My visit to Japan

Japan is quite a unique place.  Especially as an American coming for a visit, I enjoyed learning about cultural differences and the various things that make Japan what it is.  For me, a basic idea this trip helped reinforce is that everyone is a person with a soul.  The temptation can be there to not care about people because you can’t speak their language or they do things in a weird way sometimes.  But that is not the picture I get when I think of Jesus’ words, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19).  Granted, difficulties that otherwise would not be a problem do arise in foreign countries; however, we are still called to love the people around us.  Below are a few observations about both the people in Japan and my time here. 

Conveyor belt sushi restaurant

Three big differences in Japanese culture (as opposed to America) would the convenience of most things (food especially), the politeness or indirectness or borderline dishonesty people tend to have, and the religion.  Convenience stores and vending machines are everywhere; and even the items sold tend to be better packaged or more easily accessible than the standard American I’m-going-to-rip-this-bag-apart-and-hope-nothing-goes-wrong.  This is quite handy as a foreigner; I am not used to walking into a 7-11 and buying raw fish on rice or a roll of sushi.  A bonus is that those types of foods are actually safe; so one does not have to worry about dying (or being in extreme discomfort) from some random disease caused by rotten fish and the suchlike.  The unfortunate reason behind all this is that Japanese people work too long; they can’t afford not to be convenient.  Even the children have long hours;  they will be walking home in their uniforms at 5:30 in the evening, or making their way to school at 8:00 on a Saturday morning for extra-curricular activities.

Culture Day Spread

Another main difference I have seen is the politeness factor; I think it is spoiling me a bit.  People always say thank you when you buy something, and they often repeat it a couple times throughout the process of buying something.  I felt rude the other day when I walked out of a cafe after having a drink (honey milk latte, for the curious ones) and neither I nor the cashier thanked each other.  This politeness, however, has a downside.  People tend to not say what they actually think.  I was trying to think of American desserts (ended up making banana bread) to make for a culture day for one of Brian’s classes, and he told me that one idea would be too sweet for them.  “They will lie in your face and tell you they love it, but they won’t like it at all.”  That is the downside of the politeness people have.

Christianity is not a popular choice for religion (less than 1% of the population).  The two biggest religions are Shinto and Buddhism.  Unfortunately, I don’t think they think about what they believe on a regular basis.  Japan places heavy priority on respect for elders, and I think that people tend to believe what their parents tell them without actually thinking about it.   The result is that few people have hope.  The suicide rate is higher than it should be because of that lack of hope and the workload being too much.  Overpasses over railroads will have chainlink fences on the sides so people can’t jump over the side.  It would be too convenient to do it there.  It’s quite sad. 

While the differences can be glaring at times, there are definitely some similarities between America and Japan.  Both are first-world countries with a large amount of modern technology.  Both are educated, with an emphasis on going to university.  English is somewhat cool over here, so there are definitely English signs and names sprinkled about (for better or for worse; some English is laughably awful).  Food seems to be about the same or cheaper here, but the overall cost of living is higher than in most places in America.  

A pool at Eiheiji Temple

I would say this trip was a vacation, work trip, and educational experience all at the same time.  I did my share of touristy things, and I saw some fascinating things as a result.  For example, I just recently went to Tojinbo.  Tojinbo is a gorgeous set of cliffs by the ocean; unfortunately, it is known partially for the number of people who commit suicide there.  So beautiful, but so sad at the same time.  It seemed to be that way with many of the places I went.  Eiheiji is a beautiful Buddhist temple complex; while it is a great spot to take pictures, it is also a place where many people are in spiritual bondage.  Those are just two of a plethora of places around Japan that are great to visit but sad to think about.  

The English class I joined for a few weeks

The work I did wasn’t exactly what I was used to, but I mainly did various small things that helped out Brian and Mia.  Water the garden, label tracts, do dishes occasionally, make powerpoints, hand out tracts, etc.  I did do some pretty unique things at times; I recorded conversations with Brian for an English class, I played ocarina at a nursing home, and I helped a native Japanese gentleman teach an English class for elderly folks (youngest one was approximately 66 years old).  The trip didn’t lack in variety, at least in the work department.

