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Carter Connection June 2019

God’s Kingdom is amazing! It’s so fun to see how He guides and conforms each of our brothers and sisters in our church family to display His glory through us. His power and glory displayed through our feeble faith is magnificent. Thank you Father!

Judy’s Recovery

Over the last several months, many of you have been praying for the recovery of Bethany’s mom Judy, who has undergone some complicated health issues that almost took her life. In our last letter, we were encouraged to report how her health had started on the upswing, and how she was recovering enough for Bethany and the kids to return to Japan.

We continue to be amazed and thankful for her recovery. It hasn’t stopped! In fact, she has recovered to the point where she is able to resume normal life at home! She has a team of doctors who are able to care for her, and for now, is very comfortable with staying in the States without the need to come to live with us in Japan. We fully believe that her recovery has been a direct answer to prayer. We are deeply thankful for your interceding to our Father on her behalf!

Back to Back Events

This year, we held two outreach events within two weeks of each other: our Easter event, and our church cookout. Both events were well attended. For our Easter event, we saw 107 people participate and hear the Gospel through the story of the resurrection. Several young teenagers responded to the invitation for salvation. Praise God! I was also honored to meet several ladies who have trusted Christ, but because of family pressure are unable to come to church. They told me how they study the Bible each week while listening to our sermon podcast, telling me about specific sermons that meant a lot to them.

Our cookout was held a week and a half later, and we were excited to see 84 people attend this year. I always ask a Japanese pastor speak at this event to help dispel the common assumption that Christianity is a Western religion. This year, Pastor Uchijima, from Okegawa Baptist Church presented the Gospel in a powerful way, and several raised their hands indicating a desire to know more about Christ. Over the years, each of these events have become great opportunities for us to share the Gospel with those around us, as well as build relationships with them to show them more of the glory and grace of Jesus.

Keiichiro

One of the ways I seek to build relationships is by teaching English. Keiichiro has been one of my students for the past three years. During that time, we have developed a friendship that has gone beyond studying English, and we often grab lunch together after class to talk together. Although he is a devout Buddhist, he prays with me before every meal as I thank God for our food. Earlier this year, as we were having lunch, Keiichiro told me that he was going to bring his family to our events. True to his word, the whole family came to both Easter and the cookout! Please pray for these dear friends, that they too would become part of God’s glorious kingdom.

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Carter Connection April 2019

One of the joys of the Christian life is the assurance that the path God has prepared for us is designed through His sovereign will to conform us into the image of Jesus. This assurance allows us to trust Him through each twist and turn that He has prepared, knowing that He has all things under His control. Father, thank you for preparing our paths, and then walking with us on it!

God’s path for our family

In January, I shared a little about the health issues that Bethany’s mom Judy was going through, as well as the complexity of our situation in caring for her while serving in Japan. Many of you responded with words of encouragement and prayer, and several of you gave to help cover our financial needs during this time. How blessed we are! Thank you!! Through all of this, we continue to be amazed at how God directs our path. Judy’s health has stabilized well enough for Bethany and the kids to return to Japan while she stays temporarily in an assisted living center. During this time, we were able to get Judy’s visa approved for her to live with us here in Japan. This allows us to continue to serve in Japan and care for her at the same time. This is a huge answer to prayer! Bethany will return to the States at the end of May to finalize Judy’s transition to Japan, and will return with Judy at the end of June. Please pray for the transition process to go smoothly.

Last month, my parents had moved to Kobe, about a 7 hour drive from where we are to help Japanese pastors there. Last week we were saddened to hear of a pastor friend of ours on the other side of Tokyo who passed away due to cancer. To help with the loss of their pastor, my parents have decided to care for the church in their time of grief for the next few months. Please pray for Bousou Grace Baptist Church in their loss, as well as my parents in their pastoral care during this difficult time.

