Thanks so much for how you faithfully pray for us and partner with us! It seems that 2021 is turning out to be another interesting year; a year in which we once again get to put our full confidence and trust in our Heavenly Father as He sustains us and cares for us through life’s twists and turns.
The Third Shutdown
In our last letter, I was able to share how last September we had the joy of reuniting as a church family to gather for services. Unfortunately, as the New Year holiday went into full swing, the COVID infection numbers in Tokyo started increasing dramatically. So in early January, the government once again decided to declare yet another emergency status for Tokyo. Part of this is due to how condensed the population of Tokyo is. There is also a massive effort to salvage the Summer Olympics which were scheduled to be in Tokyo last year, but because of COVID have been rescheduled for this spring. Maybe.
For us as a church family, it means that, once again, we would have to abstain from gathering together for services. So during this time, we have resumed internet only services via Facebook Live and YouTube. Our church family is able to gather during the week in small group settings, so we are taking advantage of that as much as we can. The emergency status is scheduled to continue until March 7, so we have just a little bit left.
During this time, we needed to take a short trip back to the States to care for a hurting loved one. By God’s grace and providence, because our church was doing online services, I was virtually able to be on both sides of the planet at the same time. I was able to pastor our church family as well as care for our family in the States. Thank you, Father!
A Resource Hub for Japanese Ministries
For those of us who speak English, having a plethora of great biblical resources to help you shepherd your church family is a huge benefit and blessing. Because of the small number of believers here in Japan (less than 1% of Japanese consider themselves Christians), those resources are much harder to come by for those who pastor Japanese churches. Many of our fellow-laborers here have a much harder time finding resources that are designed for the Japanese people. For a while, it has been my desire to do something to help our national pastors and missionaries here to have access to things that will help them as they shepherd their church families. So this January, we launched a resource hub called kyoukaihelp.com. (“Kyoukai” means “church” in Japanese.)
While still in its early stages, I am looking forward to seeing how it will provide an opportunity for pastors and missionaries here in Japan to be able to share things they have learned in reaching and shepherding the Japanese, as well as to share resources they have found useful in their ministries that would help others. Please pray for this aspect of ministering to the Japanese! And pray for our church family as we look forward to gathering once again in March!
Thank you for how you care for us by going to the Father on our behalf and giving so that your brothers and sisters here can be encouraged and strengthened!
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