Brian and Mia’s church

I felt like I learned a good amount about some different things this trip.  I learned a bit of the Japanese language and culture, which I found to be quite an enjoyable experience.  The fact that everyone is a person with a soul was another concept that I felt like I learned a bit more about.  Something I feel Brian and Mia exemplified and welcomed was honesty.  I learned rather quickly that they would prefer my actual opinion instead of a polite but mildly dishonest answer.  Having been given the opportunity to share my testimony multiple times, I thought quite a bit about my own experience as a Christian.  What things has God taught me?  What is He trying teach me now?  How can I encourage these people who live on the other side of the world and have never been in contact with a community like the Mennonite culture?  I don’t think about these things as often as I should; therefore, I appreciated the opportunity this trip gave me to leave what was normal and go off “into the wild.”  It made me think outside of my standard thought patterns, and it gave experiences I didn’t ever think I would get.  An introverted homebody like me gets to go off for five weeks and live in another country with people I have never met in a place I have never been?  Not what I thought would happen a year or two ago.  Then again, had I seen what God had laid out for my future a couple years ago, I probably would have laughed and said, “That’s never happening.”  But God has a plan; thankfully, it’s better than my own.   

I will be a little sad to leave Japan.  I greatly enjoyed my time here, both in the country and with the Spratts.  I had some awesome experiences here, but I know it will be good to be back home again.  I will see things a bit differently, and I know I will be thankful to be able to read things in my own language again.  But part of being away from your own culture is realizing what you do have.  It can be hard to know what you have until it’s gone.  Anyway, before I ramble on too much longer, huge thanks to Brian and Mia for hosting some kid they had never met before.  Thank you to those who supported this trip, whether through monetary means or messages of support or prayers.  All were very much appreciated.  Thanks be to God as well, for He made everything work out.  Arigatou gozaimasu, Japan, arigotou gozaimasu (imagine me bowing slightly awkwardly and leaving).

Sayonara Japan

2 Corinthians 13:11 – Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Hello to all of you as I prepare to say goodbye to Japan and the wonderful hosts I’ve had here. I am leaving early tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, so this will be my final blog post. I’m still trying to figure out how this time went by so fast. I’m certainly going to miss being here!

The past three weeks have remained busy with the weekly Pocket Ministry as well as several other ministry opportunities. I would like to request prayer for one specific individual who we got a chance to witness to this past Friday during the Pocket Ministry. His name is Carlos, a Brazilian who has been living in Japan for 10 years. We had a conversation with him for over half an hour. Please pray that he would accept Jesus’ wonderful gift of salvation.

The children during their lesson at Mamma Mia

A ministry we helped with last Saturday was Mamma Mia. This is a place where mothers can bring their children for several hours. We sang a few English children’s songs with them, we taught them some animal names in English, one of the Japanese ladies taught them a lesson about Jesus, and lastly everyone had lunch together. This is a great opportunity to teach the children about Jesus while they’re still young!

Hannah with her new friend Airi from the orphanage

This past Sunday, we had another opportunity to go to the orphanage that I mentioned in my last blog post. The kids helped carve out pumpkins, and they also made little bags for candy that we later passed out. Something that blessed me was the fact that I had 2 little boys come sit on my lap for a while, and I couldn’t talk to either of them in their language. That reminded me that these children just want to be loved. They might not have even known that I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but that didn’t stop them from smiling and having fun!

Eiheiji Temple

Several weeks ago, we got to visit the Eiheiji Temple, a Buddhist temple here in Fukui Prefecture. It was quite fascinating to see the monks there going about their duties. Another interesting thing to watch was the people giving their offerings, burning incense, and praying either to the gods or their deceased family members. It is important that we keep these Japanese people in our prayers. We can pray that their eyes would be opened and that they would see and know the One True God.

Earlier this month, we were invited to represent the United States at what’s called a “Global Festival”, which was held outside the Fukui train station. This was an event put on by the city of Fukui. It featured people from many different countries showcasing the different cultures from throughout the world. At our table, we set up an English Bible verse that we use for the Pocket Ministry, and many people were able to read it and ask any questions they had. This opened up opportunities to talk to many people about the Bible. Brian and Mia have been invited to join them at another event in a few months.  We are praising God for this open door with the city! Please pray for continued opportunities with the city in the future.

I want to give a special thanks to Brian and Mia (and Hannah, too, of course!) for their incredible hospitality during my time here. I have grown spiritually and have been encouraged tremendously! I pray that God has worked through me to make an impact in the lives of the people here and, most importantly, that all the glory has been given to Him.