God’s path for Chris and Ping

Chris, an airman from nearby Yokota Air Base, visited our church on a very unique Sunday. It happened to be the Sunday that the pastorate of Akigawa Baptist Church was handed down from my dad to me, back in April of 2015. God’s plan for allowing our paths to join together these last four years could not have been more perfectly timed. He used our friendship to help both of us grow spiritually in so many ways. While in Japan, he married Ping, and it has been amazing to see God’s grace flow so abundantly in their marriage, as well as in their love for their church family. While here, they jumped in with both feet, Chris essentially becoming my right-hand man, and Ping always encouraging and serving the ladies in our church. In February, Chris received orders to return back to the States, and honestly, it was hard to see them go. I’m thankful for the time God allowed our paths to join, and look forward to seeing how God will use them in the path He’s prepared for them.

God’s path for our church family

It’s always my desire to give you a more personal glimpse into our ministry by sharing the stories of those like Chris and Ping that God brings into our lives. That said, there is always a lot going on! Several teens in our church just returned from a nation-wide Baptist youth camp with me, where I was given the opportunity to speak. Our church family is preparing for two of the bigger outreach events of the year: Easter in the end of April, and the church cookout a week and a half later. Both of these events have had attendances from seventy to over a hundred in recent years. Please pray for more Japanese to meet Jesus through these events! Thank you so much for praying for us and our brothers and sisters here in Japan!

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Carter Connection January 2019

Have you ever gone through seasons where the difficulties of life relentlessly reveal how weak you are? Those are the times that remind me to cling to the promise of Jesus when He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Praise Jesus for sufficient grace! Grace that is so overwhelmingly powerful that my weakness becomes the means through which the glory of God is on full display! This has been my prayer: Jesus, glorify YOUR strength in my weakness!

When we don’t know what to do

In our last letter, I asked that you pray for Bethany’s mom Judy, who has been enduring severe medical difficulties. She has continued to be in and out of the hospital over the last two months. Just yesterday, we received some great news that her health is improving, but there are other aspects of her health that still require constant care from Bethany. Bethany is continuing to care for her mom, but she may also need some medical treatment as well. Please pray for the health of both Bethany and Judy.

Because of responsibilities in Japan, it was necessary for me to leave Bethany and our children in the States, and head back to Japan at the end of November. Honestly, these last few months have been very difficult for our family, and we have been constantly relying on the powerful grace of Jesus to give us strength when we are at our weakest and feel the most helpless. Would you pray with us for wisdom and grace? There are a LOT of contingencies to our current situation: financial concerns, church responsibilities as well as other responsibilities here in Japan, how best to care for Judy long-term; these are just on the surface of things that we’re really not sure what the best path for us to take is.

Evidence of Sufficient Grace: My Parents

One of the ways God has been gracious is by making it possible for my parents to be here with me in my family’s absence. Mom has been teaching at the school in Bethany’s place, dad has been working with me on several long overdue projects at the church. Their presence here has been a clear evidence of Christ’s sufficient grace, especially to me, personally!

More Evidence of Sufficient Grace: Christmas Salvations

Just as the grace of God is sufficient for us as a family, God has been overwhelmingly gracious to our church family here in Japan. Throughout the year, we have been showing the love of Jesus through different acts of loving our neighbors. In December our church went to nearby train stations to hand out hot chocolate and invitations to our Christmas Service to people heading home from work. We also invited many family members and friends to come to the service. And wow, was there a great response! For both our children’s Christmas service, and our candlelight service, we had a combined total of 24 visitors to our Christmas service, with 14 of them being first-time visitors. One of the ladies who received hot chocolate brought her family to the service.

Ai san, whom I mentioned in our last letter (which you can read here) also attended! I shared the gospel through the Christmas story, and it was amazing to see hands raised all over the room of people who had a desire to trust Christ! Reiko, a faithful sister in our church has been in continual contact with Ai san, and again witnessed to her over the next week. This Thursday, she told me that Ai san is now a sister in Christ! I reached out to Ai san today and she gave clear evidence of her faith in Christ. Praise the Lord! Ai san (her name means “love” in Japanese) is one of several who trusted Christ during the Christmas season.

