Here are our most recent prayer letters. Enjoy!
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 ...Read more
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 ...Read more
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 ...Read more
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 ...Read more
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 ...Read more