Thanks for all of your support! May God bless you all!

A Glimpse Into My First Month In Japan

For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:4-5

Hello, everybody! Donovan here. It’s so hard to believe that it’s been a little over 3 weeks since I got here! Thank you to all of you who have been praying for my time here. I believe that there are many ways that God can do work through me while I’m here, and your prayers are certainly a big part of that!

Brian and Mia have made me feel so welcome, and I can’t thank them enough for that. It didn’t take long for me to feel like part of the family. For about the first week I was here, Hannah wasn’t so sure about me; but she has definitely gotten used to having me around. I have acquired the title “niichan”, which means big brother. I am loving my time of having a little sister, even if it is only for 2 months!

This is Natsuki. She is from the city hall, where we acquired the permit for this ministry. She has come to the “Pocket” all 3 weeks we have been there. She is very interested in returning for more English practice! Please pray that her eyes and heart are opened to the Lord through this ministry.

My first 2 weeks here I stayed busy with preparation for the Pocket Ministry (formerly known as the Train Ministry) that we recently started. That involved things like helping with printing out questions and answers, laminating all the questions and answers, and also organizing the different categories and levels. The Pocket Ministry is held every Friday evening from 5PM to 7PM in a passageway leading from the main street to a covered outdoor shopping plaza of sorts. The place we have a permit for to do the Pocket Ministry is called Galleria Pocket, hence the new name for the ministry. We pass out flyers to people walking by and invite them to come practice their English with us. When someone is up for the challenge, they pick a category (vocabulary, general, prepositions, etc.) and a level of difficulty, ranging from 1 to 5. They then read the question in English and try to figure out the correct answer (each question is taken from a Bible verse and has up to 4 choices for the answer). Once they are finished, we give them a gospel tract and a chocolate as a little gift. We have done the Pocket Ministry for 3 weeks now and have had a fair amount of people showing interest in taking a little bit of time to practice their English. The goal for this ministry is to get people like Natsuki (pictured on right) to come back every week so we can spend more time talking to them about Christ. Please pray that those who read the verses and gospel tracts will be able to understand them and, as a result, give their lives to Christ.

Organizing questions for the Pocket Ministry

We were able to join a group of volunteers in helping out at a local orphanage for several hours this past Sunday afternoon. We sang with the children, helped them with a craft, and also played a game with them. Going to the orphanage is a once-a-month occurrence, and this was the first time we were able to go. We hope to continue this ministry of spending time with the children and showing them that they are loved. We had such a good time with the children, even though it did get rather noisy at times. It was so heartbreaking to see their sad faces when it was time for all of us volunteers to leave. Please pray that these children can feel the presence of their Heavenly Father.

Singing at the oprhanage

One of the most difficult things for me so far has been the language barrier. It can get discouraging at times, like at the Pocket Ministry or at the orphanage when I want to be able to talk to people, but I can’t. Romans 12:4-5 has been a good reminder for me though. If you didn’t catch it at the beginning of the post, it says, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” While I’m here in Japan, I can’t necessarily be the mouth since I have a very limited Japanese vocabulary, and I can only learn a fairly small amount of Japanese in two months. On the bright side, I can still serve as the hands or maybe the feet of the body of Christ. Whether that’s behind the scenes work for the Pocket Ministry or playing games with the children at the orphanage even though I can’t really talk to them, I can still have an impact on the ministries we are involved in as long as I do my part. If each part of the body of Christ works together, much can be accomplished. I may not be able to speak Japanese fluently, but that isn’t going to stop me from letting God work through me to have an impact while I’m here.

Suwa Yakata-ato Garden at the Asakura Family Ruins

I have been able to experience some of the Japanese culture and also some of the beautiful scenery! For example, last Saturday, we spent the day out and about. First we went a Shinto shrine that was having a matsuri festival, celebrating the Autumn Equinox. Then for the rest of the day, we visited the Asakura Family Ruins, a castle town that that was thriving way back in the 1500s. It was very fascinating to see a real-life imitation of how they lived when the town was thriving. I look forward to taking in more of the beauty God created in Japan!

Overall, I have been thoroughly enjoying my time here. I can’t wait to see, learn, and eat many more things while I’m here. I look forward to seeing what else God will do in me and also through me during the second half of my trip! Thank you all so much for praying!