How thankful I am that even in our weakness, God continues to add brothers and sisters to our family through the power of the glorious Gospel! Thank you for praying for us! Please keep praying!

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Carter Connection November 2018

TIME. Its firm hold on me is unrelenting. It incessantly drags me along, regardless of my awareness of it, regardless of my willingness to be carried along by it. One day, I will be free from its chains. But while I longingly cast my eyes toward that freedom, I must consistently remind myself of the high value each moment provides, and the high cost of each moment wasted. I’ve been made aware of this reality often in my ministry, especially over the past few months. Lord, help me to redeem my time well.

When Loved Ones Draw Near

Because of the high cost associated with coming to Japan, it’s not often that we get visitors. So when they do come, it’s an honor for us. This is especially true when they are from our home church! Our pastor, his daughter, and two friends came to be with us for about a week, simply to spend time with us and encourage us in our ministry. Wow! If you have missionaries out of your church, I BEG you! Make the investment to send your pastor to see them every few years to encourage them. It is SO worth it! It will allow your pastor to pray more specifically for them, and it will so refresh the hearts of your missionaries!

When Loved Ones Are Apart

Around the time our pastor was with us, we received news that Bethany’s mother Judy had been taken to the hospital. Her condition grew worse each day, and the decision was made to send Bethany back to care for her, as she is the only child. Judy’s condition continued to grow worse, and a week later, Bethany called to let me know that her mom might not make it, and to come to the States as soon as possible. When we arrived a few days later, Judy was in and out of ICU. MANY people prayed for her, and God has graciously and miraculously answered our prayers. While she isn’t “out of the woods” yet, she is out of the hospital and recovering at home. Both of her kidneys are still not functioning and she is requiring dialysis three times a week, as well as constant care from Bethany. Please continue to pray for both Judy for healing, and for Bethany as she cares for her.

When Loved Ones Gather Together

For about a year, our church in Japan has been growing in their Biblical understanding of what it means to be an active, essential part of the body of Christ; that each member has been designed and prepared by God to be a critical, integral part of the body. Part of the evidence of their growth in this was revealed one Sunday afternoon during lunch. The church family was talking about how they could grow in loving others. (I stayed out of this conversation as much as I could to see where it would go.) The result of this conversation was “Friend Day,” a day where they would fully focus on bringing their friends to church. I was so encouraged! So many of our church jumped in to take part in preparing for it. Friend Day was held on October 28, and we had five friends attend the service.

One of the friends, a lady named Ai, was brought by Reiko, a faithful member of our church. On their way home, after hearing the Gospel, Ai san told Reiko that she was SO glad she came because she finally really understood what it meant to be a Christian! Pray for Ai san as we continue to follow up with her.

The need to care for Judy has also been, in God’s providence, a chance for our church family to grow in their roles as active members. In our absence, two of the men are preaching, and many have volunteered to cover our responsibilities. Please pray for them as we have our Thanksgiving service coming up. While my mom is there now to care for the school, and dad will be arriving in Akigawa this week, my desire is that our church family will stay active in serving and growing.

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Carter Connection September 2018

As I see God’s great plan unfold in my life, I’m continually reminded that I’m part of something bigger; much bigger than myself, my ministry, my church, or the area in which I’m serving my Savior. I’m part of God’s plan to glorify Himself through the lives of everyone who is His child. This means that whatever He gives, and whatever He takes away is not only for my good, but also for His glory. I can rest in that. I can be confident in Him. What peace and joy that has given me over the past month!

The Lord Giveth

In our last letter I was able to share how Ikuya Suzuki came to trust Christ (If you happened to miss it, Ikuya Baptismyou can find it here). Since his salvation, it’s been so encouraging to see his steady growth as a child of God. A few weeks later we were having our Sunday lunch with the church family, and Ikuya and I were having a conversation about growing as a Christian. The subject of baptism came up, and I explained to Ikuya why we are baptized as followers of Jesus, and what the meaning of baptism is. I asked him if he was ready to be baptized, and he wholeheartedly affirmed his desire. So a few weeks later, it was my joy to baptize him in the Akigawa River, the river our church is named after! It’s been so encouraging to see them continue to take steps in their growth as God’s children. In the last several weeks, he and his wife Sachiyo have been learning what it means to be members of a church family, and have been growing there as well.

