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.
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 cancer, and that it was beyond treatment. As his condition gradually worsened, he got to the point where he was too weak to do much, so we would just spend time chatting and having spiritual conversation with him each week. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, Mr. Hanagaki went to be with the Lord. He is the only Christian in his family. Daigo, his son-in-law, took over the restaurant last year, and he and I have gotten pretty close. Yesterday, as he and I were reminiscing about Mr. Hanagaki’s life, I was able to have a good Gospel conversation with him. Please pray that as the seed of the Gospel is planted in the heart of Daigo, that he, as well as other members of his family, will also find salvation.
Multilingual Book Studies
A few months ago, Bethany started up a book study for the ladies in our church, and it has been amazing to see their response. The publisher donated all the Japanese copies that we could use, which was a great blessing, especially when you consider the difficulty in finding good Japanese Christian literature. For many of the ladies, it has been very eye-opening, and they are hungering to learn more. We also have Peruvians and Chinese who are part of our church, and thankfully the book is translated into their languages as well. It’s a very interesting thing to see people reading a book from four languages and then discussing what they learn in Japanese! We were also able to start a men’s book study, and it has been exciting to see how God is using these avenues of discipleship to grow and strengthen the faith of our brothers and sisters here.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we head into the Christmas season. Christmas has always been a great opportunity for outreach here in Japan, and we are excited about the upcoming opportunities to share the good news of our Savior!
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