All Things To All Men

“No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier”. –II Tim 2:4


The above verse is verse significant to me, as it was a point of Scripture that the Lord first used to dramatically change my spiritual path a few years ago. It was from that starting point that I believe the Holy Spirit did a great work in the life of my family, as well as in another close family. This world is all about temptation, and for a Christian to go on a single day without this on his/her mind is like a soldier forgetting that there may be enemies along his path. The Lord reminded me of this verse today, and it reminded me of where to keep my focus, of which I am thankful. Certainly, our Lord is a God that “keeps your foot from falling”, and knows our needs. The mission field has already taught me and Mia about how God can use totally different ways and ideas to minister, of which we need to be open-minded to, but also to not allow anything to become a stumbling-block for anyone, including ourselves. While praying I wanted to ask the Lord to send soldiers to reach the lost in Fukui, but then had to stop and realize who WE are. WE are the soldiers, and it is up to US to do the work. May we never forgot our role in the Lord’s kingdom, and always rely on the Lord for the strength and equipping that we need to reach the lost. Well anyway, I felt led to share that and I hope it encourages you, as it has me. But I’ll get on with the updates.


Sheffey, created by Bob Jones University. Highly recommended to any christian.

Recently, a new way of reaching-out to my students has been by use of holidays – Western ones. Many Japanese are interested in Western culture, and to share some of the history of certain holidays (Valentines, Easter, Christmas, etc), is becoming quite an open door. In particular, Eigetsu-san, my (now) one-on-one adult student, is still increasingly open to discussions about the Lord. Also, just like Mia and I have been able to use Japanese media sources to supplement our learning, I have also been able to use English media recently in my classes. Eigetsu has shown a lot of interest in Robert Sheffey, an American circuit-riding preacher from the 1800`s, who was known for his extraordinarily answered prayers. I am hoping we can get a copy of the movie and book, Sheffey and Brother Sheffey, respectively, over here soon to utilize, as printable material is hard to come by. Please continue to pray for Eigetsu-san’s salvation!


The weather here is making its first attempts to change to the warmer, spring weather, and Hannah and I got to take a bike ride during a peak chance of warm (enough) weather last week. On the way home, there were about half a dozen or so of some young school students, just finishing school and gathering in the park nearby. It didn’t stand out to me much at the time, but I had to leave for another set of classes shortly after that, and noticed them again while starting to drive away from our apartment. I felt led to witness to them, and I’m very glad I listened! I had extra rice sweets that had been  prepared for my class that evening, and so I pulled the car over and got their attention. I was able to offer them each a snack, as well as gospel tracts. It sounds funny for me to say, but they were kind of in awe of a foreigner suddenly talking to them. I shared a small bit about what the tracts were about, and when I mentioned that they were about Jesus, one of them said, “Kiristo?”, acknowledging who I was talking about. We shared names, and soon after said goodbye. This may have not been much, but it was a milestone for us, as this was a first solo Japanese witnessing conversation, and it was extremely encouraging for me. My heart almost breaks sometime when I see all of the children walking home and thinking that probably not a single one of them knows the Lord. It is a wonderful thing to start seeing our language progress slowly catch-up to our burden.

Tomoka Kawahara playing with Hannah.

Also, there may be another open door beginning to open with a lady named 河原さん (Kawahara), with whom we have had interactions with for several months. She is an amazing (and slightly eccentric) vocal and music teacher, who sometimes comes to our church in Matsuoka or the school to teach/perform. She went out of her way this past week to reach out to me to invite me and Mia to a musical event downtown that she was kind of heading. She was so excited to have us come that she even paid for our tickets in advance. Honestly, it’s been a long couple of weeks and we didn’t feel like going, but while the flesh may be weak, the spirit is willing, and we determined to go anyway. Again, I am so glad we went! We met her after the event, and she definitely wants to join us in practicing music, language, etc. She has shown interest in the gospel, and we are hoping for Mia to perhaps start a Bible-based English class with her, or something else similar. Please pray for her soul as well!


Cards (and drawings) from countless members of Haven Fellowship.

In closing, I appreciate your continued prayers for my mom. And thank you as well to SO many of you for sending cards of encouragement – they were definitely so. My mom isn’t through it yet, and still things are uncertain, but I know our God has been reminded by so many people about her situation, and I trust in whatever decision he allows for her health. I’m turning 30 this year, and we are often surprised by my own health at still a young age (comparatively speaking, I suppose!), and it’s wonderful to know that our God is not just Saviour God, Sustainer God, and Teacher God, but he is also the Creator God, and personally knows each and every part of our bodies, for we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. As we pray for some of you for your health, too, know also that He is IN CONTROL. Praise the Lord for all that he is and all that he does.

