“…I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.” -Eph 6
Upon review, it seems that the post intended for June never quite made it to publishing – I apologize. Please let me take this time to get caught back up that ye might know our affairs.
First of all, it was our pleasure to host Lance Beachy here for about a month. He did a very good job during his stay here and we hope and pray that his time in Japan will be the springboard to a great and life-long walk with the Lord! Please pray with us as we weigh the future of hosting others (both in general and specifically). There are a few people/options that are already in consideration and we want to seek the Lord about them.
“My ways are not your ways, your thoughts are not my thoughts”, and the Lord has certainly shown that a few different ways lately. As you may know, Hannah and I were hit by a car a couple of months ago, though very thankfully not at high speeds. I have a problem with my left hip (though not sure if it was a problem from before, or because of, the accident) and Hannah hit her head, but we are otherwise fine. We are so thankful to Him for sparing us of what could have been. When I reflect on what happened I cannot comprehend how God could sacrifice his precious child for people like us – what a Saviour! Even in light of that, I suppose there may be many things, even on a daily basis, that the Lord spares us from each day that we truly ought to give thanks for. We are blessed beyond measure! Additionally, because of our accident, we were able to witness to the driver who hit us, and her husband. Please pray for their salvation! Our last contact was a letter by mail a couple of weeks ago.
We were able to get the “Pocket” downtown outreach Ministry moved to a different area. We started it downtown, but in an area near some shops but it was somewhat secluded. It is now in one of the busiest parts of the city called “Happiring“, and is under the new officially recognized name of ヘイベン教学 (Haven Kyougaku), meaning Haven Religious Learning. The new area is completely open and we have seen a decent increase in the number of people we have been able to reach. The Pocket involves utilizing the Bible to teaching English and the gospel. Just this past week a lady and her husband came by and we had a prolonged conversation with them. To all of our surprise, the lady was a very old acquaintance of Pastor Emori and Hiroko! She called the meeting “the leading of God”, and we prayed with them. Her husband has some sort of mental disease (though specifically what I could not understand) and wasn’t coherent, but when I laid hands on him and began praying, he suddenly began speaking and, perhaps, understanding. We don’t fully understand what all took place, but there were many details exchanged and it was truly possibly “the leading of God”. Please pray for God’s continued leading for Mr. and Mrs. Shirasaki!
Speaking of Pastor Emori, we are still having our usual meetings at his home. We have considered me/us meeting with him to be a necessary ministry, and have made a purpose to see him on a usual basis. He can no longer drive and often is isolated. Today we had a very good conversation, along with his wife Chizuko, and I think it was encouraging for all. Some of the topics this time included the problems associated with having so few Christians in Fukui/Japan, the possibility of working together with a couple of other churches, and having a church Tea Ceremony in October to invite the lost to hear the gospel. Please pray for these things as well, as the church’s future weighs heavily on Pastor Emori’s heart, as well as ours.
In a direct answer to prayer, the Lord has given another lady who loves the Lord to mutually “sharpen iron” with Mia – a much needed blessing! Another lady from America named Rachael had prayed similarly, and she and Mia have recently been able to spend a good amount of time specifically to encourage each other. It is so nice for Mia to now have another person to counsel with and seek support from when needed, and we pray for Rachael as she continually seeks the Lord’s clear direction for her future.
Something else that was quite surprising recently was an invitation to speak on the radio for the local city station. It was an opportunity to explain what a “Christian volunteer” means, as the radio host said that they have never heard of such a term before! We were able to clearly present Jesus Christ, and yet the radio host eagerly continued asking more – so much so that we went over our allotted time by quite a bit! She expressed interest in having me come again, though with the Japanese you never quite know if that is the truth or not. It was an amazing opportunity, and we pray for more open doors like it.
On the contrary to the above, the summer has been literally record-breaking hot, but thanks to both the literal and spiritual support from you and everyone at our church, my work schedule is no longer unconscionable. We have been able to do more ministry, but we have also been able to catch up on lost family time, which is extremely appreciated. We took Hannah out to the beach last week and I got to swim with her for the first time! Classes will pick-up some more in the next couple of weeks, but the downtime sure is a blessing. One of my recent students just left for college in Kansas and I was able to leave him with the gospel and he said that he wanted to look into visiting a church. Please pray for his salvation as well – his name is Hidenobu.
Finally, for those of you who have given, or are giving, financially towards the ministry here, we are now providing itemized financial reports. If you would like access to them, please either contact Pastor Nate or ourselves. As always, thank you for your constant support, and please pray continually for the lost in Japan.