We hope and pray this letter finds you all well and enjoying the summer. It’s been really hot and humid here as I know it has been in the states too. Hope you guys are staying cooled down!
We’ve been studying the book of I Peter on Sundays and it’s been so good to be reminded of how we are set apart and called to be holy, to be submissive to our authorities and also what God’s design for marriage should be. We are still only in chapter 3 but praise God for what He’s doing in and through our church community. In our small groups each week we are continuing to discuss what we are learning on Sundays and dig even a little deeper into how to apply those things into our daily busy lives. It’s also there that we can share our prayer requests with one another and encourage each other. These Lighthouse Groups are continuing to go well so we just want to say thank you again for praying about these groups.
In May we had a mini hiking trip along a trail that ended by a river where we had a picnic. It was so nice to be able to just fellowship and continue to strengthen our relationships with each other within the church!
And in June, I held a cookie decorating class for some of our church member’s unsaved friends and their children as an outreach and introduction to our church. We had 8 kids come out and 3 moms and I turned out really well. We pray that God will continue to give us opportunities to reach out to them.
We have several mothers with young children and babies in our church and they get together once or twice a month on Sunday afternoons and while other church members take care of and play with their children. Recently during this time they have been thinking about how to incorporate the children into the service and some of the older women were sharing with some of the younger women about how to teach their children the importance of the church service from an early age. Our elementary school kids are taking little notes while Kazu is giving the sermon and afterwards Kazu is checking it for them and answering any questions that they might have about the message. This has been such a joy to see and these girls are really smart! J
We ask that you continue to pray for our little community as we continue to grow not only in number but in our relationships with each other so that we can truly be a bright light in this city. Pray for their faith to be strengthened and for them to be able to share with their friends, families, and co-workers about what makes them set apart.
Also we will be coming on furlough to see you all this fall! Please pray for us as we prepare for that, with scheduling, housing, cars, etc. and also for our community as we come to visit with all of you!
Only by His Grace,
August 22, 2013 No Comments
We hope and pray your 2013 is going well! We wanted to drop you a line and fill you in on what’s been happening in our 2013 thus far. Kazu has been doing a series on the life of Abraham and we have all been learning so much through those sermons. It’s really motivating and inspiring to see the kind of faith that Abraham had. Even when he didn’t fully understand what God was doing he trusted in and held tightly to His promises. I think it so easy for us in today’s world to get caught up in our own little problems and lose sight of God’s promises for us and the big picture. Please continue to pray for our congregation as we hold onto the promises God has given us in today’s busy world.
Our small groups have been going well! We have them in different locations around Tokyo during the weekdays so depending on what part people live and work in they can attend one during the week. Please continue to pray for this aspect of our ministry as our members continue to grow in their relationships with one another and as they live out their faith in their homes, schools and workplaces. Here is a picture from one of our small groups when they were celebrating one of our member’s birthdays.
This past Sunday in preparation for Easter I had the privilege of reading the Easter story from a children’s book for the kids in our church and it was then translated by one of our members, Mrs.Naruse! Even though it was such a small thing, it really brought me a lot of joy to do that. All the kids sat still (for the most part) and really listened. Even though they are all so small, it was neat to just watch their eyes as they heard the Easter story.
As today is Good Friday and we gear up for Easter Sunday I have just been reflecting on Jesus and his GREAT love for us. I am so overwhelmed by his love for us and God’s truly amazing grace. We hope and pray that you have a wonderful Easter Sunday with your church family as you reflect on what the Lord has done for you. Thank you all so much for being a part of our ministry! We are so thankful for you!
By HIS grace,
April 18, 2013 No Comments
We pray and trust you all had a wonderful Christmas with your friends and family as you celebrated the birth of our Savior. We had a special candlelight Christmas service this year and asked our church members to invite their non-Christian friends or family members to come with them. We really had a nice turn out and were able to make new friends and introduce our church to many new people. We ask you to please be in prayer for these new friends so that we can truly minister to them and introduce them to the only One who can really save them.