The Substance of Things Hoped For

“Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number” (Jeremiah 2)

First of all, I want to start by giving thanks. I want to thank the Lord for his compassion, love, and most of all, his mercy. His mercies are renewed each and every day, and our debt of service and gratitude grows with it every day – we are always blessed far above what we deserve. Secondly, I want to thank everyone who has been praying directly for my mother’s situation. There are many details to it, but as of right now, there has been a direct answer from the Lord.


My mom has been in-and-out of the hospital several times in the last couple of months, and still continues to battle an unknown infection in her lungs. Since returning from the hospital this last time, she has been virtually alone, with little or no help. This has put a lot of pressure on us, contemplating some big decisions. If I/we were to leave Japan suddenly for any period of time right now, it would be very detrimental, and likely a permanent decision. With this, and many trials going on at one time, we have gone through a, perhaps expected, trial of questioning our purpose on the mission field. “Were we only meant to be here for a little while?” or “Maybe there is something different we are meant to do”? But we had to be reminded of all of God’s direction, leading, confirmation, and answers he had already gave us. We are such forgetful people. I’m very thankful that the Lord doesn’t forget us.


Many of you have prayed specifically about the situation with my family, and we’re abundantly blessed to give an update. The Lord has allowed a lady named LeShawn to enter my mom’s life – she’s an Aid Worker. She has been able to help my mom with some of the important things like laundry, cleaning, food, etc. But included in the “important” things, is prayer and in the Bible. LeShawn “happens” to be a christian, and is encouraging my mom in spiritual things, as well as the physical. Mia and I both instantly noticed a difference in my mom’s voice when we spoke with her last, when LeShawn was there. While we cannot boast ourselves of tomorrow, we are incredibly blessed by this blessing for my family! It is not only a relief for my mom and ourselves, but my sister/family quite a bit.  Thank you so much for your continued prayers about this! This is one of those encouraging times when God makes his answer(s) clear.

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” (Mark 11)

The Recently Replaced Small Shrine.

Also, in regards to prayer, we have started a very specific kind of prayer.  In a post several months ago, we mentioned that a small local shrine was suddenly found destroyed. At the same time, we had been praying that the Lord would remove the shrines in the area and replace them with Christ’s presence. Well, they have just recently rebuilt it. We are asking of the Lord specifically against that shrine, now. Just like Dagon was destroyed before the presence of the One True God in Ashdod over and over again, we are praying for this shrine-of-a-god to be destroyed once again, that men may fear and consider it, and that the Lord may be glorified. We are now going down every week to one of the shrines as a prayer campaign, and we are publicly letting others know this prayer, as well as asking for others’ prayers, that as many people will be able to glorify God when it comes to pass. It’s a scary thing to “stick out our foot” if such a thing weren’t to come to pass, but we are looking forward to praising the Lord, as we all ask in faith. Please join us in praying. Far too many demonic spirits control the hearts of the Japanese, and we are fervently awaiting to see the devil lose some of his deeply-rooted ground in Japan; we need the prayers of the faithful to accomplish this!


Voice of the Martyrs Newsletters.

One new start of an outreach is actually with an unexpected usage of VOM newsletters. The Voice of the Martyrs ( is a non-profit organization that we support, that works worldwide to help those that are under persecution, and to reach some of the most dangerous people groups for Christ. One thing that they do is mail out monthly letters, highlighting some of the recent events for persecuted Christians in the different countries. We’ve had some interest shown by some of my students, including Moriai, and I’ve begun using it as an “English resource”. Also, partly as a result, I had a very good private class with Mr. Eigetsu today – the entrepreneur we mentioned last year. We spoke a lot about Islam, religion, and specifically, eternity, and that he, with others, need Christ. He mentioned that he is now only a “thin Buddhist”, as he gestured “a little”, and expressed that he may actually consider giving-up his family altar entirely. He is a very kind man, and he agreed today that life isn’t really worth much if there isn’t a better life afterward, and that reincarnation isn’t the answer. Please pray for his salvation! He may be very close!