And the Lord Taketh away

 Yuzo SakaiLate Sunday night on August 27, I got a call from the wife of my dear friend and brother in Christ, Yuzo Sakai. She was calling to let me know that God had unexpectedly taken him home to Heaven the night before. This news sent a resounding shock, not only to our church family, but also throughout the Christian community in our area of Japan. Yuzo had made a far-reaching impact for Christ on such a wide scale here. He unashamedly spoke of Jesus’ love to nearly everyone with whom he came in contact. While we are heartbroken to say goodbye for now, we rest in the sweet assurance that he is with our Savior. His wife smiled while telling us that she knew he was having a great time catching up with Noah and Abraham! Please pray for his dear wife and five children as they try to deal with this tremendous loss and adjust to their new normal.

Blessed be the name of the Lord

In all of the joys and sorrows of life, in the peaks and the valleys, we know that our Shepherd guides us, cares for us, and walks with us. And for that, we are thankful. We are also thankful for this bond of brotherhood through which Christ sustains each of us, even across the spans of the oceans between us. While we do not know what the future holds, we know that our future is firmly held in the hands of the Sovereign King!

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Carter Connection July 2018

Summer is in full swing, church camps are just around the corner, many activities and outreaches are being held to introduce people to Jesus. While those things are going on, let me take some time to share how our brothers and sisters in Christ are reaching their friends and loved ones to their Savior.

Bringing Friends to Christ

   In our last letter, I got to share with you the story of Kiyoko Shimizu, who was baptized during our cookout event. She’s been consistently sharing Jesus with those around her. A little over a month ago, she met a co-worker, Mrs. Suzuki who was having difficulty with communication in the work place. (Mrs. Suzuki is Chinese, married to a Japanese man.) Kiyoko befriended her and invited her to come to church with her sometime. A week later, Mrs. Suzuki took her up on the offer and came to church. There she met Ping, one of our faithful members who is also Chinese, and they hit it off as well. Over the last several weeks, Mrs. Suzuki has been faithfully coming, even on days when Kiyoko can’t because of work. She has been intently listening to the Bible being taught, and developing closer relationships with those in our church family. Praise God for Kiyoko’s faithfulness in sharing the Gospel! Please pray for Mrs. Suzuki as she learns more about our Savior.

Bringing Family to Christ

   Let me share another story about a family, which, coincidentally, is also named Suzuki. Yes, it’s a common name here. 🙂 Mrs. Sachiyo Suzuki has been a Christian for many years, and had been attending a church that unfortunately had to close its doors. She started searching for another church to attend, and her husband Ikuya offered to help, although he was not a Christian and had been to church once or twice in his life. In their search, he came upon the website of our church, and he suggested that they attend a service, offering to go with her to check the church out. So the first Sunday of October last year, they came to visit Akigawa Baptist Church. Since that time, Mrs. Suzuki has faithfully attended church. But surprisingly, her husband also started coming; quite frequently! Occasionally he would raise his hand, expressing interest in salvation, but while the interest was there, he wasn’t ready to take that step of faith yet. A few weeks after our church cookout in May, he raised his hand at the end of a Sunday service expressing interest in salvation. As we were preparing to eat lunch (our church family eats lunch together after the service), I sat with him, and asked him what his thoughts were about salvation. He said, “I’ve been seriously thinking I want to trust Jesus for the past two or three weeks.” I asked him, “Well, do you think you’re ready?” He replied, “Yes! I am!” and so while those around us were preparing to break bread with each other, Mr. Suzuki bowed his head and received the Bread of Life!