Our fall was quite busy with the church and my schooling etc. and I can’t believe it’s already the end of 2012! As I look back and reflect on this year I am amazed at God’s grace in our lives and ministry. As I mentioned to you back in September we started Small Groups at our church and it’s been a big part of our ministry this year. We are so thankful at how our church has responded and really gotten involved with that and we are excited to see where that goes next year. We also have new families that are faithfully attending that were not here at this time last year and for that we praise God! We finished up a very in depth study on Sunday mornings in the book of Ephesians and it’s been really neat to see what we have learned and how we have grown together as a community from that book.
Also as I look back at 2012, I am so grateful that Kazu came through his final surgery from his accident and has pretty much gotten back to normal. I am so thankful for my husband and for God’s healing mercies! I also look back at my Japanese studies and I have definitely learned things but I still have a long way to go. I don’t know how many of you have learned another language before but it’s not an easy task and this is something that I still struggle with but I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! Another blessing and opportunity that Kazu has had is to really get involved with some people at local cafes through coffee to really establish relationships within our local community. For Japanese people to really listen or hear the gospel they first need to be able to truly trust you and it’s been really awesome to see how God has used coffee to help Kazu establish these types of relationships. This is a big prayer request for this next year. Pray for these relationships to continue to grow so that Kazu can witness to these people. Also two of my school friends came to our Christmas service and one definitely said she would come back again, so also pray for me and my relationships with those I come in contact with every day at school. As this year comes to a close and a New Year is beginning, I have really been convicted of not taking advantage of every opportunity God has given me to serve Him or witness to others. And as this New Year starts I really want to have no regrets and do my 100% best for Him. What about you? Have you reflected on God’s grace in your life this past year? Are you making new commitments with the start of this New Year?
April 18, 2013 No Comments
We hope and pray that this letter finds you all well. We have been busy but wanted to share with you all what God has been doing in our community. As I mentioned to you all before, we had our first Family Camp last month. We had a little over 40 people attend and really enjoyed our fellowship together. We had the privilege of having Pastor Randall Gilmore from Hamilton Hills Baptist Church as our speaker. He spoke from Matthew 18-20 and how as a community we can learn from Jesus’ parables. We learned about the importance of humility, forgiveness, and covenant relationships. It is impossible to really learn or practice these things by yourself or without being a part of a community. We really dug deep into each one of these 3 things and were challenged to check ourselves and see how much we are valuing and practicing these three within our community. We were so blessed through His Word and it really gave us a lot as a church to think about, remember, and put into practice. Thank you all so much for praying for us and our church during our camp. Please continue to pray for our church as we continue to grow and that we can really truly practice these within the body of Christ.
Back in May, we started Small Groups in our church which we call Lighthouse Groups. Since most people in Tokyo work until late and also live a good ways from our church we started Lighthouse Groups that meet during the middle of the week. We have 5 different locations around Tokyo on different nights throughout the week so that our church members can connect with each other to really get to know one another on a deeper level so that we can truly love one another as ourselves, discuss what we are learning at church, how to apply that in our daily lives, and share prayer requests with one another. We started with 4 groups but just last month started up the 5th. For a lot of people they don’t come from Christian families, or work with Christians so it’s really a great opportunity to come together, get to know one another and encourage each other. So far, the Lighthouse Groups have been going really well, but we ask you to continue to pray for this new area of our ministry.
We ask for you to continue to pray for us and our church family as we minister here in Tokyo. Please keep Kazu in your prayers as he is still having a difficult time sleeping since his surgeries and for me as I continue to study Japanese. Pray that we will seize every opportunity God gives us and that we will continue to keep our focus on HIM! We are so thankful to each and every one of you -for your support and prayers.
