November 5, 2017 (Sun)
There were few cars out on Sunday, and the air was clear.
We visited Pastor-Z’s BEZA church in the morning.
Pastor-Z is a tremendous supporter of us and let us use his church for our rehearsal. He also got us in touch with some musicians who performed with us. All our band members attended the service in order to express our sincere gratitude for his support.
The building was like a huge grocery store and didn’t have a cross on top. It resembled many of the contemporary Protestant churches found in the United States.
Early in the morning, they had a service conducted in their local language, Amhara for the local people.
Joining that service with all our members was not optimal since no one knows the language. We decided to attend the 11 o’clock international service instead. What’s more, it was hard for us to get up early in the morning after our performance the night before.
The ambience was similar to that of an American service which we are very familiar with. There were professional musicians lined up on the stage worshipping.
However, it was not like a "Gospel church" like HEAVENESE’ late producer’s, Andre Crouch’s church.
This church primarily consisted of black people, yet their style of music is closer to the contemporary white christian music.
I was expecting more of African style of music, but we could not taste it in that service, only in the early morning service.
We don’t need God if He approves of dropping an A-bomb.
We were introduced, and I was asked to share a little about ourselves, so I talked about what we do and our Kick Back Cafe in Tokyo.
In the course of my talk, I talked about Christianity in Japan and how many Japanese are turned off by Christianity since the United States, which calls itself a Christian nation, dropped atomic bombs on Japan. Those Japanese think that if what the United States did represents the God of Christianity, they don’t want such a God. It felt like the crowd was saying “Hear! Hear! Absolutely! No Objection!”
During our 2011 U.S. tour, I made the same comments from the stage, and the audience froze. The organizer said to me, "Please never make that comment again".
For the United States, dropping the atomic bombs was justified. That’s how people are educated about their history, so it’s a big no-no to condemn the U.S. for dropping the bombs.
But this was Ethiopia, and in no time, a wave of "sympathy" resonated across the whole church creating solidarity among all of us at a deep level.
On that day, there was a team from the United States also visiting the church.
My wife, Kumiko noticed their presence and said to them with her ever loving manner, “What he was talking about is not about people but politics.”
The theme of Pastor-Z 's message was that it is better to give than to receive. Through transceivers, I fragmentally interpreted his message to the HEAVENESE band members and staff.
Pastor-Z said, “Don’t live only for yourself but for the blessings of others, shift your mind today!” That’s the main point of his message.
African people are not wealthy.
Despite the fact that people are living under such conditions, Pastor-Z taught them enthusiastically to support others as he was trying to put into practice. I sensed that God’s spirit was working in a different way than in developed countries.
The first letter of Pastor-Z’s name is “Z”.
His name is Zerubbabel.
It is a character who appears in the Old Testament.
He was a Israelite leader who was active in rebuilding the desolate temple, and he was involved in the tremendous job of rebuilding his homeland Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by its enemies.
The words he held onto are recorded in the Bible, and it reads,
“Not by might, not by power, by My Spirit, says the Lord.”
Zerubbabel held onto the words mentioned above and accomplished the project by the power of God. Pastor-Z is a Protestant pastor who was given the same name as Zerubbabel in the Bible.
When wrapping up his message, he said repeatedly the words mentioned above. He said that it will be difficult to live to bless others, but if you do things by the Spirit of God, not by your power or your ability, you can do it.
Performance at BEZA church to express our appreciation
Our private live show hosted by BEZA started at 5 o'clock in the evening. All our members were tired from the big performance the day before and from taking part in the Sunday service in the morning. All of BEZA's church people were so looking forward to our performance.
For that reason, we didn’t have a choice not to do it because we were tired.
After the service, we hardly had much time to prepare for the show. On that day, like any other day in Ethiopia, there were a heap of problems such as a problems with the cables, and pizza that we ordered for lunch was not derived. Nonetheless, we managed to get ourselves ready for the show.
Following an opening act of Cross Concept, which was introduced to us by BEZA, we started a little later than scheduled.
The set list for this performance
All of me
You are good
It's so Easy
Traditional Japanese dance
The audience gathered for our show were mostly of people from BEZA church, so I shared my personal testimony that they wanted to hear; why I came to believe in Jesus Christ in a country far away from Ethiopia.
I told them that I do not believe in the religion of Europeanized Christianity.
I just believe in Christ and that He exists.
I explained to them where I stand when it comes to my faith in Christ.
The response from the audience was very good, and many people came to tell us that there were moved. It was a meaningful day and the least we could do to return the favor to BEZA church for letting us use their church for our rehearsal, and it further developed our relationship with BEZA church, which has been actively involved in various projects all across the entire African continent.