One day, you will get to meet Ikuya Suzuki. As you give and sacrifice so that missionaries like myself can go, remember why we do this thing called missions. It’s for something that lasts far beyond our sacrifice, far beyond our life on earth. It’s so that people around us can ultimately glorify our Father in Heaven, in receiving the salvation He so graciously offers. One day, you will get to sing the praises of our Savior together with Kiyoko Shimizu, and Ikuya and Sachiyo Suzuki. And it will be glorious!

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

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Carter Connection May 2018

The first half of this year has been such a flurry of events, administrative deadlines and ministry needs, it seems that we have had to rely on our Father to sustain us and uphold us through these last several months more than I can recall in recent years. And yet it is during these times that we again discover that His strength is more clearly seen in and through our weakness; His power is made more real in our frailty. In our struggle to keep our “heads above water,” we are reminded that it isn’t our frantic “paddling” that keeps us afloat. Rather, it’s the calm, sure, ever-present hand of our Father who holds us up.

February Marriage Conference

The population of Japan has shrunk for the seventh consecutive year. Japan has now become the most aged society in the world, and it is primarily because of marriages, and the consequential low birthrate. One of the issues young Japanese Christians face is a very real struggle, first to find godly spouses, and then to know how to have Christ-honoring marriages. In February, several Baptist churches in the Tokyo area held a weekend conference to address these issues and to give Christian singles a Biblical understanding of how to have a Christ-honoring marriage and a God-glorifying home. I was asked to be the speaker this year, and was very thankful for God’s guidance throughout our time together. Please pray for these young Christians in this crucial time that will not only affect their immediate future, but quite literally the future of generations to come.

Youth Camp

At the end of March, I was able to take a group of teenagers to youth camp about 6 hours away, where 15 Baptist churches throughout Japan gather for three days of preaching and teaching. This camp has always been a great encouragement and challenge for our teenagers. Think about this. If the average church size in Japan is between 25 and 30, how many of those who attend are teenagers? More than likely, just a small handful (This is true for most of the churches I know). For many of our teens, they know very few other Christian teens. They are often the only Christian they know of who attends their school. It is very easy for them to feel like Elijah did when he wondered if he were the only one serving God in the land. Can you imagine how much of an impact, how much vigor and strength it will bring your soul to see a hundred other teenagers who love Jesus like you do, all gathered together in one place, lifting your voices in unison as you sing praise to your Father, intently listening with you as the Word is being preached? It changes you. It opens your eyes to the fact that you aren’t alone, that you are actually a part of the Kingdom of God that is great, grand and glorious! As they head back to the rigorous grind of Japanese school, please intercede in prayer for these teens that they would keep glorifying God with their lives.

Easter

The Sunday after we returned from camp, our church had our annual Easter event. For the past several years, we have gathered at a nearby park to hold the event, as it has drawn many more people than can fit at our church building. This year we had an attendance of 89 people. It has continued to be a time for people who have never been to church to not only bring their children to hear the Gospel, but to hear the Gospel themselves. I find it so encouraging to see moms and dads sitting next to their children listening intently to the story of Christ’s resurrection. Please pray that the seed of the Gospel will grow and nurture as it is planted and watered in their hearts.

 

Barbecue Baptism

In January, a lady named Kiyoko Shimizu called me and asked me if it was ok to come to our church. She had been part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and in her study of the Bible, had recognized that their teachings concerning Jesus were wrong. Since that Sunday, she had been coming almost every week, studying and asking questions. After talking with her at great length about her understanding of the Gospel, I had no doubt in my mind that she had clearly trusted Christ. Our church barbecue was approaching, so I asked her if she would like to be baptized in the river next to where we held our cookout. She wholeheartedly agreed. This year we had 90 people come to the cookout. Many of them were unsaved friends and family of our church family who have been coming to the cookout consistently for several years. I believe this year had a bigger impact on many of them as they got to hear a clear presentation of the Gospel, and then seeing the testimony of this dear sister in Christ.