It’s encouraging seeing the difference between our ability to speak Japanese from when we arrived last year to now, and we are continually looking forward to the more possibilities of reaching the lost. Hannah is also developing her own form of language(s), and is beginning to respond more and more to instructions – soon to be in both English and Japanese, Lord willing! Please pray for more open doors, as there have been more opening with others not mentioned yet, and for God to further prepare the hearts of those here in Fukui. Japan, as a mission field, requires a unique amount of patience, however, we are slowly, but gradually, starting to see fruit.

Prayer Update 1/12

He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whosoever trusteth in the LORD, happy is he. (Proverbs 16)


We have more specific updates for a new post, but this is just a quick update and request for prayer in the interim.


To be honest, it was challenging to leave almost everything behind to come to Japan, but we both knew that it was well worth it – the Lord Jesus left all of the perfect splendor with the Father to serve man, and we cannot but do the same out of debt and gratitude! We also have an adversary, however, and in the last month it feels like we’re under a little extra difficulty. In addition to, I guess, the expected struggles of trying to evangelize in a foreign country, there are very big burdens pulling on us from the U.S.


At some point in time we know that we will have to return to take care of asset-related things in Ohio, which is a difficulty for several people meanwhile. Also, my mother’s health has been failing recently, and family problems are mixed into the situation there, too. There is a big open door for us to stay here in Japan, and both of our hearts are here, but we might have to make a big decision regarding this above – mainly the who, when, and for how long. If we have to leave Japan (for any amount of time) any time soon, it will likely have a big impact here, which we can’t do lightly.


We are asking the Lord for wisdom to not make a big, wrong decision. Please help us in praying about these things, if you would. I also want to take this opportunity to thank our church for a decision that was made for us around Christmas time regarding our trailer home – it was very generous of you and we want to thank you so much for helping in that way! We are continually thankful for everyone’s prayers and support otherwise, and we look forward to updating you soon.

A Season and a Time

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up”. Ecc 3

We were reminded just the other day by a missionary friend to not “spread ourselves out too thin”, which is again a good reminder as we seem to be so busy. There is a time for everything, and we are facing a little change of “season”. Pastor Lonnie preached this week about discouragement. It was a good message that he preached from his heart (a link to the message can be found here). Mia fights with alike discouraging feelings about her self-worth when she examines herself. Her up-bringing was filled with criticism and scorn, so she sometimes struggles with fighting those feelings in herself.  Pastor Shannon also preached recently on the husband’s responsibility to his wife and family. An area in which I also need to examine myself, for I can be neglectful. As we each fight with our own flesh’s “besetting” difficulties, going abroad for a purpose has not removed these obstacles, so we hope to make sure that we spend adequate time on these areas of our lives.


Hannah and Mommy trying to scare the dinosaur….

Maruoka Castle

Maruoka Castle

Got to finally take Mia and Hannah out last week to one of the attractions in the prefecture – Dinosaur Park! There are actually two parts to it. One is a museum, the other is an outdoor park. We decided to skip the museum for now, as it would do much good for us not being able to read advanced Japanese and Hannah being so young. The outdoor park was basically a guided path through the

woods with different moving dinosaur models, sound effects, and information. We also got to go out to Maruoka Castle, too. It was nice just to have time out as a family; we’ve needed it.

When we left the States we had taken several supplies and resources to help us during our transition into Japan, but most of those resources are about all gone. It is now time for us to start venturing-out into the terrifying realm of the Japanese medical field. Mia will have to see an ophthalmologist soon, I’m planning on going for acupuncture this week for some health reasons, and (worst of all!), I need to figure out how to see a dentist. We really could use some prayer for a few of these things – I don’t think there are any English-speaking options!

Speaking of speaking, it doesn’t get said much on here, but language learning is of course a daily added activity for us here. Mia is still having her weekly Japanese lessons (she’s doing very well!), and we both have several daily resources that we use (not to mention instant immersion). We can finally hold controlled conversations to an extent, though listening to/partaking in full conversations is extremely difficult. It is encouraging to finally be able to read things and to understand different things – like what food items Hannah is eating!

Omikuji - purchased god fortunes.

Omikuji – purchased god fortunes.

