew to the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan. Isaiah stayed with our friend there to study the Bible, and Khae, Micah and I traveled to the southern island of Kyushu to meet some friends and have an evangelistic meeting. We brought 140 of my newly translated book Buddhism Deciphered (the English of this is available on the moriel.org website). Parts of the book were translated into Japanese by a man in Kyushu. But, our friend in Hokkaido reviewed and edited the entire book very thoroughly, taking one year to do this, to clearly state that Buddhism is false and unreliable, and that we can only find salvation through Jesus Christ; the Bible and the gospels about Jesus’ life being historically and prophetically confirmed as opposed to the many myths and very late additions in the Buddhist record, which are not worthy of our trust.
The Buddhist philosophy leads to emptiness and myths and finally to hell; the Bible leads us to the truth, that we may find fullness and salvation through Jesus Christ-- that we may go to heaven, by His shed blood on the cross on our behalf, and by the power of His resurrection on the third day, not by our goodness, but by His goodness.
This book was the result of about twenty years of research. I didn’t work on it full-time for twenty years, but off and on, and it is a summary of stacks and stacks of scholarly books and articles. I estimate that I’ve read at least 20,000 pages of Buddhist materials. I don’t recommend that, since it’s like a chemist handling poison. During that same period, I estimate that I’ve read double that amount in Christian biographies, and the Bible and other Christian books, to keep my focus on the truth. Even my opponents say that I’ve used very good Buddhist sources, though they would disagree with my conclusions. Their conclusion to stick with Buddhism is not based on objective evidence though, but perhaps more based on mystical attachment to experiences felt during meditation, which are very subjective, or an emotional attachment to the Buddhist philosophy in spite of it leading in the wrong direction, sort of like the Chinese emperor who took mercury pills thinking it would increase his lifespan.
Comparing our decisions to a train, truth needs to be the engine that leads the train, and emotions follow. When emotions are put in the lead, falsehood will often be what follows that train. We see the evidence for Jesus and the Bible, and regardless of our feelings, need to make a choice to put our faith in Jesus and the Bible, forsaking emotional attachments to false things.
Meetings in Kyushu
I was encouraged to see that about twenty people come to the specially rented meeting room in Kumamoto. About half of those attending were unbelievers, so it was a good time to encourage the believers and share the gospel with the unbelievers. I presented two power points—one on Chinese History in Light of the Bible (showing Buddhism to be false and unreliable, as opposed to Jesus who has both historical and prophetic credentials to be our Savior); and one on God’s Amazing Birds, showing the wonders of God’s high-tech creation and sharing the gospel through this also. Everyone received a free copy of my book, and some people took more than one copy to share with others.
The next day I had the opportunity to share a message with a small church in Yamaga. I gave an overview of the gospel of Matthew and the connections of Matthew to Chronicles and the Pentateuch. This message and the messages the previous day were translated by our friend, who really translated well.
During this trip we had a chance to meet our Japanese Christian friends in Kumamoto. We had a good time with them. And we met a friend who came to visit from Okinawa, who I taught with in Thailand 25 years ago. She’s an unbeliever, but was very open to listening as we shared the gospel with her and gave her some books.
Biking and Sharing the Gospel
We visited other cities and rented bicycles, biking 53 kms one day and 84 kms the next day. Many times when we got lost while biking, it was for a purpose. One time we were biking around trying to find some dinner, and get back to our homestay. We got pretty lost, but in getting “lost” found a temple with a tour bus, and from that tour bus we found one middle aged woman who received my book, saying she likes to study English; and then later in biking along on a very indirect route back to our homestay we found a different temple and I gave my book to a monk there. In a different city we also gave a monk my book, as well as to two people on trains who I noticed liked reading books. Three churches received some of my books also to give to believers to read, and some of them will give these to unbelievers also.
Throughout the trip we also handed out many gospel tracts. Micah was good at handing out tracts, saying “dozo” (for you/welcome). Here’s one picture at a train station where Khae and Micah handed out tracts to a team of ping pong players. Micah is standing with them.
Another time when we were lost, we found three teenagers sitting in front of a convenience store, eating their snacks. I asked them if they knew where our guesthouse is. They pulled out their cell phones and finally one of them found it. Instead of just pointing us in the right direction, they got on their bikes and led us there (which was about 3 kms from the convenience store). When we got there I pulled out two gospel tracts and one Mark Cahill book (One Heartbeat Away—in Japanese), and I put random numbers on each one, without showing them the numbers, and asked them to choose a number between 1 to 10. They did so, and one boy chose the number I wrote in the Mark Cahill book, and the other boys chose a number close to the numbers on the tracts, which I gave them accordingly. We were very thankful to them for taking us right to the guesthouse.
Throughout the trip we found many Japanese people who were willing to go out of their way, to help us find locations we were looking for. One time two policemen even walked with me for about four blocks to find a Yoshinoya restaurant. I gave them tracts also.
On one of the trains, Micah sat right next to a Thai man who is a tsunami researcher at a Japanese university. We gave him a Thai tract and he gave us his email, so we will stay in touch with him and I plan to send him global flood related material, from the Bible, which he may find interesting, since he’s researching tsunamis, and we pray for him to come to know Jesus also.
