I am being blown by the multitude of ways that I experience God’s love if I am on the lookout for it. Fact is, He is showering His love upon us 24/7, we are just not always aware of it as our minds are busy elsewhere.
While travelling here in Japan, I chose to intentionally turn my focus towards finding evidence of God’s love for me. To search for it, seek it out…
So I started seeing such evidence everywhere. Really everywhere! I will write the whole day long in order to share everything, let me therefore start sharing just the highlights with you…
1. On day 1, 17 May 2017, I landed safely at Matsuyama Airport and a man, Taka, that I basically know from nowhere, but requested via the warmshowers.org website to host me tonight, actually came to fetch me at the airport. He proofed trustworthy and he was there. I was not on roaming and had no internet connection so would not be able to contact him if he was a no-show, but there he was, waiting for me. And note, he offered to come and fetch me, I did not even ask. I later realised how far from the airport he actually lives. No charge. He did it for free and I stayed with him for 2 nights for free as well. What an angel he was.
2. Next thing was the size of his car. I hoped he came with a van, as this box my bike is in, is a supersize! Mega mega… large! No, extra large! But there was his small white car waiting for us. Yes, another piece of evidence. All of us fit! Shummi (that’s my bike) and aaaaall the panniers too!!
3. My Father knows I love sushi and, being in Japan, would love to eat sushi! But… being on a very tight budget, the sushi needs to be cheap. So, here we go. On day 1, He shows me the cheapest possible way of eating sushi! Taka was taking me to go hike 2.2 km!! up a mountain to go see a temple. No time for any naps after 2 days of flying over many countries. We are going hiking! But I was hungry. No breakfast was served on the plane that morning and it was past lunch time already. So I spotted a fruit place along the road and indicated to Taka that I am hungry. Next thing he stops at this sushi place. They call it a sushi train. 100 Yen per plate (R12). For R45 I had a full tummy, and of sushi! Now I know where to get sushi on a budget.
4. Taka leaves at 6h30 for work and a last minute decision is taken that he will drop me off some 40km north of his house so that I can explore there while he is at work. I grab the Japan sim card that I got in order to have internet while cycling and thought I’ll install it on the way so that I can use the maps app for direction and finding my way back to the drop-off spot again. But, o dear, I cannot install the sim as I need to do it via an app which I need internet for in the first place!
So….? What else would I find in my bag?? A ‘touring mapple’ (basically map book) of the area; it’s a heavy book that I definitely did not pack on purpose due to the weight. Yet, my Father knew I was going to need to find my way that day in a place where no one understands me and I have no idea where to go after being dropped of in front of one of the many Family Marts on Shikoku Island, so He somehow made me pack a 104 page map book without realising it!
5. Once I left Taka, my first day of riding with all the panniers loaded, God sent me an angel to help me sort out everything on my bike that was not right. In a somewhat miraculous way I met up with Paul Evans, a cyclist from Australia, who gave me stacks of useful information and spend about another 3 hours adjusting and stabilising my panniers, my handlebar bag, putting new cleats on my cycling shoes, and inspecting my wobbly front wheel. God knew I needed help even before I did, and he sent Paul who made it his mission to get me sorted that day.
6. After thanking and greeting Paul, I set out towards a free camping spot up in the mountains only 18km away, thinking I will easily reach it before dark. Oops… God knew I was going to get lost and not make it before dark. On the way out of town He made me turn around to stop at a supermarket and get food (just incase I don’t pass another shop later), as He knew that this was the last shop I would see for the next 2 days basically. Little did I know I was going to be spending time in that mountain the whole of the next day too!
7. Cycling up that mountain, I somewhere took a wrong turn and ended up lost. In a forest, all by myself, far from home, very tired legs from… it was getting dark and I had to make a call about what to do. I could not really turn back, and going on upwards was bringing me no-where as I was progressing a mere 200 metres in 5 minutes. So… right before the sun set, God showed me the perfect camping spot, on the edge of the mountain, that provided some privacy and shelter, and the most beautiful views. He turned the ‘camping out in the wild’ into an indescribable love declaration from my Father that night.
To be continued…