Also at this current level, we are really hoping to utilize the time of one of the biggest Japanese holidays ‐正月 (Shou Gatsu/Holy Month), or New Years. This is a very important time for Japanese in which they seek to welcome the gods’ blessing for the new year and try to be clean inside and out. They also go to temples for おみくじ (Omikuji), which is basically a paper fortune, hoping for a blessing from god. We are really hoping to “redeem the time” wisely, and reach the people here, that they may truly have God’s blessing of salvation in Christ. We had another missionary couple over at our apartment this last weekend and discussed some ideas. Overall we were reminded of how very different of a mission field it is here, and how the Japanese people require a lot of time spent with them in order to reach them. Please pray for wisdom for us as we consider these things for December on how to reach the people.

Moriai on the bass and Hannah on the floor.

Moriai on the bass and Hannah on the floor.

Also an update regarding Moriai – we are indeed carpooling every week to one of our joint classes. It’s about a 40 minute drive each way, so it provides quite a bit of time to talk. Please continue to pray for more open doors. He also joined us last week to practice some children’s Bible songs for a “concert” we will be doing at GRACE next month, Lord willing. He seems so much like king Agrippa with the apostle Paul, so willing to listen, but then, nothing. Please keep praying for him! He may be just like most other Japanese, and he needs a lot of time.

Again, thank you for your prayers, and please remember to spend time with your family this week! We would also love to hear from you if you have any prayer requests of your own. Please let us know.

For Whosoever Will

“And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us”. -Luke 9

These past couple of weeks have been extremely busy, it seems, both with new and routine things. I’ve acquired yet another few extra classes lately. A couple of which involve Mineo Moriai. As mentioned briefly before, he is my main associate at the school; a Japanese man who speaks English fluently. He knows much about the Bible and American culture, but does not yet know Christ. He is one of our biggest points of prayer.

We will possibly car-pool weekly to the new class, as it is in a town named あわら (Awara), which is some distance away. We are praying for this to become an open door to witness to him more. Also, I have started a new class that only has two students – my boss and Moriai-san. It has already facilitated some Biblical discussions, and we are hoping for more “water” on his heart in this way. Thank you for your continued prayers for his salvation!

Mia has also started her own class this past week! She is now teaching a 3 year-old girl named さら (Sara). Mia is able to use Bible-based materials, and we are praying that it will not only plants seeds in the young girl’s heart, but also in her family’s (her grandmother is one of my students). There is also the possibility that Mia will be working with me in one of my larger future classes as well. Please keep her in prayer as she is working hard and seeking open doors!


One of our tea ceremony arrangements.

Two Sundays ago we had what’s called お茶会, or a Tea Ceremony, at the church. This is a very formal event for Japanese. It was a good time to witness to some who do not know the Lord. Pastor Emori gave a much longer message than some expected, but I believe it was a very good one. There was a Japanese man that sat next to me during the ceremony. He happened to be saved. While I was away from the table, he spoke to Mia and asked that we would reach Eiheiji to make it “a better place”. We surely hope that the Lord will though ordinary people like us (well, we’re a little peculiar at times, but mostly ordinary)! There was also a couple that accepted the Lord last week after the Tea Ceremony (the husband actually passed away later that week)!



Mia leaving a tract at a home.

We finally got to join our church for tract distribution. For one reason or another, we’ve not been able to join them until now. It involved going “door-to-door”, but not quite in the Biblical sense. We simply put tracts in mailboxes in a somewhat-plotted area. Mia and I gave out gospel tracts and spoke (very little) to people as we walked by them – this seemed foreign to the others (and not just because we’re foreigners)! We still have the vision of starting an outdoor outreach in the city, but it requires more Japanese fluency and perhaps more conducive weather – it has already become cold here and it would not be very realistic with Hannah. Japanese are culturally uncomfortable with initiating conversations with strangers. In-turn, it is very effective for us when we simply ask how someone is, or interact in other ways that they don’t expect. We hope to use this difference to positively influence our church and to reach more people. Please help us pray about wisdom for this – it’s so hard to think that nearly everyone you is dying in their sin without the remedy. We need to reach them!



The tract from the J.W.s

Also, in regards to door-to-door, we were very surprised to have a pair of J.W.s (Jehovah Witnesses) come to our apartment a few days ago. We’ve been spiritually “brought-up” to differentiate good and bad teachings, and have been taught to “endure sound doctrine”, holding to that which God upholds (which we very much should!). We, in the meanwhile however, have also been essentially taught to shun all other denominations that have “wrong doctrine”. It was certainly interesting to, instead of seeking to contend with our visitors, but rather to offer them a drink and pray for them. While some would be offended with this story, it was strangely refreshing to do so with them. The Lord gave me peace with this reminder in Philippians chapter 1:


“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice”.