Also, I just wanted to share a testimony with you from one of our church members:
“Since I started to attend our small group called “Light House”, God has shown me how weak I am and how easy it is to loose my focus. I always wanted to spend more time with my church family other than on Sundays, but I didn’t know how to and I didn’t have the courage to reach out to people in my church who I usually don’t spent time with. At the Light House Group, God is giving me a chance to spend time with different people. We share testimonies and about our personal lives; many times we find out things about each other that we never knew before. We also talk about the message from the previous Sundays. But sometimes I forget about the message, and then I realize that I have not been thinking about what I have learned or about God for a whole week. Living in Tokyo is not easy. Even though I grew up and spend most of my life here, sometime I feel so tired and dry that I want to get out of here and go somewhere that is more calm and quiet, because Tokyo life is so busy, fast paced, just rushing rushing and rushing. Many times, the busyness takes our focus away from the most important thing in our life and energy to spend time with one another. Honestly, I didn’t want to go to the Light House Group a couple of times, because I was so tired physically and spiritually. I just wanted to be by myself. But the more I spend time with my church family, the more I experience God’s love, kindness, endurance and many various aspects of who God is, and through that I was able to fix my focus. At the same time, I realize how weak I am, how I need God’s family near me and I can’t walk my life by myself. Through the Light House Group, I understand why we need each other for the first time and why God made us that way. This is definitely changing my life little by little. I am praying that this Light House Group will be a life-changing experience for all my church family.” ~Sae
Also, here is a photo of our church members from our Family Camp.
By HIS Grace,
September 24, 2012 No Comments
Dear friends and supporters,
Thank you for being patient and allowing me to have enough time to recover from my major accident. I was planning on releasing our “end-of-the-year” report much sooner, but many unpredictable things took place which prevented me from releasing it on time.
However, here we are, and now is the time to look back and report everything that took place in the past 9 months or so. But before I write about personal details, I would like to give a bullet-point report just to give you an idea of what God has allowed us to accomplish as a body of believers here in Tokyo.
- Since we moved here to Tokyo to begin our work the average attendance in our church community has doubled.
- We have grown enough that we have elected 4 deacons. Until now, the community had no established leadership aside from me as the pastor.
- There are several people who have come to know Christ through our community that are being discipled.
- We are already planning on doubling the number of our services, and also talking about starting a new community in the next few years.
- We strategically reduced the number of our church programs, and people in our church are spending more time with each other as result.
- We are starting five community gatherings in Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures, which allows us to influence believers throughout the week who live up to two hours away.
- In the past six months, about 10% of our church members have strategically moved much closer to the church and our community so that they can be more effective in their service to one another.
- We are starting a new ministry for young mothers, equipping them to be able to intentionally minister to others from their homes.
- We had two funerals and one wedding in the past 12 months.
- We had two interns from the US during the summer, and, Lord willing, they will be married and back with us in the near future.
- After the earthquake last year, we have led a movement of love inspired by Christ, which distributed over 210 tons worth of relief and food items.
We have partnered with over 17 churches, medical organizations, local businesses, and the U.S. Navy to provide those goods to those who were affected by the earthquakes and the tsunamis. Our community served as the headquarters in Tokyo to accomplish this.
- Through our combined effort to give sacrificially and expediently right after the disasters struck Northern Japan, we were used instrumentally to save over 70 human lives. In one situation, when our food truck arrived, one facility which hosted about 45 bedridden elderly patients only had 10 cartons of milk left in the kitchen for everyone.
- We have rented 17 large trucks to distribute items to those who could not receive care from the government programs in the affected area.
- Some of the churches that we have helped in the tsunami affected areas have doubled in size since our partnership.
- We have purchased and donated a fork-lift to a reliable Christian ministry serving the city which experienced the disaster most severely.
Well, we could keep writing, but the majority of what we feel like we are accomplishing cannot be measured with numbers and units. While we are glad to see that God has been blessing our effort in measurable ways, the majority of what we are witnessing is intangible, such as God’s people making Christ-oriented choices, loving God’s family sacrificially and selflessly, trusting in God through some of the most difficult circumstances, and genuinely repenting from their self-centered lifestyle, just to mention a few. There are more than a handful of people who are passing up job promotions because they want to spend more time with God’s family. This means forfeiting financial security as they spend less hours working, and more hours investing in their church community. We are seeing willful sinners repenting and asking the church to accept them again. We are seeing people who are giving sacrificially when they are barely making it according to the city’s living standard. We are also seeing people who are willing to pay more rent and live further away from their workplace so that they can live closer to other believers in our church.