The airline we chose for going to Japan, flew through Taipei. The route automatically gave us a one-night layover there. A friend from twenty years ago (while studying at APU for a masters in teaching English), got a very nice room for us, and met us for dinner along with two other former APU students. It was great to see these sisters in Christ. On the way back we also had a one-night layover, but the timing was not very convenient. We arrived late and had to leave early, so just got about 5 hours of sleep, but better than nothing. During that layover we found a Thai monk at the airport and gave him a Thai tract and talked with him a little, and on the morning of our departure our taxi driver could speak a little English so I talked with him about the Bible and gave him an English tract. By that time I ran out of Chinese tracts.
Finally, just before the Japan trip, we were allowed to come back to the Women’s Prison to teach. We have three groups again—a group of about 30 of the Christian leaders in prison; a group of newly arrived prisoners who claim to be Christian (some may actually be, but others are “cultural Christians,” not really having understood the gospel yet); and a group of 50 students learning Thai massage. I don’t teach massage, nor do I even like Thai massage (too painful), but I teach English vocabulary related to that, and Khae has been coming with me to teach a 15-minute message about the Bible each time. It’s been good to have Khae along for that, since not only does she have the background of coming out of Buddhism, but as a woman, she can relate to the students well. I’ve taught in universities in Asia for over 10 years, but these ladies in prison are some of the best students I’ve ever had. They see the value of what I’m teaching and are motivated to learn. Most of the massage students are not yet believers, so it’s been a great opportunity to share the gospel with them.
We continue to teach at the Karen church—once or twice a month for me, and almost every week for Khae. Khae and the pastor’s wife have also started a Saturday class for children who want to improve their English and they also teach the Bible. Right now it’s the Songkran water festival week, which is a very dangerous time for driving, so they plan to resume the new English/Bible class next week.
Mali and Jude
Mali has just delivered a baby girl. She and Jude have also enrolled in a correspondence Bible course, as Mali realizes that church leadership should be male, and Jude also agrees. Jude’s Dad is a pastor, but his BA degree was in law. Jude and Mali have continued to actively reach out to three different Lahu villages, right up to the last couple of weeks before Mali delivered her baby Jasmine. Here’s a picture of their baby.
Da in Mae Ai
Da continues to teach the children in her village of Mae Ai. Some of the teenagers are attending also, and a few adults. Here are pictures of her with some of the teenagers and children.
I’m still teaching through the book of Matthew (just finished teaching on Matthew 16 to 17) for various prisons and am getting some good feedback from some of them. Even for them to take the time to write a thank you letter, tells me that the messages are appreciated. Not all areas of Thailand have the same percentages of Christians. In the north there tend to be more, though many of these may be nominal, especially in our present-day cell phone dominated world. But, other areas of Thailand have very few Christians, so it’s great to be able to send these messages, where they are better appreciated. May God give the increase in the hearts of the hearers, that many hearers would understand and believe and follow Jesus.
Papaya the Bully
Micah has told us about a bully in his class. Micah is the appointed class leader in his class, and he’s a little younger than the bully. We asked him what this bully does. Micah said he kicks people in the back, pushes them so hard they fall to the ground, cheats on homework, lies to the teacher, steals money or things from other children’s backpacks, etc. Our first instinct was to make a complaint to the teacher and talk to his parents (many other parents have made complaints); after all, some of those behaviors are potentially dangerous. But, on further consideration and praying, we decided to become friends with this bully, whose nickname is Papaya.
Finally, on a Sport’s Day, I met Papaya and talked with him nicely. At the end of the Sport’s Day his van driver agreed to take us to his village. It turns out to be a tourist spot, because his Mom and others there are long-neck Karen, and she and her neighbors have various things for sale there, such as hand-woven scarves, and other items.
Boy were we surprised to find out that apparently his Mom is a Christian (the Mom of the class bully). It seems that she just lets a cell phone raise her son, while she’s attending to her shop. We didn’t tell her anything about the bullying, but just told her Micah wants to be his friend and asked if Papaya can come with us fishing sometimes and to church. Now he’s been with us once to church and a couple of times fishing. Here’s a picture, with Papaya in the middle.
A little before covid, we started jogging as a family. During covid we jogged more, as the boys were homeschooling, etc. One of the places we jog has a grilled chicken stand. We bought some chicken and gave the man a gospel tract. The next time we got some chicken, we asked him about the tract. He said he read to page 4 or so, and then fell asleep. That’s still better than most people who receive a tract and might read the title or the first paragraph!
About a month ago, we got some more chicken and we got talking about the Bible and I explained the gospel to him very briefly. He asked for some more tracts, which we gave him, along with a gospel of John in Thai.
We plan to meet him again soon (and have some more chicken—it’s better than KFC). We pray for him and his household to really become true Christians. How many times do we miss opportunities like this to share the gospel with those who are right in front of us?
New Article on Matthew
Here’s a new article related to Matthew and the Pentateuch. Lord willing, I’ll send part two of this article about Matthew and the book of Psalms next time. Please click the "WORD" icon to see the Article related to Matthew and the Pentateuch.