Tsunami 7 year anniversary

March 11 was the seven year anniversary of the great tsunami disaster. After our service on that Sunday, several of our church family drove about 3 hours away to Fukushima to show our support for our Christian brothers and sisters who are still recovering from the nuclear meltdown. While it was a time of solemn remembrance of the many who perished into eternity, it was also a time of encouragement and strength for our dear brothers and sisters who continue to share the gospel with those around them. Please continue to remember them in your prayers: that God would continue to sustain them and uplift them as they shine the light of the gospel of hope to others.

On a personal note, we are greatly looking forward to having our family reunited again! This summer, our oldest son Tyler will be returning to Japan from college for a few months, and my parents will also be returning from furlough. Thanks so much for remembering us in prayer! The notes of encouragement, the quick emails to remind us that you are thinking about us are always such a great blessing to us!

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Carter Connection January 2018

Reflecting on the previous year, I am again humbled by how gracious God has been in allowing and enabling us to share His glory with many here in Japan. The coming year brings great anticipation in seeing the magnificent way in which the goodness of God will lead the lost to repentance (Romans 2:4).

Christmas Service

On Christmas Eve, we held our annual Christmas Candlelight Service. We had 47 come to the service, which we were delighted with, considering many people were out of town due to the holiday weekend. One of the first-time visitors was Mr. Togura, a co-worker of Elizabeth Fujita (one of our Sunday school teachers). It was his first time to any kind of church service. It was clear that the Holy Spirit was working in his heart as he raised his hand for salvation, and one of the men in our church led him to the Lord after the service!

One dear lady had started coming to our church after having left a cult recently. After attending for just a few weeks, she was thrilled to be able to bring her friend who was interested in Christianity. After the service, Bethany sat with them and started sharing the Gospel with her friend. It was so exciting to see her jumping into the conversation herself to share with her friend what she knew about the saving grace of Jesus! Please pray for this dear lady, as the cult is not wanting to let her go easily, as well as for her friend to put her faith in Jesus.

Over the years we have asked you to pray that God would add more Christian men to our church family. During the Christmas service, I was struck by an incredible realization. After the service, we have a time of fellowship and games, including a Christmas present exchange. In the past, the ladies overwhelmingly outnumbered the men in the present exchange. This year, I had an unexpected moment of joy in discovering that we had practically the same number of men as we had ladies! What joy in seeing the continual working of our Father in the midst of our church family!

Men’s Sermon Day

The answer to this prayer continued to be displayed in our first ever men’s sermon day, where I asked our Christian men to take about fifteen minutes each to share a truth from God’s Word on the first Sunday of January. We had three men in our English service speak, and two men in our Japanese service speak. For me personally it was a momentous day to see these steps of growth in our church family! For several of them, it was their first time speaking in front of a church congregation. Please continue to pray for these men as they lead their families, as well as our church family in living for Jesus.

Coming Marriage Conference

The combination of the incredibly low percentage of Christians in Japan (around 0.5%) and the decrease of marriages among Japanese brings to light an enormous need: the lack of Christian families. A second generation Christian whose parents are both Christians is rare to see here. For many young adult Christians, this lack of having stable Christian couples to model a Christian home brings a lot of uncertainty: first in what to look for in a spouse, and secondly in how to have a God-honoring marriage themselves. To address this need, the independent Baptist churches in the greater Tokyo area will be having our first marriage conference in February to help young people have a Biblical understanding of these issues. I have been asked to be the main speaker for the conference, and I covet your prayers for the Holy Spirit’s guidance in preparation for it.

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Carter Connection November 2017

This thanksgiving, as I watched our church family gathered together to thank God for Who He is, and what He has done, the gratitude I felt for how God has directed my family’s path through the years was overwhelming. You are an integral part of that path, and we are deeply thankful for your faithfulness to us.

