Here are our most recent prayer letters. Enjoy!
If you keep up with our letters, you may notice that this letter sounds a lot like our last letter. And you would be correct. While on the surface, we may not notice much change to our situation, below the surface… our Father is always working. He is faithfully giving grace and strength to those who are His own, while drawing more to Himself through the redemption of His Son! Sigh… Here in Tokyo, it seems that over the last year, it’s been a cycle of our church family getting to enjoy gathering together for brief moments in between long periods of states of emergency. In our last letter, we were just starting another state of emergency that was supposed to last until the end of May. It was ultimately extended until the end of June. We were able to meet for these last three weeks, before Tokyo declared yet another state of emergency. Starting this Sunday, we will be going back to online services until at least the end of August. This means that beginning in September, our church family has only been able to gather together corporately for 8 Sundays this entire year. It has also meant that we’ve been ...Read more
God is so kind and gracious to us! There are times when our efforts in serving our Father, and sharing His Gospel seem to be producing little, if any, fruit. At least from our perspective. And yet, in ways that are beyond our immediate scope of vision, our Father transforms our meager efforts to display His magnificent glory! And one day, we get to see HIS fruit produced through us, that has far surpassed our hope or expectation! Round … Four! In our last letter, we were just about to finish our third COVID state of emergency in Tokyo that had started in the end of December. After three months, in mid-March we were able to gather together once again as a church family. Boy was it good to get back together! As our church family gradually started coming back to the services, after about a month, we were really enjoying seeing our auditorium full of people again. The heartfelt congregational singing was glorious! Just as our church was once again getting into the rhythm and flow of being together again… you guessed it. State of emergency. So far this year, we’ve enjoyed being together for five Sundays. This emergency status was only ...Read more
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. ...Read more
As 2020 draws to a close, it’s definitely been a year in which God has broadened my perspective of serving Him here in Japan. It’s had its share of both trusting Him in the times of foggy uncertainty as well as rejoicing in the moments He reveals his glorious plan for us. What is church like in Japan with COVID-19? From mid-September, Tokyo started allowing people to gather again, although with strict “suggestions” for how a gathering takes place. For a typical church like ours, it means that every church attender wears a mask (not a big a deal here in Japan as this has been a common practice for decades), the windows must remain open to allow airflow (winter will be veeery interesting…), and we must maintain enough space in our seating. This is the most difficult issue, as our main “auditorium” is essentially an oversized Japanese living room, where before COVID seating 30 people was doable but tight. Now, we’re limited to around 15 to 20 in our Sunday gatherings, and use an overflow room when the auditorium gets full. This, along with those in our church family who are either themselves or have family members in the high-risk category, ...Read more
Round 2- Here we Go Again Eight weeks was about all we had. After the three-month COVID-19 emergency status was lifted here in Tokyo, we were excited to finally gather together again on the first Sunday in June. But it didn’t last long. The following month, as people started to get out and about again, the infections in Tokyo started climbing at a very rapid rate. In less than two months, the infections shot up to twice what they were during the peak of the emergency status. This time however, the government chose not to call an emergency status, but did shut down public gatherings, asking everyone to do what they could to help stop the spread. Because our auditorium is very small, and it was already consistently full, we decided to stop gathering and go back to only live-streaming again in August. So how has that affected our church family and our ministry? Digital Outreach Our online outreach has continued to gradually increase, as more people are watching our live-streaming services and listening to the audio podcasts. I am really looking forward to seeing the long-term impact of this aspect of reaching Japanese! Honestly, I feel like I’m getting to experience YOUR end ...Read more