As I pondered skeptically and asked God to let me in on His thoughts about it, I opened up my daily devotion book and, interestingly, the title for the day’s devotion was “Stand fast in the Lord
” (Phil.4:1) and the opening scripture… “My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside
.”(Job 23:11) and …“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
(1 Cor. 13:16).
How important are my feet to the kingdom of God? When I walk in God’s truth, when my feet are planted firmly on the Rock, when I stand in His strength and follow in His footsteps, my life becomes a loud and clear witness of the gospel to those around me.
Noto Peninsula Earthquake:
As some of you might know, there was a significant earthquake here in Japan last March. There were many homes damaged or destroyed and many families left homeless and living in shelters.
We were able to sent a small CRASH team (Christian Relief, Assistance, Support and Hope) up to the area to volunteer in the relief effort. It was a blessing to have members of other churches who have recently been trained with CRASH join us.
One of the ladies who went up to the disaster sight, after being frustrated about not being assigned to do much physical labor began to talk with some of the people affected by the quake. At the end of the day she said, “ I realized something! It’s not about how much work we can do, it’s about the people”. AMEN!
One on One Ministry:
I found that as I considered what to share in this newsletter about the work being done here, my thoughts were first toward the activities we do, the events we are planning out and working on. But the more important work happening is the work that God is doing in the hearts of the people.
A few weekends ago we attended a birthday party for a friend and afterward, we went off to get an ice cream with one of the ladies who also attends our church. As we sat with our ice creams and talked, she began to tell us her testimony, how she had been abandoned by her mother when she was very young and how she tried so hard as she was growing up to always be good, believing that it was somehow her fault that her mother left. And now she is struggling to forgive and reestablish that relationship with her mother, but things aren’t working out very well.
She asked us, “Is God angry with me because I can’t make things work out with my mother?” We could see that her real fear was whether God would abandon her because perhaps He didn’t think she was good enough. We were able to share with her how God loves her unconditionally and that He promises never to forsake her or leave her, and that nothing could ever separate her from His love which is in Christ Jesus. We were also able to share with her that God isn’t angry with her for not being able to work out all the struggles in her life.
As she listened and asked questions her face suddenly lit up with a huge smile of understanding and we could see the weight of her struggles lifted from her. God touched her life through a simple time of eating ice cream. It’s all about the people! AMEN!
In April we held a “Princess Tea Party” at the church. There were 30 women signed up and 40 women and little girls actually attended. It was a sweet time of worship, meeting new friends and learning from God’s word. Oh, and the desserts were great, too!
With a growing church body and more students attending school, we were in desperate need of a new classroom. With the help of many from the church, we were able to convert a storage room which will serve as a youth ministry room, church meeting room and a school classroom. God is good.
- Praise God for being able to send a CRASH team to help with the earthquake relief effort.
- Praise God for all the women who were able to attend the Princess Tea Party and hear about God’s love for them.
- Praise God that John’s back is much better and Belinda’s heel is almost fully healed.
- Praise God, Belinda has been able to take a Japanese language class and is doing well.
- Pray that God would continue to give us “divine appointments” to minister to the people here in Japan.
- Pray for John as he continues to work on the web sites for CRASH and for Grace Christian Fellowship
- Pray for the students that we teach at Grace Christian international school, that they would grow in knowledge and understanding and especially that their language and study skills would improve.
Special Requests for this month:
- Our son, Stephen, is graduating from high school in June and, as we feel this is an important event in his life, we are hoping to be able to attend the ceremony, but are short of funds to do so.
- Also, we would like to be able to continue our language training in order to minister more effectively to the Japanese, however, classes are somewhat costly. Please pray for God’s provision for both of these needs.
Thank you for continuing to pray for us