Mr. Hanagaki

When we first arrived in Japan, we were introduced to Mr. Hanagaki, the owner of a noodle restaurant here in town. (The picture to the left is one I took 14 years ago of Mr. Hanagaki and our oldest son Tyler, two weeks after we arrived in Japan. Tyler, who is in college now, was four years old at the time). Because his noodle shop was busy on Sundays, he rarely had a chance to go to church, but he would often study the Bible with me or dad on Tuesdays, his day off. About three years ago, the Holy Spirit was clearly working in his heart, and not long after, he put his faith in Christ. For the next several years, as much as he could, he would spend time studying the Bible.Last year, he discovered that he had advanced stages of cancer, and that it was beyond treatment. As his condition gradually worsened, he got to the point where he was too weak to do much, so we would just spend time chatting and having spiritual conversation with him each week. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, Mr. Hanagaki went to be with the Lord. He is the only Christian in his family. Daigo, his son-in-law, took over the restaurant last year, and he and I have gotten pretty close. Yesterday, as he and I were reminiscing about Mr. Hanagaki’s life, I was able to have a good Gospel conversation with him. Please pray that as the seed of the Gospel is planted in the heart of Daigo, that he, as well as other members of his family, will also find salvation.

Multilingual Book Studies

 A few months ago, Bethany started up a book study for the ladies in our church, and it has been amazing to see their response. The publisher donated all the Japanese copies that we could use, which was a great blessing, especially when you consider the difficulty in finding good Japanese Christian literature. For many of the ladies, it has been very eye-opening, and they are hungering to learn more. We also have Peruvians and Chinese who are part of our church, and thankfully the book is translated into their languages as well. It’s a very interesting thing to see people reading a book from four languages and then discussing what they learn in Japanese! We were also able to start a men’s book study, and it has been exciting to see how God is using these avenues of discipleship to grow and strengthen the faith of our brothers and sisters here.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we head into the Christmas season. Christmas has always been a great opportunity for outreach here in Japan, and we are excited about the upcoming opportunities to share the good news of our Savior!

 

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Carter Connection September 2017

God has been very gracious to us this summer, both in ministry, and personally. It’s always amazing to see the many ways He provides for us, how He cares for us, how He leads us, how He comforts us, and how He matures us. Our Father is awesome!

Record Rainfall

August was an incredibly wet month for those of us who live in Tokyo. Beginning on August 1, we had rain every day for 21 consecutive days. It was the second-longest wet streak on record for August. The record occurred in 1977, with 22 consecutive rainy days, just one more day than we had this year.

Summer Camp

It was in the middle of this rainy streak that we held our annual summer camp. This is the camp that we asked prayer for in our last letter. It was a 3 day camp that was held with several other Baptist churches in our area. Altogether, there were 63 attenders, including 10 from our church. Thankfully most of the camp was held indoors, and we had only two activities, a bonfire and a canoe outing, that required us to be outside. By God’s grace, the rain literally stopped a few hours before each activity, and then resumed shortly after they were finished!

One of the greater blessings for me personally was to see one of our new Christians, Takamasa Harashima, who was saved last year, attend camp for the first time. He was able to get off work just a few days before camp started, and it was so encouraging to see his joy of meeting Christians from other churches. It was clear that the preaching, as well as the counsel and fellowship he received from other believers, was a great benefit to him. We were reminiscing about camp just a few days ago, and his comment was, “If only I had gone to camp years ago, how different would my life be now!” There are still many in our church who would greatly benefit from this time, and we pray that Takamasa, along with those who attended, will be an encouragement to the rest of our church family in attending next year.

Tyler’s Summer Return

On a personal note, as is the case for many missionary families, our family is very close. It was with heavy hearts that we left our son Tyler back in the States as he began his college studies. Our home church, Landmark Baptist Church in Louisville, generously purchased a round-trip plane ticket for Tyler to spend time with us this summer. For us as a family, it was an incredible encouragement to have our son back! Please keep him in your prayers as he begins his second year of studies.

Conflict with North Korea

Over the past several months, the conflict with North Korea has been escalating. Several rockets have been recently fired over Japan which is causing great concern to many here. Please pray that even in this time of uncertainty, God would give our fellow brothers and sisters not only grace and comfort, but also boldness to share the Gospel. We confidently rest in the assurance that our Father, Who has all things under His control, will use even this conflict to display His magnificent glory!

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