It truly is a daily grief and reminder that hardly anyone around us knows Christ as their Saviour. We may not agree with many things of other groups (especially J.W.s), but if they lead someone to trust in the Lord and to love him with all of their heart, we will no longer be the ones to condemn it. We must all develop convictions and study to know God’s Word, but we mustn’t sacrifice the lost for the sake of “being right”.

Lastly, we had another ministry opportunity at Tanpopoen. It was similar to before: singing and a short Bible message. We are scheduled to return again to give them a Christmas kind-of service. Praise the Lord for a continued door to reach them there! We hope that we will one day see fruit.

Lastly (again): One last note! We’ve been making a point of praying whenever possible when we pass a shrine (there are a lot). One thing we pray is for God to destroy the idols, and to replace them with Christ. Here is a recent picture of one of those shrines.


Remains of a small shrine downtown.

We don’t know how, but it’s been completely demolished. While we don’t know the events leading to it, but it is certainly a “big deal” to both us and the local people, and we certainly believe in the ability of our God! Please keep praying against the evil that is here, and for the Spirit of the Lord to fill Japan!


There are a couple of more updates, but we’ll leave them for the next post. As always, we thank everyone so much for your support and your prayers! You are as much a part as we are.

The Same Yesterday, Today, But Not Forever

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)

Prayers purchased by our town’s people.

Perhaps a good sign of a mature christian is a consistent life; the Lord wants dependable people in his kingdom (I Tim 1:12). The last two weeks or so have been pretty steady for us here and a test for us to be consistent. Work is increasingly busy, and Mia is perpetually busy with not just being a mom, but also while learning a new language and pursuing ministry opportunities. At this point we are but continuing to acclimate to life here. There has not been much change recently, but it seems some will be coming soon.


It seems that Mia will be engaging in a small amount of English teaching herself. It would include teaching a young child, as well as the possibility of having a moms’ class. On top of that, she was also approached by a stranger the other day, who promptly offered her a teaching job at her school – it all seemed so sudden. While we all agree that she should not be adding so much to her plate, Mia is excited to start teaching at least a little, and for it to be both another ministry opportunity, as well as a way to bolster her own language learning. We are praying for the right timing of our schedules to make it work.

It’s kind of hard to believe that we’ve already finished a third of our company contract here in Fukui! It still feels like we just got here (which is still quite true). If you have been following this blog, you know that our length-of-stay here in Fukui has been one of the top topics of prayer for us, of which an answer seems nearly in sight. We have decided that it would be highly beneficial for us to stay in Japan for at least four years… starting from the U.S. election in November (well, it was a thought, anyway)! Even with that being the case, we do truly feel it is wise and of the Lord’s leading, at this time, for us to remain in Japan beyond our contract end in June. We do not know how long that may mean, but only that we sense that our purpose here is not just for one year. In agreeance with several areas of counsel, some steps have already been taken in the U.S. for us, and we plan on slowly making a few more decisions both there and here. Thank you so much for your fastings and prayers in this! It isn’t really for us, but for the countless in Japan that need reached for Christ.

In addition to the physical considerations that will have to be made, we also have a vision for future ways to minister. In addition to continued efforts at Tanpopoen, there is also a children’s orphanage in our prefecture called くれ愛園 (Kure-ai-en). While we continue to live our lives in relative comfort and blessings, the elderly and the young remain held within the limits of walls, with almost all of them without hope physically, or eternally. With the continual support of Hiroko, we are currently looking into what way we can reach the orphans at Kureaien. There may be a couple of possibilities, but it’s too early to say just yet. Please join us in our burden and prayer for this!

Some of you also know about a young woman (she will remain nameless) that we asked for prayer for to help in the Philippines. Thank you for praying. Her and her daughter are safely home. We will not share all of the details here, but if you have any questions, please ask us personally.

Whether it’s about homeless children in Japan, endangered family in the Philippines, or reading about suffering in the U.S., we’ve been reminded lately of our great need, as christians, to proclaim the truth of God’s love and mercy. The late Joey Feek had a song entitled, “In the Time that You Gave Me”. Part of the lyrics say this:

“In the time that you gave me, did I give all that I could I could give? Did I love all I could love? Did I live all I could live? Was my faith in your grace strong enough to save me? Did I do all I could do in the time that you gave me?… If today is the day that you should decide to take me, did I do all I could do in the time that you gave me?” 

