eNews – November 2, 2008

Growing-Up

Grow up

“…We are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

As a child is continually growing out of his clothes and needing new, bigger clothes to replace them, so we are also growing out of our immature ways and into a greater maturity in Christ.  But, unlike a child, our growth in Christ never ends.  As we reach each new stage of maturity it soon becomes immaturity.  The cycle just continues on.  And as each one of us grows individually, the whole body grows “for the building up of itself in love.”  Let’s continue to grow up together in Him!

Visit to U.S:Wedding
We had a wonderful and relaxing visit with our family and friends in California this summer.  We purposed not to overload ourselves with a full agenda, but to allow God to set up every appointment and meeting; and we were not disappointed.  We appreciated being able to share with so many of you what God has been doing in Japan through us and through you by your prayers and support.

We were even able to go up to Oregon for a family wedding where Belinda was able to see brothers and sisters (nephews, nieces, et al.) whom she hadn’t seen in many years.  God provided for every need.  He’s so awesome!

Returning to ministry:
Digging-up-potatoes-1As expected, we hit the ground running as soon as we arrived back in Japan.  Time seems to have flown by faster then we could perceive as we jumped back into the flow of school, worship, discipleship, personal and corporate ministry.

Grace Christian International School began in late August.  We have had several new students join the school, Three first graders and one high school student. For many of them, this is their first time in an English speaking school.  Already, we can see them opening up and thriving in their studies. 

We also have three new teacher interns assisting this year. Ashley, Anna and Drew. They are a great blessing and an answer to many prayers for much needed teachers.

Belinda’s English Bible study resumed in full swing. Not only have they grown in friendship, they have realized the joy of studying God’s Word.  Belinda is blessed to have this fantastic opportunity to minister in this unique setting.

Our Yokota home group both resumed the first week of September.  It has been encouraging to see how anxious the group has been to continue studying.  Before we left for the US, we had just finished a careful study through the epistle of I John.  This wonderful book focuses on our relationship and personal ministry with our Lord.  Now we are studying the book Ephesians beginning with looking at our roles in ministry one to another as the body of Christ.

Pray that God would use us in each of these ministries to help these believers and non-believers to grow in the knowledge of His word and His love.  Pray for the school students and their parents as several of them are not yet believers.

Manna from Heaven:Tomoko-cooking
It is amazing to watch God take a small opportunity and grow it into a great big blessing.  At the end of August we began to receive surplus food from a warehouse store just outside our city.  The food was being divided up and distributed to a few needy families in our church and to us missionaries. 

A little over one month has passed, and we are now picking up large quantities of food three times each week and distributing it all to several needy families in our community, a couple of schools for the handicapped and nearby orphanages.  In addition, there are several local churches that have begun to come by to pick up food from our church and to distribute it among their own needy church members and families in their neighborhoods.  Pray that God would continue to expand this ministry of food distribution and that the recipients would know the love of God for them by it.
Passport
We get our new visa:
We never want to take for granted that our opportunity here involves the Grace of God and, the grace of the Japanese government.  We never want to let our circumstances dictate our Faith, but we are blessed to see God confirm His will for us to be here.  Praise God! We have received a visa for another full three years in Japan.  We are anxious to see what God has in store.

Looking for God’s leading:
We both feel some new adventures are ahead.  With the events in the world’s economy, new ministry opportunities appearing over the horizon and the events that accompany all of these, we remember what we experienced in the US as we allowed the Lord to order our steps. 

We also remember how God uses each of you to touch our lives for His glory.  As you pray for us, we are praying for you as you partner with us, stepping out in Faith, not depending on the circumstances around you to dictate our lives, but let them confirm in all of us that despite whatever may come, our Heavenly Father is still on the throne, still in complete control. We are God’s children, growing in Grace each day, together, as we walk with Him in this present adventure called life and looking for His leading into the future.