It brings unspeakable joy to witness these things happen before our eyes, because these things are results of God’s Spirit moving freely among our church people. I am astonished at the faith and the love that they have for our God and for one another. We are simply excited to be surrounded by people who are making these decisions of faith based on their understanding of what it means to be united with Christ, redeemed by grace, and loved by our God who is for us.
Now, let me spend some time reporting what we have been doing since the earthquake last year. While we used to update our ministry site more regularly, we had to switch to doing most of our ministry related correspondences through Facebook and personal emails. So, for some, you have not heard from us in a while, for which we apologize.
Back in June, I was hit by a speeding 500cc motorcycle that evidently did not check both ways when making a turn. It destroyed my fairly new road bicycle, along with the right half of my body. My shin was split vertically, sustaining multiple fractures, my pelvis shattered, my thigh bone disfigured, and my right hand unusable for months. As result, I was hospitalized for nearly five months, and went through multiple surgeries performed by some of the best doctors in the city. Thankfully, I did not sustain any brain or internal organ damage. I still have many titanium bolts, plates, and artificial bones inside of my body as I type this letter.
While my body was useless for many weeks after the first surgery, the demand for our ministry did not slow down. I preached sermons from my hospital bed, wrote new church resources with my left hand on my smartphone, and met with the summer interns almost daily during the visiting hours next to my bed. It wasn’t easy not being able to move or walk for weeks, but thankfully my mind was clear and did not question God’s goodness or his intentions throughout the entire duration of my ordeal. While the accident definitely slowed me down and also took away my freedom to serve as I would have liked, just like Apostle Paul during his house arrest, it did not affect our vision for the Gospel or our commitment to serve God and his family to the best of our abilities.
Amy was especially helpful and patient during this time, taking care of the interns, visiting me almost daily, and taking care of the house by herself. I contribute all of these “victories” to God who is unquestionably good at all times, and to the prayers that were offered to God on behalf of our ministry and us. God’s life giving and renewing power, which was demonstrated when he resurrected his Son from the dead, was at work in us and it made us more committed to his cause of building a new community of people who are united with Christ and live to fulfill his purpose and plan.
Although I still cannot serve as actively or as energetically as I used to, by God’s grace our ministry is picking up more momentum than ever before. In order to compensate for my lack of ability to run things as I used to, I am focusing on encouraging and training leaders who can replace me more than before. I am preaching the importance of being united as God’s family in order to fulfill God’s plan that He has for us.
As a result, more people are involved in personal ministries and interested in taking more responsibilities in our community. For at least the past two months, we have new visitors attending our services regularly. We are thankful that our growth comes from those who are still new to Christianity and not people from other churches.
Once I have more energy, I hope to share our renewed perspective on our community that we are committed to building and multiplying here in Tokyo. Meanwhile, I want to encourage you to pray for us and continue to support us, because we are finally starting to reap the first batch of fruits from the seeds that we have been sowing for the past two years.
Here are some of the things which you can pray about for us and our ministry:
While God’s grace is strong, my physical and mental strengths are significantly weaker since the accident. Because of stress and trauma from the accident, combined with months of physical inactivity and running from one responsibility to the next without a break after being released from the hospital, my body has not been functioning properly. According to my doctor, my body has been pushed beyond its limits, resulting in numerous hormones inside of my body being out of whack (of course he used more medically eloquent expressions to explain my condition). Consequently, I suffer from mild depression, lack of energy, decreased ability to handle stress, muscular weakness, increased allergies, frequent sighing, and other undesirable symptoms. Many days, I feel like I am swimming through a pool of mud.