It is the Lord’s desire to save the sheep that have gone astray, and our desire and prayer is that you will join us to reach those who are wandering their way into eternity on the wrong side of heaven. Thank you so much for all of your support, whether in encouragements, packages, financially, or by prayer. We are truly a blessed people!


“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved….. how then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” -Rom 10:13-14


As a youth I had a lot to learn (and still do). One of the most influential things in a young person’s life are their elders. To this day I still remember the depressing feeling of a time when my pastor was upset with me! Even as an adult the same has an influence on us. The contrary is also true. Knowing that we have the support of family, friends, and our church, is very empowering – even across the world.


As we serve here in Japan the obstacles continually remind me that we must have a power greater than our own if we are to accomplish anything in a “Graveyards of Missionaries”.  We’ve seen so much of God’s provision before and during our transition to Japan, but will God continue to show his favor? If you are feeling discouraged, not seeing the power of God in your life, would you commit it to prayer and fasting? The power behind knowing God is behind you and sending you is incredible.


From the left, Hiroko, Angel (previous teacher), and Mr. and Mrs. Nishimoto

Mr. and Mrs. Nishimoto are on the right.

I recently got to meet a young man named Takumi Nishimoto – the son of two of my students (mentioned here); he joined my class for a few weeks. While several people had been praying for him, along with a parting gift, I was led to give him a gospel tract. That evening an open door also arose to give them a Christian testimony and to talk about the Bible. It turns out that Hiroko was praying for him at the same time, and Takumi has recently shown interest in, and began reading, the Bible. I didn’t realize what was going on behind the scenes, but the Lord did. We would love to see the Lord do a work in his heart and to reach his family for Christ! Please pray for the Spirit’s continued leading in Takumi’s heart and for his parents’ salvation as well.


Many of you have also been praying regarding how long we are to be in Japan, of which we thank you so much. This is a very difficult and impactful decision that we can’t haste in making, but we are again encouraged by more of how God is leading people here. One of the many things that are being done on our behalf in the U.S. is the care of our dog, Pippy. As you may know, Pippy (A.K.A. Pip) is very precious to us and she likewise is a very loving dog (she adores Hannah)! Nate and Janae Yoder (along with the stalwart aid of their children, no doubt!) have been selflessly taking care of her. While we don’t yet know all of the details, the Lord may be preparing a future door for Pippy to rejoin us, though it would be contingent on one thing, realistically – us staying in Japan. We ask if you would also pray for us regarding this!

Mineo Moriai and us shortly after we arrived in Japan.

Mineo Moriai and us shortly after we arrived in Japan.

A quick update regarding Tanpopoen, the elderly home. There was another invitation given to return at the end of the month – we are surprised by the continued open door. Please continue to pray for the salvation of the people at Tanpopoen. One of the next desires we have is to visit an orphanage in the next town. To my knowledge it is the only for in a large radius from our area. Honor is extremely important to the Japanese. So important, in fact, that suicide is a common thing here. People would rather end their life in honor than live it in shame. This also applies to children. Many children kill themselves because of bullying of other forms of shame – like the shame of being an orphan. Being adopted is looked down upon, so adoption is rare, and many children are left without a home. We hope and pray for an open door to reach these children. Lastly, please continue to pray for Mineo Moriai, the Japanese teacher I work with. We are determined and greatly desiring for him to trust the Lord – he seems so close!


Thank you all for your support and prayers, and we hope to update you again soon!


“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God”. -Col 2:18-19


People praying to Buddha for blessings.

People praying to Buddha for blessings.

I often think on how Buddhism is the “perfect” outward religion. It teaches a person selflessness, kindness, about the inherently evil nature that we are all born with, and that we need cleansed of it. We even get to see the fruits of Buddhism all around us in Japan. The streets are clean (both literally and figuratively), people are extremely respectful, and it is one of the safest countries in the entire world. Many of this is thanks to Buddhism. What Buddhism does not do, however, is show a person how to actually be rid of that evil nature (the flesh), nor does it show a man the way to the eternal relationship that we all need with God. Francis Xavier once said, “In my opinion no people superior to the Japanese will be found among unbelievers”. Soon later, he left Japan, saying that Buddhism was “an invention of the devil”.

A common demon statue about 10 feet tall.

