What about today’s challenges? The ones that can bring out both the best and the worst in you, and bring you face to face with your frailty and shortcomings. Has God’s plan included these too?
The good work He began in you, He will continue until the day of salvation. His Love and kindness, never fall short. Not only is His Love for you more than able to bring you through this day, but through eternity.
And best of all, He does not forget His promise, His purpose or His pleasure in seeing the work of His hands as He shapes your life into a testimony of His glory. Those same loving hands that were pierced for you and me, also hold you close to His heart.
What an awesome God we serve!
What’s going on at Grace Christian Fellowship?
With things moving faster than we could keep up with for the last few weeks, God did an interesting thing. He put us to bed <smile>. All three of us were fighting formidable Japanese colds. As God’s way of telling us to “slow down” we spent the necessary extra hours in bed and simply resting. It’s no fun having a cold but it works as intended, to slow you down. It gives you time to assess and reflect on where you have been, where you are and where you are going.
This week, we are on vacation from the International school. With all the events of the last week or so, (read below), we are blessed to be able to get some needed rest and catch up on very important things – like writing you with a field update!
Two weeks ago we had our first of planned “Worship Fellowship” Saturdays. The turn out was good and the fellowship was wonderful. We did an extended teaching on Worship, Sacrifice, Service and Ministry. The discussions were wonderful. A mini vocal workshop followed and the official time was ended. As usual, very important time of questions, prayer and ministry followed. God is so good!
The second week of November:
Pastor Jonathan was away for a few days at a Japanese missionary conference. As teachers, we kept the school going while Pastor Jonathan shared his vision for the CRASH compassion ministry to about 200 fellow missionaries in Japan. You can find out more about CRASH at http://www.crashjapan.com in Pastor Jonathan’s blog. The great news is that over 100 missionaries signed up to participate in the program. We believe that God will use CRASH to help unite a somewhat fragmented missionary effort in Japan to reach the Japanese with the Gospel.
On the Wednesday while Pastor Jonathan was away at the conference, John delivered the Wednesday evening Bible study. We have been going through the book of Acts and Wednesday the study came to Acts chapter 5. Some scriptures are easier to deliver than others. This one is difficult as God must judge sin, but we need to also remember God’s Grace in the work of salvation. Wednesday evening studies always end in small group prayer. This prayer time was so essential for doing the personal business with God we all needed to do after such a study.
A ministry group called the Covenant Players were here in Ome this week. They are a drama ministry that travels in this area of the Pacific Rim. We had the blessing of hosting them in our home. They also did a workshop with our GCF kids. From the workshop the kids did a drama which blessed our Thanksgiving dinner outreach.
The Ome Festival is a very well attended community festival. This year was no exception. GCF had a booth there as well as YWAM(Youth with a Mission) and a couple other Christian ministries in the area. We had crafts, games and facepainting and clowns enjoyed loving on the children who came.
During the two day festival we had a booth for sharing little gifts, face painting and animal balloons! The children who came were given some Bible scriptures to recite to each of three clowns and then were given a prize. John, Pastor Jonathan, David McDaniels and Luis Ramirez also shared some awesome music from the stage.
Again, this is a time of year in Ome where we have great opportunities to share Jesus with the community. Sunday night we hosted Thanksgiving dinner for over 100 people at GCF. We presented music and the Gospel for our guests. Also Darin Polischuck presented his ministry based on Samaritan’s Purse called the “Greatest Gift”, (he is from that organization) in Japan. This is the giving of Christmas gifts, wrapped in shoe boxes, to poor and needy children throughout Asia. Darin is also assisting CRASH with planning and specifications for field distribution kits to be used by CRASH teams.
This last weekend:
Our new friends since arriving here, Michael and Haruko, were married. What an awesome day of confirmation of what God has done in their lives and testimony of God’s love. About 200 people attended. Many were not Christian, but they heard the Gospel!
I can’t wait for December! As we come towards the end of the year here at GCF in Ome we are astonished that we have been here 2 months now. With all the activity, ministry and building of relationships with our new friends here, we feel like it’s been much longer. We can see the Japanese language already being added to our conversations, though we still have so far to go. We are beginning to become more adept in getting the simple things done that we took for granted in the states like travel and shopping.
We do miss you!
As you might imagine, being away for the holidays in a far away country for the first time is an emotional challenge for us. We are torn between our heart’s desire to do the ministry God has called us to and our families, immediate and extended, back in California. Please know that we are thinking of you always. We are excited about what we are hearing of how God is moving in Santa Barbara!