While I am trying to reduce my stress level by delegating more responsibilities to others, there is a limit on how much you can entrust spiritually important things to people who are still in the process of being trained and taught before it becomes a circus. In order to maintain our current growth and momentum I regularly spend 8 hours a day planning, training, preparing, and pastoring the various aspects of the church. And when I am done, I have no energy left to be proactive or creative (which contributes to not being able to update our ministry site for such a long time). As regrettable as it may be, once I take care of the high-importance, high-urgency needs, I just don’t have anything left in me to take care of other high-importance, moderately urgent needs.
I am content with my weakness as I serve in my capacity, but our ministry suffers from my new condition. I need more energy to handle my previous work load in order to be responsible. We also need other workers who can lead the community with more vigor if we want to maintain our growth. So, please pray that God will provide or continue to grow new leaders who are mature both in their thinking and living for the sake of community’s direction and its spiritual health.
Please pray for our brand new board members (deacons) who are given the responsibility to serve our community. I might be one of the few blessed pastors who cannot wait to be at our board meeting. We normally spend about three hours each time, repenting, praying, and planning for our future. I am so excited to be part of it, because everyone on the team deeply understands the purpose of our calling in Christ. So, every time we meet, we are discussing how we can transmit the passion we have to see the purpose of our salvation being materialized throughout our community. Please pray for wisdom and understanding so that God’s intention for the church can be more visible in Tokyo through our leadership team.
Also, please pray for Amy as she continues her language school. It is very difficult for her to balance fulltime language training and other responsibilities at home.
Also, I lost my mother and my grandmother during the past 12 months. Amy also lost her grandmother, an uncle, and an aunt during the same time frame. All these deaths, as glorious as they may be in Christ, combined with my accident and huge natural disasters that struck Japan can add a lot of emotional and mental stress. We are always comforted in Christ, but it takes a long time for finite humans to process some of these events and their implications. I personally did not have any time to process my mother’s death and to mourn for her properly. Please pray for the right time to slow down so that our souls can catch up to our busy activity-driven lives.
Lastly, please pray for newer sources of income. Currently, the Japanese Yen is very strong against the US dollar. As a result, the value of the support we get from the US is significantly less than what it used to be. We are making all kinds of sacrifices, just as many of you are doing in the US, but in order to have a vibrant ministry we have to focus beyond our daily needs. Our church community is giving beyond their ability, but it will decrease the stress level if people who have been blessed financially during these difficult times can chip in to balance the current disparity. If you have been thinking about supporting us or have committed to support us in the past and never took the step to actually doing it, this would be an opportune time to partner with us. We are not asking for additional funds to be comfortable, but rather so that together we can sow more seeds of the Gospel in a land that has been spiritually infertile for many, many centuries. Click here to find out how you can give generously and wisely to truly make a difference in Japan.
Well, thanks for reading this rather lengthy update. I hope you have been informed and blessed. I will try to do a better job updating more frequently as my health and energy levels return to me. However, if you want the latest update, please send us personal emails or get hold of us via Facebook. Thank you so much for your prayers and support.
March 4, 2012 1 Comment
Thank you to many of you have have been patient and allowed me to recover from my accident. I will post our latest update before the end of the year. Merry Christmas.
December 23, 2011 No Comments
Let me give you the latest update on what God has been doing through our effort in the last week. Since so many exciting things have been happening just in that short amount of time, I will try to go back to the beginning of last week.
- Photo Report can be seen by following this link.
As we have started to raise donations and clothing from our church website, we were contacted from many churches and individuals all over Japan. What originally started out as a small community effort ended up as a multi-church project, involving over sixteen churches in Tokyo. Not to mention, several secular companies and hospitals that aided us and many people who live locally who read or saw what we were doing.
Before we knew it, our entire church was filled with nursing items which were requested from the churches and care facility in Miyagi and the US NAVY. However, under these circumstances, it is easy to gather items, but very difficult to transport them, especially when there is a nationwide gas shortage.
