He loved us and gave Himself up for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God. We imitate Him by loving others with a sacrifice, an offering of our love, our time, our care, our help, our friendship, our prayers, etc. And it is a “fragrant aroma” to God. It smells good. It leaves a nice odor. It’s pleasing to God. And by imitating Him in this way, we show that we are truly His beloved children.
Speaking of children, it seems our biggest outreaches are focused on reaching the children of this community. This summer, all hands prepared for Vacation Bible School, which brought almost 100 children into the doors of the church for a whole week. Many of these kids were hearing the gospel for the first time and through them, their parents were able to hear it, too.
Right now, we are preparing for our Children’s Festival, which will again bring in over 100 children from the community to enjoy a night of games, food, entertainment and the gospel message. And again, many of these kids and their parents will be hearing about the love of God for the first time.
In November, we will have yet another opportunity to share the gospel with children at the Ome Festival, a two day event, sponsered by the city of Ome, where we will present the gospel to a whole new, and much larger group of children and their parents. Please pray that as we plant seeds of God’s love into these precious little hearts, they will understand and receive the gift of salvation, both them and their families.
We will be coming back to Santa Barbara on October 28 and will be staying until the end of November. We are so excited about seeing our friends and family and sharing personally all that God has been doing with and through us here in Japan. (We’re also looking forward to some good ol’ American (and Mexican) food!!!
So, big news… Stephen will be coming back to Santa Barbara for good. We are looking for a home/family for him to stay with while he finishes his senior year of high school. If you or someone you know has a desire to take him in or if you are able to help locate a place for him to stay, please let us know as soon as possible. (email is best) so we can work out any necessary details.
He will be attending San Marcos High School, where he attended his freshman and sophomore years. He is very excited about being home and reuniting with his school friends and church family.
Completing one year of ministry in God's Grace!
It seems like just a short time ago when we would be about the city here, and as we would try to take in all the new sites and sounds, we would say to each other; "Are we in Japan yet?". After waiting to be sent out for 20 years before God blessed us with the opportunity for full time ministry here, it was amazing to finally be here. It was like we had to sort of pinch ourselves to remember it was finally real.
Now, a year later, we are able to do so many of the simple things here, that we had taken for granted in the USA, without taking two to three times longer to do them. With minimal language skills, we are able to enjoy simple social joys like small talk in the local 7-11. It is so encouraging to be able to understand at least enough Japanese to know much of what people are talking about.
We have always viewed ourselves as your "hands and feet" in the mission field. Your partnership with us in God, so that He might use us in Japan, has touched many lives. We have had so many Japanese come to us saying they will surely miss us and to be sure and come back as soon as possible to our home in Japan. We praise God for His faithfulness as He has used you in the process of reaching the people of Japan for Him.
Grace Christian International School
We have enjoyed a nice break from teaching school over the summer, but are now fully back into the grind. The school year began August 29 and we are teaching grades 1-12. There are nine students to this year and Belinda is teaching Jr.High math and Sr. high reading while John teaches the 3rd grade Bible class. It is really a joy to be around these kids and to see them grow in knowledge and in Christ.
Yokota Home Group
John continues to lead the Bible Study home group at Yokota Airforce base. It has been a wonderful, intimate fellowship with both American and Japanese believers. We have been studying the book of Galatians and learning how to recognize any gospel which is contrary to the gospel of Christ. This is particularly important, because the onslaught of cults and false teachings here in Japan is tremendous. It is especially difficult for new believers, who are not yet grounded in the true gospel of Christ, to recognize false doctrine from true.
Women’s Bible Study
Belinda’s Sunday Bible study/discipleship group continues to be a great time of study and prayer for the women at Grace Christian Fellowship. Interestingly, the study, which began for one new Japanese believer, has become a small group of both Japanese and Latin American women. It is really a blessing to see their expressions of delight and understanding each time they learn something new about Jesus‘ life or ministry. God is so good.
Praise and Prayer
- Praise God – We have completed our first year of ministry in Japan!
- Praise God – We had a very busy, exciting and successful VBS, reaching out to almost 100 local children (and their parents).
- Praise God – for all the VBS help we had from mission teams from Australia, California and Oregon.
- Praise God – for the Yokota Home group and the Women’s Bible study. We are both so blessed that God would give us the priviledge to teach His word.
- Pray – for continued language learning for both of us. I know we request this every newsletter, but we still covet your prayers since it really is a long, difficult process.
- Pray – for good health and God’s strength, as constant weather changes and busy work schedules make us susceptible to many new (to us) virus‘, etc. All of us have had a very difficult time this year with illnesses which has had a huge impact on ministry and communication.
- Pray – for Stephen as he is making many changes all at once. Pray for the right living situation and for his ability to catch up with his school work, since he will be jumping into classes already begun. Please also pray for him to get re-acclimated into school, church and American life easily and quickly.
- Pray – for traveling mercies as we fly home and for time spent wisely as we visit family and friends in California.