A common demon statue about 10 feet tall.


“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light”. -II Cor 11:14


Today, Mia, Hannah, and I, got to see a strong example of how the devil is a great counterfeiter, and uses things that are so close to God’s beauty and truth, and yet deceives many away from the Lord. We went to the Eiheiji temple today – a long anticipated trip, though only about a fifteen-minute drive from where we live. 時 (ji) is the word for Temple, of which the town we live in is named – the town of Eihei-ji. It is revered as one of the largest Buddhist temples in the country. It is especially sacred to the local people. Eiheiji includes a vast landscape along the mountainside. It is filled with gorgeous examples of God’s creation, but not the creation’s God.


A family starting to make an incense offering.

A family starting to make an incense offering.

The monks appear busy all day, doing their daily tasks and up-keeping the grounds. You will not see any of them in the pictures, however, as photography of them is prohibited. You can smell the aroma of incense nearly everywhere you go, as offerings are made throughout. You can hear the monks’ incantations at times. We even saw a monk performing a ritual who appeared to be an American (or a foreigner, at the least). Many areas of worship are filled with gold and other precious materials as a form of expressing gratitude to Buddha in the highest way they can. The particular sect of 座禅 Buddhism (zazen) that is in this temple believe in giving their entire life for the pursuit of spiritual perfection. If all Christians did the same, I wonder the impact that we would have!


Inside one of Eiheiji's ritual rooms.

Inside one of Eiheiji’s ritual rooms.

Eiheiji is particularly busy right now, as this week marks the beginning of お盆 (obon), a major Buddhist holiday. This is a time that people return to their home lands to pay sacrilege to their ancestors. They visit their families’ grave sites, offer incense, leave offerings at shrines and temples, and light candles for the dead. It is a daily burden to see countless people go by us that are following their lives on the devil’s path of destruction. Hannah got the attention of a shop girl today, and then another, and then another, but we could not tell them about Christ. We met the family of two little twin girls, and they are also spiritually without hope. Just like in America, it is hard to imagine a majority of people around you will one day be in hell – just here it is more of an extreme and more apparent.


It seems that our burden and ministries continue to grow, and we know that to “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required”. Please continue to pray for Japan. Please continue to pray for wisdom for us on God’s intended purpose for us here. Please also pray, as Mia has been burdened with some particular thoughts lately (she may say more on it at a later time), and pray for God to continue to use simple people like us (including Hannah), for the lost and for his glory!

the Light of japan

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”. John 1: 4-5


This past week in Kyoto, the city was paraded by nearly 200,000 people to prepare to meet god. Giant structures were carried throughout the streets to spiritually cleanse the way for god’s arrival, and this week the people are celebrating the one they worship – the Shinto god.


A gift from Mr. and Mrs. Nishimoto. These are cookies that are only made for the Shinto God Festival.

A gift from Mr. and Mrs. Nishimoto. These are cookies that are only made for the Shinto God Festival.

Every year in Kyoto, Japan observes 祇園祭 – the Gion Festival. This is just one of many that are held throughout the country. Two of my students, Mr. and Mrs. Nishimoto, attended it this year. It was shocking to me to hear her continually use “God’s name” in Japanese, but she wasn’t in fact referring to the true God. Mrs. Nishimoto kept talking about how “God”, 神様 “kamisama”, went through the street. And how excited they were to see “God”. It broke my heart, and I couldn’t even talk to them about the Truth.


The darkness of this world blinds its victims so that they cannot see the Light before their eyes, that they should not be saved. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, more than we can count on our hands will have died and perished. Is it not so hard to think of our neighbors, co-workers, class mates, or especially our family, heading straight for eternity, bound for damnation? How can we not burn within ourselves to tell them about the Savior?!


Just the other day our doorbell rang. It was these two ladies with a very young child. They were distributing information packets – though we had no idea the kind of interaction that was going to follow. With both parties doing their best to communicate, they began telling me about who they were and why they were on our front step. They were スピリチュアルボランティア, or “Spiritual Volunteers”, and they wished to share their “light” with us. I told them that we are believers in Jesus, and the minister, Yuki, smiled in agreeance. “We too believe of Jesus”, she said in Japanese, “and many other gods, too”. She began to speak about how they can get power from spiritual pendants, and they can give their “light” to others by holding their hand by someone’s head. She tried to give us “light”, too…. After giving them a gospel tract, talking a bit more, and letting the little girl use the bathroom, they parted. They were friendly, and perhaps genuine, but the grieving truth is that many genuinely friendly people go to hell. There is only one Light that saves, and we have a responsibility to “light our world”!