All Things (Done) Work Together For Good

And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Jam 2:16

So far this has been an exceptionally busy summer for everyone. With residential updates, paperwork, taxes, paperwork, ministry, and more paperwork, we have a lot to report. First, I guess I’ll start with the things here in Japan.

With having passed the cusp of 1 year of residence, there has been a tremendous amount of things to do, change, and update. First of all was our visas themselves. Normally teachers have 3 year visas – though we were only granted 1 year ones with our school, so we had to get them renewed. Also, we are increasingly left to ourselves to handle local affairs (like this), without the help of a translator. The mandatory help that we were given was also not until one day before our visas expired – increasing the pressure significantly. After going back and forth to two towns about four times in a couple of days, we were thankfully barely able to get out visas extended on the very last day before we would have been staying illegally in the country. With the way that it was handled, we now see why Immigration apparently only gives us at our school a year at a time! – We were again only given a 1 year visa. Next time we hope to take the initiative ourselves to avoid so much of trouble. Phew.

Also because of staying here for over a year, we now are expected to pay Japanese-level residency taxes (in addition to the national insurances). What we have read is true – because of the now-severe age and work imbalance in Japan, both premiums are extremely high, making family life a financially difficult one. We are no longer exempt from this burden.

Our new bedroom. This apartment costs about the same as the old one, but with much more space

To help ease some of the expense, (again, because a year has passed) we have been able to get released from some of our contracts, though with some penalties. We changed cell phone carriers, got a credit card, and also moved to downtown Fukui from Eiheiji. In the long-term this will lower our expenses, but it has incurred a lot of upfront costs. Also, in Japan, changing residence cities is a big deal. You have to take countless steps to prove that you’re leaving in good standing with your current town, show proof of your payments/finances, etc. Then you have to cancel your insurance and registration in that town, shut-off your typical utilities, and terminate your rental agreement. After that you then have to re-register everything in your new town. The Japanese say it’s difficult – and that’s with being fluent in Japanese. This also nearly all had to be done without a translator, and we thank the Lord very much that it is all basically all done with! With that said, if you need it, please see our new address here, or you can find it on the blog menu.

2Chome13-5 3rd Floor
Bunkyo, Fukui City
Fukui Prefecture, Japan 910-0017

When I said earlier that “everyone” has been busy, I don’t just mean the three of us. We certainly need to acknowledge the very very hard work of the others who have been physically laboring greatly over our affairs in the States! There has been trouble both handling and keeping a reliable tenant in our trailer, and it has been both a financial stress as well as a constant burden for those involved. Though it wasn’t an easy decision, we agreed to sell our home. We want to praise the Lord that it was sold speedily and should no longer be the continual problem that it was on everyone. The sale is also very timely as it will help offset the problems mentioned above. Thank you to all of you who had a part to help with this. By helping us be free of financial and other burdens it frees us to focus much more on doing what we need to to spread the gospel to the lost in Japan. Thank you.

Four varied drawings of a Bible scene

In regards to ministry, we have a couple of updates. We received the first clothing shipment we ordered for outreach. Mia first created these for general evangelism, though we also plan to use them in conjunction with a new train ministry that we hope we can do
very shortly. They simply invite people to converse with us in English, while using the Bible to teach them. There is also a friend in the U.S. who is currently working on artwork for the Bible train evangelism. We are really looking forward to starting these first real evangelistic projects, and we ask for your prayers for the Holy Spirit to draw men unto the Lord through them! We are also in the process of figuring out the legalities required to do this, and we appreciate your prayers for wisdom and an open door. We are also very appreciative to the family who volunteered to pay for this project. We know the Lord will bless you just as much for doing your part for the Kingdom! Some in the Body of Christ are the feet, while others are the hands.

Mia’s long sleeve version of one of the shirts

Additionally, we are very excited to have one of the young men from our church join us for a little while for a missions trip to Fukui! He has a great heart for the Lord, and we are both praying for and looking forward to what God will do through him while he is here! Please pray for him and his journey!

Mia (and Hannah??) sanding and beginning prep for the guest room.

Also as a quick update from my last post: I did have several tests performed at the hospital. It was apparently true that the American doctor performed a surgery on something I never had, and that my symptoms are the result of my muscles not properly healing from a childhood operation. There may not be a way to repair the problem, and I may just have to adapt my life so not to further injure myself. Well, at least it’s an answer. In everything we thank the Lord!

