Over the past several months we have had the privilege of sharing how glorious God has been to our brothers and sisters in Japan with churches here in the States. We have been to over 30 churches in the time we’ve been here, and in each church we have been greatly encouraged to see God’s glory manifested in the lives of our brothers and sisters here in the States as well. How great God is! How immense is the vastness of His Kingdom! How intricate is His providence as He prepares us and equips us to serve Him! How intimate is His grace to each of us in uniquely empowering and strengthening us for His glory!
The Gospel displayed in the color of our hair
While Bethany and our youngest child Asher were shopping one day, a friendly store clerk saw Asher’s red hair and asked, “Where did you get that red hair?” (Neither Bethany or I are redheads.) As Bethany was thinking about how to answer, Asher simply exclaimed, “Jesus!” With that simple response, the door was opened for spiritual conversation and for Bethany to invite her to church. While she hasn’t put her trust in Christ yet, our new friend has been faithfully coming to church over the last two months (even while we were traveling out of town to other churches) and has been listening intently to the preaching.
One day, when Bethany was back in town, she stopped by the store to see how our friend was doing. In their brief conversation of catching up, another coworker overheard their conversation. She came over and said, “I’ve been looking for a good church to go to.” Bethany mentioned that one thing we love about our home church is that they are so committed to teaching the truth from God’s Word. Our friend agreed, “Yes, they do!” and proceeded to invite her to come with her the next Sunday, which she did. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work in the hearts of both of these dear ladies.
Meanwhile, Back in Japan…
We are thankful for how our church family in Japan is continuing faithfully in our absence. This summer, we started an early service on Sunday, primarily to address two challenges that our church family was encountering. The first challenge was to alleviate the space issues we’ve been having from the growth in church attendance. We also have several faithful church members who do not speak Japanese as their primary language and have difficulty understanding the preaching and teaching in the services, which have all been in Japanese. We decided that the early service would be most profitable to be held in English as it would be the best way to promote spiritual growth for those who are more comfortable with English. As is all change in routine, the new service time has taken some time for our folks to adjust to, but it is steadily picking up steam and is becoming a great source of encouragement to our church family.
Norio and Mieko Kobayashi are neighbors that we have been working with for the last 7 or 8 years and have been dear friends of ours. Mieko was saved and baptized a few years ago, and Norio has interest but isn’t saved yet. Norio has always been a huge help to me in preparing for different events we hold at our church. For the last several years, Norio and I get to spend a day together smoking turkeys in preparation for our church Thanksgiving service. This year, I was encouraged to hear that Norio has asked to continue the tradition with my dad in my absence. These steps of relationship building have always been such a critical part of sharing the Gospel with the Japanese. Please continue to pray for Norio’s salvation as well as Mieko’s growth as a Christian. Like Norio, there are several other unsaved husbands that also need prayer for salvation.
Thank you so much for giving and praying for your brothers and sisters in Japan. In our travels to different churches, we have been continually humbled and honored to meet those of you who pray for us regularly. Thank you!!
The Carters to Japan