For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself. Acts 2:39
We would like to thank all of you who were praying for use while we traveled there and spent the weekend “spying out the land”, as we say. It was a great opportunity to check out the area for a possible new ministry, and a good respite as well.
Sasebo is a key port dating back to the early 1500’s. It was considered a strategic location commercially and militarily during countless wars and currently is the location of a US Navy base.
The island of Kyushu has been the focus of Western religious activity from the beginning primarily by the Catholic church. The
further you travel towards Nagasaki; the more a Catholic presence remains. Sasebo itself has a Catholic and a Baptist church as well as the military base chapel. To our knowledge, there is no other Protestant church in this area.
We found the people to be friendly and very open. When you compare Tokyo and other large cities to Iwakuni, where we are now, the difference in the pace of life is quite radical. The pace of life in Sasebo is pleasantly somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.
Meeting people and getting to know them seems pretty easy. One afternoon we were just hanging out in the older downtown mall area at a Starbucks.
I struck up a conversation with the young man next to me named Ryuto. He was typing out a bunch of things on his computer in English. As we talked, it came up that Belinda and I had taught English in Tokyo as part of our ministry. He said, “I am studying English, will you teach me?”
We spent the next hour going over his “journal”, correcting his writing and sharing the differences in our two cultures. He was really interested in how our two cultures influence language and points of view.
This is “Friendship Evangelism”, something Belinda and I are really comfortable doing.
We also met “by phone” an American couple closer to our age, Doug and Rose, who also have a long history with Calvary Chapel and a missionary heart for Japan. Because of the current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions of the Navy Base, where Rose works, we could only meet these folks over the phone.
They have experience with ministry abroad, having studied and served at the Bible College in Seigen for several years, and then serving
at a CC in the San Diego area before coming to Japan. We are just at the beginning of getting to know them, but we seem to have synergetic views of ministry and vision for Sasebo. They agree that a team approach to a new work in Sasebo is important to success. We have agreed to continue to meet up over the internet and strategize on how we could possibly work together to reach the people of Sasebo.
He, Doug, also shared that the mayor of Sasebo is behind an initiative to bring more English language to
the culture of Sasebo; great way for us to quickly get involved in the community there.
Note: The famous "Sasebo Burger" is basically an American style hamburger with egg on it 🙂
We really need to pray! So far, Sasebo “feels right” for us. The size, population, culture and levels of opportunity seem like they could be a good fit. Our plan at this point is to continue to connect with this couple living there and to plan logistically how we might relocate to the area.
Would you pray with and for us as we look at what the next steps would be?
- God’s confirmation
- Developing strategic relationships
- God’s guidance and provision (Where God guides, God provides.)
- God’s timing (given the current Covid-19 climate)