Well, this was a rather long post, but thank you for reading it. As Autumn approaches there are many “spiritual” events coming up (including Obon (See HERE for a report from last year), and we ask for your prayers for the countless here that are deceived by the devil, that their eyes may be opened to the Lord.

LASTLY – below is a copy of the video update shown in church last week, for those who were interested who didn’t get to watch it.



Just One More Soul

Then the master said to the servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind”. (Luke 14)


Blossoming Trees at Green Park

Winter is finally starting to wane here, and with it, the bitter cold nights (and days). The temperatures only go as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or so, but there are a couple of factors that make cold’s effects more pervious. We are literally surrounded by water, live about 25 minutes from the ocean, and with the lack of westernized heating, it can be a task just to use the toilet in the next room! A majority of the space in living and work areas are usually not conditioned in the winter or summer, leaving sometimes a huge temperature difference between rooms. Even after a certain time of the evening, if workers aren’t done working yet, bosses will completely turn off the conditioning, forcing employees to work faster in sometimes difficult conditions. Actually, that’s one thing I wanted to mention in this month’s post.


The Japanese have an incredible work ethic – certainly the greatest I know of in the world. They rarely allow idleatry into their lives; laziness and selfishness as extremely frowned upon. Mia and Hannah have both been sick recently, so I needed to postpone an evening class this past week. This was such a big deal, that Hiroko personally contacted the company’s manager to make an apology, and I also made a formal one in person. Hiroko fell in a convenience store a little while ago and also recently slipped a disk in her back, but has refused to stop working even though she can hardly sit down. Moriai, my Japanese counterpart, has spent a few nights this past month almost entirely without sleep because of work. While the ethic is very admirable, it is also extremely hazardous. Many employees are expected to work six days a week, and over 12 hours a day.


Fencing to help prohibit suicide jumping.

Moreover, Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Recently, a man who worked for a well-known company committed suicide. The authorities declared it “death from overwork” – and this is not an unusual occurrence. There is a forest named あおきがはら (aokigahara) at the base of the famous Mt. Fuji, and is nicknamed the “Suicide Forest”, where hundreds of people a year go to end their lives. Japan as a whole, has almost 10 people commit suicide every day. The country has been taking measures to lower the “workaholic” situation, but it isn’t working. They even started a new initiative recently called “Premium Friday”, where workers are expected to go home early on the last Friday of each month. This past Friday I was in a supermarket and they were advertising this over the loud speakers. I asked one of the clerks how they liked it – she responded, “oh, unfortunately, we don’t do that”. I have gotten that response from every person I’ve spoken to in Japan about it.


Perhaps somewhat correlated, many young people in Japan don’t want to get married, and the country has acknowledged that is now in a population crisis as a result. Marriage is practically treated as a handicap (even in our situation), and the family relationship that we know is almost unheard-of in Japan. I have a class of older ladies that I teach, and when discussing the topic of “Premium Friday” as an English lesson, we discussed the pros and cons of being a workaholic. One of their answers was that the husband is never home; he has to spend a majority of his time away from his family and can’t even eat together with them. I was surprised by this answer, but not because it was a con, but because it was a pro. On top of it, they unanimously agreed and further elaborated. They all explained how the family is more like a pragmatic relationship than an affectionate one, and how the marriage relationship is more of a negative burden than anything – it gets in their way. Despite their general acknowledgment of this problem, they are still stuck in a cycle of life with no purpose or goal that they cannot get freedom from. This is a big obstacle for us to break through, but “if the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”. Please continue to pray for their hearts to be opened.


Many past missionaries have stated throughout time that Japan is different from other mission fields. The Japanese are persistent, isolated, and driven in their work-related goals. This is extremely true. It is so true, in fact, that it is not rare to be “cut-off” by a Japanese person, both in person (like at a store) or in a vehicle, and they not even notice (this is something that still perplexes us both)! Therefore, missionaries have proposed that you cannot publically reach-out with out-reach ministries, but must take a different approach, to show them Christ. We’ve been told that preaching and traditional, Bible-based methods “just don’t work”.