Our original plan to transport them to the Yokosuka Naval Base was frustrated because of the government recommendation for the immediate evacuation of all US military personnel. While the initial panic didn’t last that long, it made our communication with them very difficult as people were not answering phone calls and emails. There were days when we did not hear anything from them, and we were concerned because those were the days when people’s lives were at the highest risk, and also our church building was already packed and we did not know whether they could be taken to the right place before Sunday.
But God is good all the time and He was orchestrating a better plan for us without us knowing. Finally, on Tuesday, I was able to get hold of a gentleman named Mark from the NAVY who was in charge of transporting goods to the Naval base. It was God’s goodness at work because he is also a believer in Christ and once he knew what we were doing, he recommended us to another Christian ministry, called Every Nation, which was specifically focusing on transporting food items to places where our government would not aid.
Although I never heard of this ministry before, I called them up and shared about our project to assist an elderly care facility in Miyagi. We quickly agreed that our facility qualified as one of those places where they wanted to help, and we recognized that we had the same passion to be used by God to provide both physical and spiritual reliefs. We were both excited in the Lord about this opportunity. We quickly arranged the pickup date, and thanked God for His sovereign goodness.
However, back in our church, we were facing another great issue that we did not anticipate. Originally, we planned to collect 3,600 cans of nutritious food and about 1,200 boxes of drinks. However, the food shortage in Tokyo ended up being more severe than we expected and by Wednesday, we only had 400 cans of food and 200 boxes of drinks. The truck was supposed to pick up the supplies on Friday and these people in Miyagi were counting on us for food to survive. We did everything we could do at that time, and all we could do was to pray and ask God to provide for those people with or without us.
That evening a representative from Every Nation ministry called me and said they had one of their trucks about one hour away from the care facility in Miyagi. He wanted to see if they could send the driver to the facility after his delivery to make sure that the roads were decent enough to make the delivery on Friday. I quickly contacted the pastor who was in the area and made the arrangement. However, I still did not know how God was going to come through this time, as we were only able to collect 15% of what we promised. I kept pacing around the house feeling restless not knowing what to do about the food items.
Then, about an hour later, I received a phone call from the driver, Mr. Hosoi, who was on his way to the facility. When I talked to him, he somewhat apologetically asked me, “By the way, the last facility I was planning on dropping off the items received a supply from somewhere else. I have about 1,000 kg of food left in my truck. Can your people use that food for something?” When I heard those words, it literally sent shivers up my spines. Without any hesitation, I told him yes, and called the pastor back. Although it was already late that night, the truck arrived and the pastor’s wife and a few others from the facility came to receive the food. It was one of those George-Muller-moments that only God could have orchestrated.
The next day, Mark from the Navy called and he said he would make sure that his trucks would arrive on Saturday and everything would be gone before Sunday. Also, Every Nation said due to their inability to acquire another truck, they had to postpone the pick up until Saturday morning. Now, that those people in Miyagi had some food, having another day to collect more items was a blessing to us.
On Friday, I called the pastor in Miyagi and told him of the situation. He proceeded to tell me that they had just received special permission from the government for their church vehicle to be used as an emergency supply transportation vehicle. He was then able to get some gas to check other churches and facilities in the area. He said that as he drove to other care facilities, he discovered that there were others that were in worse conditions than his without having any running water or electricity. They had decided to share the food they had with them which meant all the food they received a few days ago was gone by that evening. I told him that the food was going to be on it’s way the next day and to do their best to keep people safe.
Saturday came and we received a phone call from Every Nation saying that there was a truck problem and they would be a few hours late. While we kept sorting through items, Mark and his crew from the NAVY arrived. Before we knew it, we had completely packed two of their trucks and we still had 70 % of the items left inside of the church. While we were discussing what we should do, Every Nation showed up with a huge moving truck to pick up the food items for the elderly care facility. There was still the issue of the 70% still needing to get to the base. God is so good and we figured out that the Every Nation truck was heading to Yokosuka to pick up more items. The location was only 15 minutes away from the Naval base so they would be able to take most of what was left and drop it off at the base before going to pick up more food. We once again rejoiced in God’s orchestration. If the truck had arrived as originally planned, it would have left for Yokosuka before the Navy arrived. Once we decided what we were going to do, the Navy sailors also helped us load up the truck from Every Nation. We packed up the entire truck and we still had one small room full of items left so Mark and his wife decided to come back later that evening.
