I can't speak for Tomoko on this, but October is one of my (John's) favorite months of the year here in Japan. The evenings are cool and the days are sunny—of course a typhoon is always possible too, but I still like October. The other night there was a beautiful full moon, and I went out to take a short walk and I was reminded of how much the Lord has blessed our lives while we have been here in Japan. Sometimes it is good to just stop and count our blessings.
Sunday was a very special day for the Nishi Okamoto Church. We had the installation service for our Associate Pastor, Akira Takahashi. We had lunch after our morning worship, then spent a few hours getting things ready for the service. We had many pastors and guests from area church join us for the service, so the sanctuary was filled. Then after the service we served a BBQ in the churchyard. People stayed and stayed as they enjoyed the fellowship of the Holy Spirit in our midst that afternoon.
Normally, when I write these letters, I want to tell you how the Lord is at work and blessing the church here in Japan. But today I have been thinking also of all my family, friends, and the churches in the U.S. It has been a very challenging time for you. The members of the Nishi Okamoto Church lifted up special prayers for you. Pastors and members of other churches spoke words of comfort and encouragement to us. One of the young mothers who has come to several of our church activities, but is not yet a Christian asked Tomoko if she could come by the church to pray for the people of the U.S. People have asked how they can give to help the victims. So we will take a special offering for the U.S. and also for the refugees of Afghanistan.
Thank you for supporting us with your prayers. But thank you also for supporting us with your gifts. I don't believe that there is any greater need for our world today, than for more missionaries sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that there are lots of needs all around you. But this month it has become very clear, that we live in a world that needs Jesus Christ.