The start of summer came with a very strong earthquake. Our CRASH ministry team was able to coordinate volunteer teams at the site and help with clean-up, restoration and sharing the love of God in many practical ways. What a blessing to have so many believers and church groups come together to help with the tremendous amount of work that needed to be done.
In particular, the Morts, a missionary family with four children, one of whom is an epileptic and blind, had their home destroyed. The teams were able to help them, as well as others, by tearing down their homes and trucking away the debris. They were also able to provide resources and necessities for them to survive and begin to rebuild.
In order to manage all the communications, news and updates, John was able to quickly launch the crashjapan.com site earlier than planned. This was a huge step to take in the midst of all that was going on, but it was necessary in order to keep on top of all that was going on.
Websites are necessary for communication, however, the ministry here is about the people. Please continue to pray for those affected by the quake, as it will be some time still before their lives can return to normal. Pray that the love of God that was, and is still being poured out will bear fruit.
Vacation Bible School:
While part of our team was up at the quake site vacation Bible school was also taking place. It was a huge success with over 120 children participating. So much preparation, so much effort, so much work, but it was well worth it to see so many children and their parents hear the gospel for five days straight. At the end of the week, two girls had prayed with their group leaders to receive Jesus as their Savior! Please pray for all the children who attended and their parents that the Word which was sown would take root and produce the lasting fruit of salvation.
Another awesome work of God I want to share is that in the years past of doing VBS we have had teams from the U.S. or Australia, or Canada come and help with the preparations and leading the groups of children during the VBS week. This year almost the entire VBS was accomplished by the body of believers here at Grace Christian Fellowship. What an encouragement for them, and for us as missionaries, that God is continuing to establish the body of Christ here in Ome.
The week following VBS we held our church family retreat where John led the worship and teaching while Belinda managed the administration. It was a refreshing time of fellowship and fun and building closer relationships within the
Once a month during the summer we have a BBQ and baptism down at the Tama River after Sunday morning church services. Several new believers braved the cold water and strong currents to confess their faith and be identified with Christ.
The summer finished with a traditional Japanese summer celebration called Yukata. We dressed in summer kimonos and enjoyed Japanese culture and ate interesting and (mostly) delicious Japanese food.
Grace Christian International School:
After much preparation and planning of classes and schedules School has begun. We have started the school year with nine students: two first graders, two second graders, three fourth graders and two middle schoolers. We are blessed with the privilege of educating and training these kids in God’s word and His ways, so they can in turn make a difference in the lives of others. Pray that they will study hard and enjoy learning throughout this year.
We are planning to begin a new season of home fellowship at the Yokota Air Force base. There are several new families stationed here who are eager to participate so we hope to begin in September. It is difficult for military families to find Christian support and fellowship as they are moved so often from one military base to another. Their lives and family relationships can be very stressed and they need as much prayer and support as they can get. Please don’t forget to pray for these men and women serving our country.
Belinda has started one on one disciple with a young Christian woman this month. Megumi is hungry for God’s word and eager to learn as much as she can about him. We would like spend more and more time in discipleship ministry. Pray for God to bless the time we are able to spend meeting and teaching new believers and to provide more opportunities to disciple them.
John is working on putting together a morning meeting time with men of the church. One of the men from the military base is fluent in Japanese and shares John's vision to disciple men in the church. Pray that God will bring this together for His glory!
- Praise God for all the children who came to VBS this summer and that they were able to learn about God’s love and plan of salvation.
- Praise God for all the teams and individuals who came to volunteer with CRASH to help the earthquake victims.
- Praise God for the opportunity to start a new home fellowship at the Air Force base.
- John is now running full steam on our websites, audio streaming and getting recorded media on the websites for the many who are part of the Grace family yet live too far away to attend all the services.
- Pray for the children and Parents who heard the gospel through VBS, that they would understand and receive salvation. Pray that they would be drawn to the church to hear more about the one true God.
- Pray for the earthquake victims with whom the love of God was shared to look to Him for grace and help.
- Pray for the Mort family to have an impact on their community even in this time of disaster.
- Pray for the Yokota home fellowship to begin well and that God would bring both families and single men and women together to support and pray for one another.
- Pray for more teachers to come to Grace Christian International School. Pray for the students to learn well, but especially that they would grow in the knowledge of God.
- Pray that God would bless the one on one discipleship that Belinda has started this month with Megumi.
- Pray that John can keep up with all the new technology he is now learning.
- Continue to pray for our language skills to improve and for the opportunity to receive more focused instruction.