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I've Got the JOY Down in my Heart!


I usually get there 30 minutes before class so that I can do some last minute prep and also chat with the other English teacher (she is Japanese). Mrs. K is a wonderful and kind person who is lively, animated, always smiling, and very easy to talk to. She usually asks me questions about English, or asks for advice on her lesson and such. Well, this morning, she was planning on teaching her class, "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart...down in my heart to stay!" The song had been made into an English teaching tool by adding some more words like, "down to my knees, toes, feet," etc. The music was playing on her computer, so she turned to me and asked, "Do you know this song?" (Heart leap! Do I know this song...Lord, you are too fun sometimes.) So I said to her, "Yes! That's actually a Christian song. The 'joy down in my heart' is talking about the joy that a person can have when he asks Jesus to come and live inside. When Jesus lives in a person, he experiences true joy!" She was very surprised to hear that, and wanted to know more. "So what does 'in my heart to stay' mean?" she continued. "Well, it means that once Jesus comes to live inside of your heart, He will never, ever leave you." She was so very interested to find that out, and I sat there bursting with "joy in my heart" because I got to share that with her!

Okay, that wasn't all. We started talking about Halloween and other American holidays."Which holiday is the biggest in America?" she asked. So I told her that Christmas is the biggest, and then maybe Thanksgiving, New Year's, etc. Then she said, "What about Easter?" "Oh yes! That's a very important one, too!" I told her. Then she proceeded to say, "So Easter is a celebration of spring time, right?" (Another heart leap! Deep breath, too good to be true...) "Well," I began. "Easter is actually a celebration of Jesus coming back alive. You see, Jesus died on the cross to take away our sins, but he came back alive after 3 days!" Mrs. K's eyes got huge, she covered her mouth, and she gasped, "Whaaat? I thought it was just a spring holiday! I had no idea!" Then I added, "You know the egg thing...we decorate and do the Easter Egg Hunt, because the egg represents the brand new life that Jesus gives a person after his sins have been forgiven. The egg represents birth and new life, a new start, which is what Jesus can give a person."

So there we were, in the supply closet of a sports school in Tokyo, a few minutes before our English class. A tiny little seed was sown. This morning, I understood why God placed me there to teach English to those snotty nosed kids for the school year.

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Jesus said, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.'
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