We’ve prayed about and considered this thought for some time. Against my feelings, I couldn’t help but agree. Even the apostle Paul became like who he ministered to (I Cor 9:19-22). So we’ve conceded to the thought that we cannot reach many for Christ in traditional ways, but must slowly, reach the few through personal relationships. However, with somewhat better Japanese and the coming of Spring, the Lord has given a couple of opportunities to witness to children. It was enlivening. It was refreshing. It was also terribly burdening. Several times thoughts have come to me in prayer about the many that we “cannot reach”. It’s been said that if we try to reach those that we don’t first have a strong relationship with, that it will be a waste of time, and probably not work. This has never stopped bothering me, until a recent conversation Mia and I had.


It may be fact that 98% of the country is on their way to hell without Christ. It may be fact that a majority of our efforts will return unfruitful. It may also be fact that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt 19), but does that mean we ignore the rich? Absolutely not. It is also true that, “if you shoot for nothing you will get it every time”. If we focus on only our influence on our inner-circle of people, the otter-circle will never hear. But if we obey God’s command to “preach the gospel to every creature”, the Word of God will not return unto him void. If we spend a lifetime in “our father’s business”, and only one or two people ever accept Christ as their Lord, is that a “waste of time”? Men look “on the outward appearance”, and “mega churches” fill the globe. But God is not concerned about numbers. As in the tale of Gideon, or Saul, or when David numbered the people, and it was treated as sin against the Lord; we cannot concern ourselves with the outward probability of “success”. Many a missionary have left Japan discouraged because of the lack of visible fruit, but if God’s Spirit is working on a person’s heart, does it matter what culture or statistics say? Is not God able to break through any barrier, no matter how strong? As we receive courage, we hope that you too will be encouraged to do what you can to actively tell others about Christ, no matter what you see or don’t see. God is pleased to see his children love and serve him. We must leave the results to God.


I have been so grieved lately about seeing people in the park, or elsewhere, conversing with them, and them leaving without sharing the hope of the gospel at all, afraid of what nearly everyone says will be the expected result. I remember walking away from a particular group of young people thinking, “I didn’t witness to them, and now probably no one else in the world will, either”. In Japan it’s really true – if you don’t do it, no one else will – because there is no one else. From this point on we’ve decided to disagree with what statistics say, and do what we can to reach them, even if “narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life”. Though, without denying that Japan needs a difference approach, I’ve been asking God for just the right thing. Though the Japanese people may be closed for the most part, they have a large interest in English. Children are especially excited to try their hand at what they know when they see us. It’s not uncommon to hear an enthusiastic “HAlow!!!”, when passing a group of boys or girls.  Young adults and families, too, are intrigued to interact with a foreign speaker. A gospel tract from my youth came to my mind. It was a very simple and tiny booklet entitled, “Smile! God loves you!”, with nothing but a yellow smiley on the front. Each page contained either a spiritual thought or Bible verse. So I prayed and asked God to clearly show me the way if it was his will as I began to search for this long-lost tract. It turns out that it’s been out-of-print for five years, but during my search I came across something different – “Motion Tracts”.

Motion Tract: Is Sin Separating You From God?

Motion Tracts use what’s called lenticular printing. You’ve probably seen something like it on advertising materials or different things, but it is a great idea for portraying a short gospel message while teaching a couple of English words like Sin, Separate, Death, and Life. We contacted the company that makes these, and it looks like it was the perfect timing, for a few reasons. We are currently waiting for the company to receive a shipment of several brand new types of these tracts in the next week or so for us to review, and it looks like we have a green light to order them in a couple of weeks. We are extremely excited to start using these, and we ask for your prayers for wisdom, and for the Holy Spirit to work on the hearts of people to receive them.


This has already been a long post, but we thank you so much for your support and your time to read it. I would also like to solicit your prayers for Hannah. Mia and Hannah have both gotten sick recently, but Hannah has something more. She has, what we’ve believe to be whooping cough, for the last two+ months, but it isn’t getting better as expected.  We took her to a doctor and got medicine, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. At brief times she actually has difficulty breathing after sometimes a long bout of coughing, and it doesn’t seem to be the traditional things that most have considered. We’ve been recommended to take her to a specialist if it doesn’t get better once the medicine is used-up in a couple more days. Thank you for your prayers for her, as well!


Again, blessings to you as you serve the Lord where you are, and if you need prayer for anything as well, please let us know here, on Facebook, by phone, e-mail, or however!


“If just one more soul were to walk down the aisle, it’ll be worth every struggle, it’ll be worth every mile. A life time of labor is still worth it all if it rescues just one more soul!”

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.