By Saturday night, everything we had was gone. The food we collected was on its way to Miyagi, six tons of clothing, blankets, and other supplies were being sent to the affected areas by the Navy. Then I talked to the care facility president on Monday, and he told me that finally some of the stores are opening up in the area so everything we did really helped them to survive through that week. Again, I reminded him that it was not us. It was God who took care of them, and He used many churches together to make it happen. We were both excited to see how God orchestrated all the events and people to unite various churches in Tokyo to make a lasting impact in the lives of those in Miyagi.
While we are genuinely excited that everything worked out in the end, we need to also understand that this is only the beginning of the long restoration process. While the attention of many in the world has already shifted from those who were affected by the Tsunami to the war on Libya or the radiation scare, we want to remind people that Japan is experiencing a once in a century opportunity for Christians to leave a positive impact if we work together. We need all the support we can get to make that happen.
Currently, while we will continue to gather specific donations from people to assist those in Miyagi, we believe that we are coming out of emergency mode. So, we are no longer making short-term relief decisions at the expense of long-term development. We will start strategizing to foster progress at the infrastructural level of a community, and this is where we need to invest most of our time and our resources.
We are also carefully listening to local pastors and their churches to see what they really need, instead of assuming what those things ought to be from Tokyo. We are making realistic and effective plans by conversing and building relationships with them.
We also believe that it would be most effective for the overall progress of the Gospel movement in those areas if we lead from behind. What I mean by this is that while we continue to be involved in providing spiritual and physical reliefs, the local churches must be the heroes. So, instead of us taking a week off to go up there to distribute evangelistic tracks and free food, we believe that it would be best if we empower like-minded pastors and churches who went through the same afflictions, so that they can show Christ-like compassion and earn the right to share the good news of God’s love. In other words, we don’t want to go up there to solve their problems, but to serve them so that people can see the authenticity of our message through the empowered actions of the local leaders.
Additionally, we are providing spiritual counseling at our church in Tokyo to those who need comfort and wisdom from God’s Word. Also, God has been opening up doors for me to share His Word to various audiences in Tokyo area to encourage faith in Christ. As one example, God has presented me with an opportunity to address the believers from Fukushima First Baptist Church, a local congregation located only three miles away from the famous nuclear plants in Fukushima, who have evacuated to a Christian retreat center in Okutama, Tokyo. Please pray that God’s Word will run swiftly among those who need to be reminded of the living hope which we possess in Christ Jesus (Psalm 147:15).
Please continue to pray for our work because while we are in mission for the glory of God and the good of the Japanese people, we are still rooted in Tokyo, and we must maintain our stability and our regular work in the city. Please pray for wisdom so that we will continue to see our situation from God’s perspective. Also, please pray for additional workers who are competent and passionate about serving in Tokyo with us. There is so much we need to be doing but without partners, what we can do is so limited. And, finally, if you believe that our strategy to strengthen God’s work in Japan is valid and effective, please prayerfully support our ministry. While we are excited and grateful for the many onetime gifts to assist our relief efforts, the real battle is long term. We are in need of generous supporters who find joy in regularly partnering with realistic and effective ministries that strive to make known the glorious Gospel to those who have not heard it before. Please continue to spread awareness of what is happening, and please don’t let media distract you and make you forget about real people who are facing real challenges in Japan. Please help us to help them so that we can share the joy of people discovering the greatest treasure in the person of Jesus Christ.
Kazu & Amy
＊Special Thanks to our friend Julie for taking photographs to show you what it was like to be there.
March 31, 2011 4 Comments
You can see us on the news (click the following link). Joscelyn Moes (YFMZ-TV) did an excellent job reporting our work in Japan. Please spread the news so that more people can be exposed to the needs of Japanese people today.
