Here are our most recent prayer letters. Enjoy!
For us, it’s been just over two months. Like most churches around the world, we also found the necessity to change the way we meet. And while the change has been difficult, it has helped our church family to grow in ways we didn’t expect. How COVID-19 Affected our Nation At the end of March, just a few weeks after our last prayer letter, Tokyo essentially shut down. And for good reason. The rampant spread of the COVID-19 in other large cities, and the fact that we were one of the most condensed cities in the world reflected the oncoming doom that many in our city felt. This also came with the realization that Japan has the highest proportion of elderly in the world, with 1/3 of the nation being over 65 years old. It didn’t look good for us. Yet God was very gracious to us. While there was a significant infection of COVID-19, it didn’t spread nearly as much as everyone was fearing. And while there were a lot of unknowns because of the lack of testing, the deaths were proportionately few in comparison to other cities. This may have had a lot to do with the culture here, with ...Read more
Over the past month we’ve seen a wide range of responses, from careless ignorance to unfounded hysteria concerning the corona virus pandemic. It is in these times that our church family (and I’m sure your church family as well) has been reminded of how our eyes must be firmly set on our Heavenly Father, Who is in control of all things, and Who deeply loves His children. We can confidently rest in His care for us, and by faith ask Him for wisdom to guide each step of our paths. How is the corona virus affecting us here in Japan? Because of its proximity to China, Japan is a popular tourist destination for Chinese. This undoubtedly had a lot to do with how quickly the corona virus made its way to Japan. During the initial stages of the virus entering Japan, not much could be done, simply due to not knowing the characteristics of the virus. About two weeks ago, steps to prevent the spread of the virus started ramping up significantly. Schools have closed for a month (including the two weeks scheduled for spring break), and most sporting and social events have been cancelled to prevent large groups of people from ...Read more
Now that the holidays are over, we’re all settling back into the rhythm of another new year. But with this rhythm is a renewed anticipation. What is God going to choose to do with me this year to display His glory? I can’t wait to find out! Unexpected Guests Miho has been a faithful part of our church family for over twelve years. She is constantly involved in helping any way she can, and there is rarely an outreach event that she isn’t part of. But while she has been growing as a Christian, she has also been bearing the burden of her unsaved family, particularly her husband. When she became a Christian, her husband had forbidden her to get baptized, threatening divorce if she ever did. But for some reason he was ok with her coming to church every week. And so while submitting to her husband’s demands, she has continued to faithfully live out the Gospel in her family life. For our church’s Candlelight Christmas, I asked Miho to operate the PowerPoint for the service. The service was well-attended with many visitors, including 7 first-time guests. But there was one guest that we didn’t know about until later that night. ...Read more
For most churches, whether in the States or abroad, November and December bring many opportunities to share the Gospel with those around us. Here in Japan, it’s no different, and we’re excited for the opportunities God brings us! Upcoming Events Here at Akigawa Baptist Church, we have a plethora of opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus and help our brothers and sisters grow in His grace. In the next eight weeks, we’ll be having a 1) Thanksgiving outreach event, we’re launching a new 2) midweek discipleship course, holding a 3) children’s Christmas event as well as a 4) Christmas outreach event, and preparing for a 5) ski camp with Tokyo area Baptist churches. Along with the weekly ministry responsibilities, these events give us a full plate for sure, but a plate for which we’re thankful to have a part. Our church family has been busy preparing for these outreach events and inviting family and friends to join these events, which have been very instrumental in sharing the Gospel with hundreds of people throughout the years. As a side note, these events are probably very similar to the November/December schedule for your church. As you pray for us, keep your pastors in mind ...Read more
As we approach the end of summer, we are so thankful for how God has given us the grace we need to serve Him over the last several months. Fall brings many opportunities to serve, and more opportunities to trust in His grace! Summer Family Camp August is the only month children have summer vacation. Because of that, it’s the busiest month for travel in Japan. The second week of August is the peak of that travel rush, but for a different reason. It’s called “Bon week.” It’s the week everyone travels back to their home town to celebrate and worship their ancestors, who are believed to return from the dead during this week. This is probably one of the most difficult weeks for your Japanese brothers and sisters here in Japan, as the families’ expectation for them to worship their ancestors can be intense. Several Baptist churches in the greater Tokyo area use this national holiday to encourage their church families by providing an opportunity to spend time with Christians from other church families. This year, Pastor Uchijima (who spoke at our church cookout) and I were given the opportunity to speak. It was so encouraging to see men, ladies, and ...Read more