A tract from the "Spiritual Volunteers" on how to share "light".

A tract from the “Spiritual Volunteers” on how to share “light”.


We are greatly burdened to learn more of the language quickly to be able to reach more people that are blinded by the tactics of the devil. We pray for our loved ones reading this for the Lord to continue to work through you where you are. We also ask that you would pray for us that the Lord may give us great understanding and wisdom to be able to reach many that are lost, for surely he answers such requests. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”!


Yoshikawa HostingThere is currently an open door to continue meeting with the local town board members (like the one Mia went to a few weeks ago) and we were invited again today. It is a meeting that has apparently gotten the attention of the mayor, and they have asked us to be a part of an international outreach initiative. We’ve been asked several times now, “Why Fukui?”, and we have been blessed to be able to share on how God has led us here in the name of Jesus. Even with that information, they want us to be a part of a video to help Japanese people to think of foreigners differently… and we’re praying that they see God differently. What an opportunity! Only God could orchestrate such things! We don’t know what will come of it still, but we are looking forward seeing God’s purpose in it. Please pray about this! We should be meeting again next month.


There also may be a couple of new ministries starting soon, including ministering to the elderly, which our church members are very excited to start. We also have concepts of a music outreach downtown, though it’s not certain yet. Please keep this in prayer, as we are very eager to do so, if the Lord will!


Please let us know your thoughts on these posts and if there is anything that we can change or do to make them better, or if there is anything you would like to know. Our purpose is to glorify God and to bless those that read it. We miss you and thank you so much for your prayers!

He That Forsaketh Not All Cannot Be My Disciple

“For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” -I Thes 1:9-10


I asked one of the pastor’s sons a question. “Would you like to have children one day? He hesitated for a while before answering – “that is only by will of God”. Then it came to me – he may never be able to.


Sometimes the things we struggle with externally reflect the things we are dealing with spiritually. If one is struggling with the heaviness of sin, he might be looking for a Savior to mend the void in his heart. Someone who is often finding a complaint about their life may be having an wrestling inside with contentment. However, there are some problems here in Japan that I’ve not quite seen before in the U.S. – like the tremendous internal conflict for those who entertain what it would be like to be a Christian.


Have you ever faced the dilemma of being almost entirely alone for the rest of your life because you are a Christian? In some places of the world, Christians face some difficulties that we may never have to. Bishops are required to be “the husband of one wife”, so we understand that a pastor must be a man. But in some countries, someone might get saved, and now have the issue of an unbelieving spouse –  several of them.

Mini shrines sold for home use.

Mini shrines sold for home use.

Here in Japan, the eldest son is expected to carry-on and lead the future family traditions, including Buddhism and ancestor worship. To do anything besides is considered one of the greatest shames one can bring to himself and his family. While you may not be killed for your faith, as in some countries, to become a Christian here is to make an open statement that “Jesus is more important than my family”. It makes Jesus’ words of “he that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” a very real and weighty thing.


For the few in Japan who make the decision to follow Christ, it means not only forsaking the world, but quite literally your friends, co-workers, and family. You may no longer be able to attendお茶会 (important social meetings) and become ostracized within your company or neighborhood. It would most likely mean the rejection of your family, and to become an extreme minority. You will probably no longer have the opportunity to get married or have children, as 99% of the people around you will reject Christ and what you believe in. It is a “big deal” to “have no other gods before me” (perhaps more on that in the future).


Pastor Emori

Pastor Emori

There is no casual accepting of Christ in Japan. It is quite literally the surrendering of your entire life for the Lord. Please continue to pray for the people of Japan, and specifically in Fukui. God is greater than all barriers, and we hope and pray that the countless shrines and temples will be replaced by churches and pews. Please also pray for our pastor here and his family. Pastor Emori made the decision long ago to esteem Christ more than anyone else, though he is no longer a young man. He retains a lot of zeal, but now relies on the “glory of young men” to help him with many things. His wife, Chizuko, and son, Makito, has begun having Japanese lessons with Mia (which she is doing well!), and they have many things in mind for us for future ministries. We trust the Lord will continue to bless them greatly for their unceasing work, and we ask that you will also please pray for them as they continue for the Lord and to reach the lost of Fukui.