International Ministries

Holiday Stories and a New Friend

January 6, 2011 Journal
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Holiday Stories

Three pots of stew; cheese (western?), kimuchi (hot Korean!), and wafu (regular Japanese) was the way we began our end of the year youth retreat at the church. We included lots of singing, games, and a Bible study on forgiveness, at the end of which our youngest group member Sho said, “Wow! That was a good time!”  We ended the retreat the next day by inviting youth from other churches in our area to join us for a “Ping-Pong” tournament, which was won by 7th grader Toru with his wicked spins and smashes. Afterwards, everyone stayed for Nishi Okamoto Church’s annual ‘end of the year concert’, or Bounen (literally “forget the year”), concert. It is an open concert, where anyone is welcome to play or sing.

Thank you for praying for some of our new young families. Christmas is a wonderful time to make the message of God’s gift of Jesus Christ known to those who do not know what Christmas is really about. No, Yuri’s mom didn’t come on the Sunday morning she said she would.  However she did come for our Christmas party after church on the 19th.  Yuri played the piano for us. Then she came to our Christmas Eve worship service. On the 30th at the “End of the Year” concert, Tomoko and Mrs. Banno joined Yuri and his little brother, Yura, in leading everyone in a well know Japanese song.  Yuri’s mom was beaming with pride as she watched.

Things don’t always happen just the way we plan, or in our time.  However, in God’s time and through the Holy Spirit, the Lord moves in and among us, touching lives we don’t always realize.  There are many wonderful things from 2010 I will not soon forget, despite our “forget the year” concert.

A New Friend!

We did have other guests in worship during the month.  One young lady, Laban, is a refugee from Myanmar. She has lived here in Japan for 8 years and this year began to study in the law department at a nearby university. My niece, Mika, who works at the university, met her and invited her to church.  She is a member of the Tokyo Peace Church and was glad to find a Baptist church she could join for worship while she is here in our area.  As you probably know, the Baptists in Myanmar also have their roots in American Baptist missions, because of Adoniram and Ann Judson, the first American foreign missionaries. 

As we start a new year 2011, let me share a quote from Judson. “The prospects are as bright as the promises of God.” So is the future, because the Lord is alive and at work through you.

As always we give thanks for you and each one who is a part of this network of sharing the gospel and building the body of Christ.  I want you to know that your prayers and your gifts of support have changed lives.

Prayer Points

• Pray for the young families at Nishi Okamoto Church.
• Pray for the youth of Japanese, especially the young people in our churches as they grow in their faith.
• Praise for the blessings of 2010. We witnessed the Lord touch many lives during the year.
• Praise for you, and each one who has committed to partner with us and the Lord in sharing the Gospel in Japan.

Your gifts of support bless us.  Happy New Year!

John and Tomoko

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