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!
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 as well. I have no doubt that they too have an incredibly full plate during this season.
Ministry Highlight: Sharing Bread
Sharing is a deeply embedded aspect of Japanese culture. We’ll often have people stop by the house to share some fruit or vegetables that they have grown in their garden, or a small snack that they picked up on a trip. We do the same as we build relationships with those around us. Over 13 years ago, God gave us a surprising resource that has enabled us, not only to share, but to provide a resource for many churches throughout Japan to share as well in their Gospel outreach ministries.
A few years after we arrived in Japan, we were pleasantly surprised (overjoyed) to discover a Costco being built about 20 minutes away by the expressway. Not long after, the store manager, upon discovering that we had a church, asked us if we were willing to receive day old bread to distribute to people. We unwittingly assumed it would be a few loaves of bread here and there. On our first trip to pick up bread, we were shocked to discover a full car-load of bread waiting for us! That was the starting point of a ministry that has continued for the last 13 years, in which we’ve sent boxes of bread to churches all throughout Japan. Pastors use this bread to care for those in their churches who are in need, for visiting the unsaved, and for outreach. From the time God gave us this ministry, we’ve sent out over $130,000 dollars’ worth of bread. I made a quick video highlighting this ministry if you’re interested in watching it.
A high school aged young lady named Nozomi (translated Hope) is a friend of a family in our church. About a year ago, she had been dealing with some serious health issues and the family asked that we as a church pray for her. After a few months of praying, God miraculously healed her! Soon after, she started coming to church to learn more about Jesus, and has been intensely learning as much as she can about Him ever since. She isn’t saved yet, but I have a feeling it won’t be long until she trusts Jesus as her Savior. Would you pray for her? And for others like her who are consistent in their learning about Jesus, that they too would put their faith in Him? Thanks for all you do in helping us reach those around us with the Gospel!
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