Could you use a little encouragement?
Working away, as diligent servants. Your face to the work and your heart filled with the desire to see God’s work prosper. Sometimes we are trying so hard we can even get myopic about what we are doing and what we see.
What do I mean by this? For Belinda and I, it feels like we get so caught up in what we are doing, we miss just reflecting on what God is doing. We need to stop and ask the question: “God, for all this effort, what are You accomplishing?”
There are a couple ways we can respond to this question. One is from that myopic point of view that I mentioned. If we are working so hard, focused so intently on what is before us, we can miss the point of what we are doing. It is time to pause and step back.
There is that saying, “Count your blessings.” No matter if your mission field is the place you call home or is the place God has asked you to call home for a season, as we lift our heads from that place, what do we see? Initially, it is so easy to be overwhelmed by a world that seeks to close in. You only need to look at the events in our world today for a moment to get an impression that things are getting worse, not better.
This happens often in the mission field abroad as well. It happens when we don’t pause and look up at what the Lord is doing. This is why we need to write you and share. It’s for you to know how the Lord is using the investment you have entrusted to Him for the work of the ministry. It’s for us too because WE need to stop and count our blessings.
Obviously, we should do this more often. We need to encourage each other, not just in what God is doing, but also as we desire to build each other up for the work of the ministry.
Be encouraged. Though the world may be getting worse, just as the Bible says it will, there are blessings there all the same.
So, what have the McBade’s been up to for the last few
months? We spent the summer repainting the church, resurfacing the sanctuary floor, teaching summer school and, above all, helping with VBS.
Three people were baptized in the river in July. John was so excited to have the privilege of baptizing Sayaka Takamori, one of the young people he has been training in the worship ministry. All three of the kids who were baptized are students from Grace Christian International School.
Grace Christian International School finished well in mid-June and we were able to offer 3 weeks of reading-focused summer school in July.
During the months of May, June, and July, John was kept particularly busy recording voice-overs for the VBS videos, as well as recording and mixing down all of the VBS songs with Japanese lyrics. It’s a great blessing to be able to show all the videos and sing all the songs in Japanese. Interested in seeing and hearing them? Link:
This year we had over 50 kids come to VBS. Maybe that sounds like a small group of participants compared to a VBS in the U.S., but for Japan, where it’s rare even to find a church with a children’s Sunday school ministry, it’s fantastic! What’s also fantastic is that the all the youth and preteens from our church were fully engaged as crew leaders and helpers. Passing the baton on to the next generation and watching them run with it is a great event in itself. Praise God for a new generation of able and willing leaders.
Just a few of the images from this event:
With his help we were able to resurface the sanctuary floor and repaint all the walls, upstairs and down. He was also a great help with the VBS preparations and at the game station during VBS week, even though the temperatures reached into the high 90’s. Thanks, Max.
In August, we were blessed to be able to have a much needed “get away”. Calvary Chapel of Okinawa invited us to come and relax for a couple weeks there. Neither of us had been to Okinawa in the 9 years we have lived in Japan. It was a good time to step back a bit, take a little time to get away, and just rest and wait on God. We were so blessed by CC Okinawa to give us the opportunity to do just that.
At the end of our VBS season we usually have a “Natsu Matsuri”. It means summer festival. The Japanese traditionally hold these summer festivals, centered around worship at Buddhist temples, throughout the city. As we reach out and into the Japanese culture, we are able bring the message of the Gospel to the Japanese people through our own summer matsuri.
Just a few of the images from the yukata party:
- God has continued to bless us in the work of the ministry here.
- How those in the worship ministry have really matured in skill and walking in the things of the Spirit.
- Through Grace Christian International School we continue to reach into so many young lives.
- The ongoing work of keeping the websites for the church and school updated and running well continues. All the websites have been completely updated to make managing them easier and more stable for everyone on staff.
- We have been able to build up our relationships with other Calvary Chapel missionaries and workers in Japan.
- We have been in Japan 9 years now. We can see all the great things God has done!
- Wisdom and discernment as we continue to minister to the people God has put around us, both in the church and out.
- That the people at Grace Christian Fellowship would have a great hunger and thirst for God and for His word.
- That God would raise up leaders within this body of believers.
- For God’s direction as we begin a new women’s ministry.
- That we would be flexible as we minister within the Japanese culture, while continuing to stand firmly on the foundation of the Bible.
- As we spend some very focused time waiting on God, that He would give us a clear vision for the year ahead.