If you feel led to donate to to our cause, please visit the following link, and reference the “Japan Emergency Aid Project” in your gift. 100% of your donation will directly be sent to us so that we can use them to purchase more food and essential items to those who have lost everything. We also need people who can support our on going effort by becoming regular givers. If you have been thinking about supporting foreign Christ-centered mission workers, please visit this link and follow the instruction. Our work in Tokyo is totally depended on God’s provision through generous partners like you. Please pray about it and let’s partner together so that we can bring lasting hope to those in Japan.
March 23, 2011 22 Comments
March 22, 2011 2 Comments
Our friend Julie Johnson from the US Navy visited our church this Sunday and took pictures of our service and the following relief drive.
You can view the entire album by following this link.
Here is a story that I want to share with you from today’s events. There is a gentleman named, Mr. Kawana, who has been visiting our church for the last few weeks. He comes from a rather typical Japanese background where he was never exposed to the Bible or met someone who confessed to be a Christian until recently. His employer, who serves as one of our church leaders, befriended him and asked him to check out our church so that he can see what it is all about. Without knowing anything about Christianity, he attended my mother’s funeral service and today’s post-tsunami service. After helping us out with sorting out the donated items, he came up to me and said after carefully witnessing the eternal hope which we possess in Christ and the love for one another which we demonstrate by actions, he wants to buy his first Bible and become a Christian. I am overjoyed at how God has used our Christ-centered preaching and our Gospel-driven community lifestyle to impress this man so much that he was willing to repent from the worldview he grew up with his entire life and be willing to embrace Christ as his Savior. Please pray for him as we are starting a Bible study together within the next few weeks as soon as things slow down a bit.
There are few more things for which I want you to pray. First, we have decided to partner with an elderly care facility in Miyagi prefecture which is owned by Kurigoma Kogen Baptist Church. Currently the facility cares for 70 elderly people, many of them Christians. However, after the tsunami, they have been stranded with 50 social workers who worked there. They only have enough food for 8 more days, and they are quickly running out of supplies to care for the bed-ridden adults. It is our goal to provide ten days worth of food and medical and hygiene supplies before that deadline, no pun intended. Providing food for 120 people who are stranded is very difficult for us right now, not because of the incurring expense, but due to the citywide shortage of any kind of canned food in Tokyo. Yet, we are trying to come up with 3,600 cans of food in the next three days. Also, we want to provide 1,200 boxes of vegetable juices and many boxes of adult diapers and wipes, and such. Unless God provides them for us, we do not know how we can do what we need to do. We chose to partner with them not only because they are Christians, but because they cannot escape even if they wanted to. And currently without our help, they are not sure how they can sustain those people with special needs once their supply runs dry. I know what it is like to take care of someone who must depend on others to simply live. They are at the mercy of care takers. And the care takers can only take care of them as long as they have food and supplies for them. Please pray that God would provide about $6,000 worth of food and supplies that we need to raise to keep them alive. Moreover, please pray that God will allow us to find enough food in Tokyo to meet the demand. And finally please pray that God will provide means for us to get those supplies to where they are stranded, which we cannot approach due to blocked roads and government restrictions.
Also, pray for Julie and her husband Lee Johnson. She and her husband were only married a few months ago, and Lee is on USS McCampbell trying to help the affected areas in the northern Japan. Pray for physical and spiritual and emotional strength for both of them as they are doing their best to serve God with us in spite of these difficult circumstances.
We also received at least 20 times more donations than we originally expected which is great but now we have new challenges of transporting them to the Yokosuka Naval Base. Currently the gas price is $7.50 /gallon and many gas stations are only selling a couple of gallons at a time. We have over 4 tons worth of items that we need to transport during this week. But unless God opens new doors, we do not have the means to transport all of them.
There are more challenges ahead of us that we need to tackle urgently. Please pray for wisdom and open doors so that God will allow us to overcome them for His glory and the lives of those that still need to be saved.
March 20, 2011 1 Comment