"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
In my quiet times and my internal dialogues with God, I have been asking things like; “What are you saying to me? What is your will on this or that? What about this world that seems to deny you more and more each day? I know what your Word says, but are there any other indications of who you are, what you are like and how you operate? Are there patterns in your creation that relate to what I am experiencing here on earth?
I have been spending a lot of time just looking at God’s creation lately. No, I am not turning Pantheist, but I have been finding that I need to look inward and outward in order to see the whole picture. There are so many things God has done, is doing, and promises to do that require me to look at the examples before me. As I look at what we know about our universe and just how much we don’t know, I feel it’s my responsibility to look closely at All the examples.
The Word is the foundation. I get that. Still, you can learn so much about our creator by looking more closely at the creation. It’s like looking at the painting to learn more about the painter. Within that are keys to His Glory, foundational examples that should give us hope, awe, and even certainty of just who this God is who made everything. You can see what was on God’s mind when He made this universe. I want to be careful not to miss out on what He is saying through what He has done.
We want to first of all apologize for not sending out regular updates on the ministry we are doing here in Japan. Your prayer support and encouragement are vital for us to be able to continue in God’s work, and while we know that you do indeed pray for us, we have not given you the opportunity to fully participate because of our lack of communication. We believe that our work here could be so much more fruitful simply by sharing our ministry praises and prayer requests with you on a regular, consistent basis. This may seem obvious, and in fact it is, but it has been something we’ve struggled with since arriving here 10 years ago. So, that is actually our first prayer request, that we would faithfully and consistently keep you up to date on what the Lord is doing through this ministry in Ome, Japan.
With that, I want to share with you one of the many spiritual obstacles we face, for which we could use much vigilance in prayer.
New Years is one of the biggest and most important events for Japanese people. They visit shrines and temples specifically to worship and pray to their gods. Many of them travel long distances to worship famous gods, whom they know by name and by the area of one’s life he presides over.
I teach an English class of older students (65years and up), and in the first few classes I taught after the New Year, several of the students stood up during the personal sharing time and excitedly described the various gods they had visited and worshiped during the New Year holidays. They were so exuberant as they described each god’s name and what aspect of life he ruled. As I listened, my spirit was really disturbed in me. I prayed continually for God to show me how to appropriately present and represent Him to these students. Because I am there to “teach English”, I cannot just tell them they are wrong and that these gods are false gods, even though that’s what I wanted to do. Please pray for both John and I as we face this with all of our English students, that God would give us appropriate and plentiful moments to share the gospel clearly, and to be good witnesses even in those times when we cannot actually use words.
It has been a very difficult past year or so. As many of you know, our pastor took a sabbatical this last year to work though some issues within the church and to work on his own family relationships. Many of you have been through difficult and challenging church situations, so I am sure you can relate to what we have been through. The good new is, while things are not as resolved as we would all like them, many situations and body life issues have greatly improved. Belinda and I have been though several of these in our Christian experience and the Lord has told us to “hang in there” every time. It has always been a time of testing.
Again, we are really sorry if you feel we have not communicated well. Truth is, we haven't and we are working hard to do better. Japan is "mission critical" for Asia.
Time to share things God is doing!:
Easter in one aspect symbolizes “rebirth”. The fact that Jesus rose again from the grave is part of the foundation of our Christian Faith. Every year, Grace Christian Fellowship celebrates Holy Week with focused events; Foot Washing Service, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The Holy Week experience here moves through; renewal, looking to God’s promises and then celebration.
Here are some photos to take us through some of the experiences of each service:
Communication is a two way process:
We have chosen not to make requests for support in our news letters, but we do have things we need help with. If you are interested in what those are, please write us directly or, click the link to our website for the support section.
God Bless YOU!
-John & Belinda