International Ministries

Ministry Update

February 19, 2011 Journal
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Dear Journal friends,

Winter has been tough for people all over the USA, and comparatively I have had it easy.  Last Monday, I was attending an interdenominational missionary gathering in Tokyo.  I left at 9 pm to head back to Yokohama.  It was snowing heavily, although none was sticking yet.  The later it got, the more heavily it snowed.  The train stopped in the middle of the tracks for about 15 minutes for some reason.  When I got to my station, it was already past the hour at which the gate is closed where I live.  There were 15 people lined up at the taxi stall and no taxis in sight, so I hoofed it for 20 minutes in the snow and slush. Since I couldn’t attract the attention of the guard, with great strength (!) I was able to open the gate leading to my apartment.  The next morning, I would barely have known that we had had a “storm” the night before.  Since then, occasionally we have a day that convinces me that spring is coming.  But then it turns cold again.  Isn’t that a picture of our life and spiritual experience?  We experience the warmth of God, and then we look away, and find that that act has brought on winter again.  God desires to keep us “warm” while the snow swirls outside.

Work At Schools The month of February has found me trying to catch up on a number of tasks while getting over a cold.  After delivering the message at a local church, I was asked again to give the children’s story at the kindergarten.  That particular day, the kids were really hyped up for some reason, and me showing up sent another wave of excitement through the room, “Roberta sensei is here, Roberta sensei is here.”  Oh brother, I thought.  The story was a hard one as it was, the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.  I prayed hard as I sat in the preparation room waiting for the time.  When I went in and began the story, there was a quieting over the whole group of seventy 4-year olds.  It was nothing short of a miracle to see how God created a hush that lasted through the end of the story.

In Japan the end of one year bumps right up against the beginning of the next year without much break for students and teachers.  As the K. teachers prepare for graduation, they’re also preparing for the next group of kids entering.  So, the graduating 5-year olds just had their “senior” picnic.  Next they’ll have a graduation worship and lastly the graduation ceremony (a big deal here!).  The same things are taking place in the Kanto Gakuin elementary school nearby.  Frankly, I can’t even remember “graduation” in 6th grade.  This year I have been asked to be the main speaker at the 6th grade baccalaureate service on March 7th.  I feel a real burden to get across three themes.  Continue to stay in the Word of God and hide it in your heart; facing the fluctuation of friendships and lastly, I want to somehow address the perils of bullying.  All this in just 15 minutes?!??

Current Projects  The Japan Baptist Union Women will have their annual retreat March 23-25th.  I’m working on giving a seminar on having a devotional life.  I’ve been working on curriculum for the new year in April for 4-year olds, helping the Kanto Gakuin Sigma Circle plan for their upcoming volunteer experience in Thailand with Akha Hill Tribes and with the New Life Center and House of Love, and studying for and meeting weekly with the Friday Bible study group with the addition of a new member.  During this winter the mother’s group has not met but we will start up again next week.  The husband of one mother who helped me begin this group will be ordained this weekend.  

I do thank God for you daily, and you are always on my mind because I owe everyone a personal letter!  Thank you so much for your kindness and support.
None of what I have written could be accomplished without my Missionary Partnership Network!

In Christ, Roberta

Senkyoshi-kan B
1-50-1 Mutsuura Higashi
Kanazawa-Ku, Yokohama
236-37    Japan

PS Please look forward to a letter about volunteers through RobertasTidbits