David knew that in order to continue through his circumstances, he must have God’s perspective.
At the end of our earthly endeavors, at the end of ourselves is a place where we can connect with God in a unique way. At the limits of our own sufficiency, we find a loving Lord and His hand extended to us. He hears our cry and leads us to higher ground.
Can you clearly see from your position? Do you see a changing world brewing with radical physical, political and cultural changes? These groans and pains in our world, like a mother about to give birth, are the signs the Lord promised would come as His return approaches.
To gain the best perspective, keep the Lord clearly in view. Cling to the Rock that is higher than yourself. I can’t think of a better way to walk in the new year ahead.
Psalm 61:3-4 "For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah."
Mizuho Fire Update:
We are amazed at how God’s people here responded. John shared some photos of the event with the church. We didn’t ask for any donations. We just asked that they would pray about how the Lord would use us in our community to share the Love of Christ.
A couple of families came forward with clothes and some cash. We visited the little community center in our neighborhood where the family whose home was completely destroyed was staying. We had no one to translate for us, but we felt this was the time to make our visit.
When we arrived, a neighbor from down the street was also visiting who spoke very good English. She translated for us as we delivered the gifts. We found out that they were going to stay in a local city housing development while the home was to be rebuilt.
We did not know how the fire started until we were finally able to ask through the interpreter. With the very cold weather and un-insulated construction, most Japanese, (and we also) burn Kerosene or “Toyu” in little portable heaters for warmth. Electricity is the other (more expensive) option. There is no central heating. On that particular day, one of the heaters in their home developed a leak and subsequently exploded. We praise God that no one was injured or killed.
The three neighboring houses, which were also damaged, belonged to immediate family of those whose home was destroyed. Fortunately, they have been able to remain in their homes while repairs have been made.
By the end of last week, the entire lot of the main house was completely cleared. This week the foundation was replaced. Soon we will hear the noises of construction echoing through the neighborhood. The Japanese amaze us with their ability to perform construction projects very quickly.
The last couple weeks…
Holidays abroad: Christmas Eve and New Years were really a blessing for us. As you can imagine, being away from friends and family during the Holidays can be very difficult. We found wonderful “Subarashii” fellowship with our new friends and extended family. Still, we do miss you all!
School begins again: We have begun school again after a short recess. The Patterson’s, one of the other missionary couples who we had been praying for when their baby was born 5 weeks early, returned this week. They are already getting acclimated and working with the rest of the staff.
Stephen attended a Youth event with an organization called HiBA, which is a ministry to Highschooler aged kids living throughout the Tokyo Area. Picture a very large group of young people speaking various languages, from various cultures who share a fire and passion for serving the Lord. This was a night of worship, teaching and fellowship on a huge scale.
Belinda asked a woman in the church, a new Christian to whom she has been sharing about spiritual things, if she wanted to do a basic Bible study to help her grow in the Lord. To Belinda’s surprise, six more ladies showed up to study God’s Word with them. One more lady asked to come to the next meeting. Many of the ladies are hungry for God’s word and He has called Belinda to help teach them. Praise God! (You can read more about that in our regular newsletter coming soon!)
Pastor Jonathan and his wife Rie were able to attend the missions conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. While God was refreshing and encouraging them in the U.S., John was asked to preach the Word that Sunday. He spoke on 2 Corinthians 3:1-6 about how Paul’s and our own “Living Letters of Recommendation”.
John has been the primary worship team leader for just about every worship session since the beginning of December. With Luis and Nicola returning from vacation he will be able to share that role again with them. This weekend is the second “Worship Fellowship”. John finds much of his time not spent teaching is spent studying… Japanese… Computers programming… and planning for the months ahead as the CRASH compassion ministry takes off. His main focus in the next months will be to study Japanese. Yea! Please pray for the right instructors and God’s provision.
We want to thank you…
In the last months we have been so blessed with your Cards, letters and emails. We know, first hand, that for missionaries this is one of the biggest blessings. We can see God’s confirmation that we are where God wants us when we see people grow in the Lord and you participate with us in this work. We feel the love and support reach all away around the world to our little place in Ome. Please know how dear you are to us!
- The Mizuho fire while being a tragedy for property, was a tool God used to bring the community closer together – including the “gaijins”,(foreigners), from America!
- God has brought back safely those staff members who have been away for the holidays.
- School has begun again and we have the opportunity to pour into young people’s lives.
- We are being stretched and blessed as God uses us in Japan.
- John has been struggling with a cold that has settled in his chest. He’s on the mend but he still gets tired easily as the healing process continues.
- For us to have God’s wisdom and help as we try to establish a healthy balance between our daily routines and ministry activities.
- That God would bless the discipleship study God has opened up for Belinda to teach.
- There is opportunity to participate in a local language school for us. Pray for wisdom that this is the school the Lord would have us study at. Pray that He would confirm this with His provision.