Mission Trip... to Japan!
Below: Our good friend Ta-chan became a Christian (on the left)! Praise God for His work! Thank you for praying for Him. On the right of me is another guy who I am helping: Nozomu. Nozomu is a Christian that I am trying to help grow in Christ and learn English. Please pray for both of these great brothers in Christ!
Maki and I really enjoy being missionaries. One reason is that our job is to do what we love to do, namely to know and love Christ more and share Him with others. What a privilege it is to fill up with the greatest Being in the Universe and share His perfections with our friends here!
We just got back yesterday from our 12 day "mission trip" to Japan. First we spent 3 days with our college students camping and hiking in the mountains and being a part of the "Northstar" Ministry (ridenorthstar.com) Then we took off for Tokyo along with one of our non-believing students Hiro-chan. On the way we were able to have a great 2 hour discussion about God and the gospel! Please pray for Hiro-chan.
Here is Maki during one of our "Trust-fall" activities. Hiro-chan was really moved to thought through this event. (Not just by gravity!)
When we got to Tokyo we were able to spend time with Hiroshi (whom you remember as my good friend who came to Christ after I first came to Kyoto) and his wife Carol and their new baby daughter Anathasia. (means "Resurrection") It was great to see how the Lord continues to be working in their lives and producing fruit in Tokyo where we cannot be. We were again reminded of the importance of spiritual reproduction and not just making converts. Hiroshi is a great testimony to many of his co-workers and fellow Christians in Tokyo. We are excited what God has planned for this little one too. (So cute!)
Next, we were off to Yoshimi and Brandon's house (a couple who especially Maki has helped as new Christians before they moved to Tokyo) It was a pleasure to be at their church and see them growing. We got to take part in an International couple's small group and get to know some of the great people at Jesus Life House Church. It was great to be a blessing and be blessed at the same time with these wonderful people. At the church we were also able to meet up with Makoto, our dear friend whom you have been praying for. He is still close to becoming a Christian and seems to be making some Christian friends in Tokyo. Please pray for him not to get too busy that he leaves out church and fellowship with Christians! (Brandon & Yoshimi are pictured to the left of us.)
The following 3 days we were up in Utsunomiya, spending time with old-time UNI Navigator friends. One of our friends, Tom VanSickle has been getting closer to marrying his girlfriend Ai-chan, a wonderful Japanese girl there. It was great to spend a lot of quality time with them and be an encouragement to their relationship. It is great that Maki and I can identify with so many International couples in Japan. It is a true blessing to support and be supported by so many great people!
In Utsunomiya we also met with some new Christians (God is really blessing their work there) and meet with UNI friends, Ruth Ann Hurd and Ryan and Angie Foster. God bless you and your work for His Kingdom!
Finally we were back to Tokyo to go to a Wed. night Christian Cafe/ Church (Kickback Cafe) that is led by a famous author, speaker, singer and pastor (as well as principal) Marre Ishii. We thoroughly enjoyed his message about how Jesus is the center of the Bible and not religion. Jesus is not concerned about religiosity, He is concerned about loving the loveless and the needy. If we are needy and in need of love, He will fully receive us and show us His infinite love and salvation.
On the way home we got to stop in Aichi prefecture at the church of another best-selling author and pastor in Japan and go out to lunch with him as well. (By the way a best-selling Christian book in Japan is having 2,500 copies sold!) It was great to talk with Ishihara-san about cell groups and there importance in Japan and hear him talk about "Hikikomori" a specifically Japanese problem where thousands of people in Japan simply cannot leave their houses and face the world. Over and over Japan is confronted with the need for Christ. Many are hearing and turning by God's Spirit to Christ! They just need the chance to hear. - On our way home we stayed in a town that has 22,000 people and not one church. Maybe there are pockets of believers here and there, but without a church, how do people consistently hear the gospel? We need your help in helping our Japanese friends.
Being encouraged and encouraging others (as well as just relaxing) was a wonderful way to spend this year's summer vacation. Please check out this site for one way you can learn about Japan and join the mission to Japan more. "God's Fingerprints in Japan" is a FREE video (just $4 for shipping) that will give you a great vision to pray for Japan or use with your friends or church to stir them up about Japan. Check out this site for more info: www.alohakeakua.org
Until next time!