Have you ever been so busy that it was hard to “keep your head above the water?” We definitely entered that phase over the past few months with the many ways God has allowed us to serve Him! I’ve abandoned the “keeping my head above water” phrase for the more appropriate “Thanking God for scuba gear.” 🙂 Even in the busyness of all that God allows us to be a part of, He continually gives us grace to abide in Him, and He in us! Because of the futility of sharing all that has happened in one page, may I present… THE DOUBLE FEATURE EDITION!!
Easter Record Breaker
For us, Easter is such an exciting time. In a culture where death is rarely discussed because of the insecurities that encompass it, it is a time where we as Christians can boldly and joyfully proclaim Christ’s victory over death and the grave. In a nation where Christianity is such a small part of the culture, the celebration of the resurrection of Christ has
surprisingly started to draw a curious interest to many Japanese over the last several years. For the last four years, before our Easter services, we’ve held an Easter egg hunt followed by a Gospel presentation as an opportunity for our church family to invite their friends and families to hear a clear Gospel presentation of the Resurrection.This year, we had the highest ever attendance of any single day in the history of our church with a total of 110 people who came to the different services throughout the day!
It was a special day for us as we saw many whole families attend and parents sitting alongside their children as they listened intently to the Gospel being preached.
A Visit from a Dear Friend
I was standing at the train station one morning in March, waiting for the train to take me to our Christian school to preach chapel when I got a call from the States. Chris Stansell, a missionary evangelist who has been praying for us for years, called to see if he could come be a help to us for a few weeks. I was thrilled! A month later he arrived in Japan bringing several suitcases full of greatly needed, and greatly appreciated supplies and gifts (including cereal!). During his time here in Japan, he was a great encouragement to us as a family and to our church as well. We were blessed by his singing and preaching and our school was helped with the voice lessons he taught, and was also greatly challenged by his preaching. Two young students gained assurance of their salvation during chapel. During his time here, we were able to visit several other churches as well and God used the time with them to both encourage us and those to whom we ministered.
In the beginning of May, we held our annual cookout and tent meeting which has evolved into quite a big event. Over the last several years we have consistently had around 70 people attend the event. On the day before we hold the event we always cut the grass along the river to clean it up and set up tents for the big day. Each year, several people from the area have stopped by to thank us for cutting the grass for the community. 🙂 We let them know about the cookout, and always invite them to come. Last year, one neighbor, Mr. Kudo, saw all the preparation work and actually started to help us set up the tents. He was having so much fun that I invited him to the cookout! He and his wife came and had a great time, and even volunteered to cook the burgers with other church folks! We were able to get to know each other throughout the year and when the time came for the cookout this year, he was all in again. He and my other neighbor, Norio (whose wife got
saved last year), are good friends and they spent the day helping me and dad haul equipment and cut grass. With A LOT of our church family helping out, the preparation day became a great time of fellowship.
The cookout this year was fantastic. We had 68 people come, with 43 visitors, 16 of whom were first-time guests. I asked my friend, missionary Nathan Kinoshita to preach and he gave a clear, powerful presentation of the Gospel. While no one made a profession of faith in Christ that day, the seed of the Gospel was planted for some and nurtured for others. There were several husbands there who rarely come to church, including one husband whose attendance was the first for any event we’ve held! We were greatly encouraged by the involvement of our church family and the amount of unsaved family members and friends that were invited. Please keep praying that God will continue to work in their hearts! It truly is a long process involving many, many years of relationship building as we strive to see them to come to Christ.
Mom and Dad’s 40th Ministry Anniversary
Of all the people to whom I am indebted spiritually, the greatest debt would BY FAR go to my parents, Dave and Glenda Carter. They have been faithful, steadfast servants who have served God in a nation where many long years must be dedicated for each soul that is won for Christ. This year begins their 40th year of ministry in Japan, and many of us who have been touched by their faithfulness wished to express our thanks to them for their dedication. Our church, Akigawa Baptist Church, and our sister church, New Life Baptist Church (which was also pastored by dad, and whose current pastor was saved and trained under their ministry), held a surprise celebration for them on April 29, and had a chance to thank them and honor them. Several other missionaries and pastors attended and it was truly a special day. We not only took time to thank God for the faithfulness of mom and dad, but also for the faithfulness of the many churches who have stood behind them, supporting them through giving and upholding them in prayer for all those years. We are indebted to you. Thank you for your faithfulness!
June 22, the time for us to return to America for furlough, is fast approaching! There is so much that I desire to do before that day comes! Please pray for us in our preparation. God has already answered many prayers which I can’t wait to tell you about! However, there is still much left to be done, both in preparing to leave Japan and in preparing to arrive in America. While our hearts yearn to see our loved ones, friends, church family, and faithful supporters, at the same time they ache to leave behind my parents and dear beloved brothers and sisters in Japan. PLEASE pray for our church family and especially for my parents as they carry the load of the ministry in our absence.
The Carters to Japan
To download a printable PDF version of this letter, please click here.