February in Rifu is usually cold but not much snow. This year was very different! We enjoyed snow frequently at our apartment. By the next day, the snow is usually melted. We were invited to help with a video recording by Pastor Makito Matsuda at his home. Look closely at the picture above. You can see the snow is like a blizzard! Not to worry, we were warm and cozy inside. Yuki, his wife, offered us warm drinks and snacks.
Pastor Makito was a plenary speaker for Reaching Japanese for Christ (RJC) International Conference in Seattle. Due to COVID-19, he needed to participate virtually. I volunteered my assistance and brought some photographic lighting equipment.
I enjoy sharing my skills especially when they can be used for ministry. This is one thing partners do: share! However, I was doubly blessed since I heard his message twice. The theme of the conference, “Partnership in the Gospel: From the Past Until Completion.” Philippians 1:3-6 He included his experience of ministry burn-out and recovery. This touched me and several of the participants. There were many good comments from them. Pastor Makito shared a book he contributed to, “Resilience: How Japanese Pastors Can Thrive in Every Season: Departing, Arriving, Leading and Finishing Well in Life and Ministry”. This is a good resource to maintain healthy practices and avoid burn-out. Pastor Makito’s story includes partners that came alongside to encourage, help and pray during his recovery.
After recording, we enjoyed some snacks and drinks with Yuki and Pastor Makito. Yuki is leading an older women’s small group. She is good at asking questions. For example, one woman she is advising was a little stuck in her growth. Yuki asked her what does she want to be? Specifically, what is the kind of person that God wants her to become? I love the way Yuki can gently ask questions to encourage these women and guides them back to the Bible for answers. She is a good partner!
How can I be a good partner? One way is I must spend time to get to know others. Thankfully, Pastor Makito advised us to do exactly this! He is spending time with us amid a busy schedule. We are learning about each other’s stories. Please pray for us as we grow as partners and brothers in the Lord!