International Ministries

Hwang - International Ministries The latest from Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang https://internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang.rss Homecoming-ed Hwangs Happy! <p>Happy to come home? We certainly were! We spent 32 days in the States this summer. Nearly every day we had an appointment, get-together, or event with family, friends, and supporters. We traveled from Anacortes, WA to Medford, OR. and back again. We visited five churches, two states, and had over 30 lunch/dinner meetings. This year was extra special because of two things, M sensei and meeting mission-minded young adults!&nbsp;</p><p>M sensei met us in Seattle for seven days including a one-night trip to Oregon! M sensei teaches third grade at Soshin Elementary. It started in late-May with dinner at our home when we discovered she wanted to visit this summer. She also knows Dorothy Noyes, retired missionary who served at Soshin School years ago. M sensei went on the exchange program trip with Dorothy to the States! So, we invited her to go with us (Roberta came, too) and visit her teacher! We had a wonderful time encouraging Dorothy and sharing greetings from many friends from school and church.&nbsp;</p><p>Nearly every summer since we were first married, we attend JEMS Warm Beach Family Camp. This year, to our pleasant surprise, the career young adults were in charge and en masse at camp! For four days, we enjoyed good teaching, delicious food, and fellowship with young adults. There are five camps: Youth, Japanese, Family/Adults, Special Needs, and Kids going on at the same time. One couple, newly married and expecting, are preparing to go to Japan as missionaries someday! We were blessed to be there to encourage and pray with them. This is another answer to our Matthew 9:38 daily prayer for more workers in Japan!</p><p>We are happy to be home in the States and to be back home in Japan!&nbsp;</p><p>May the Lord continue to richly bless you!&nbsp;</p><p>With Thanks and much Love,&nbsp;</p><p>Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang&nbsp;</p><p>P.S. If you receive this journal as an email, click on the link in the title to see a larger picture!</p> Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65943-homecoming-ed-hwangs-happy- https://internationalministries.org/read/65943-homecoming-ed-hwangs-happy- Waiting for Answers? <p>How long must I wait for an answer to prayer? One year ago and a little bit, February 2016, I began praying daily Matthew 9:37-8 at 9:38 AM. I am praying as Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” We need more workers for the Lord in Japan.&nbsp;</p><p>This year, June 19, we received Nita and Laura (10) as our newest missionary colleagues in Japan! Nita will teach at Kanto Gakuin University and Laura will start elementary school soon. Also, Nita will be doing campus ministry. <a href="https://internationalministries.org/teams/682-tomita">Shigemi Tomita</a> hosted a welcome lunch and we met Nita’s long-time friend. Please pray with us for Nita and Laura. Ask the Lord for open doors as they serve Him!&nbsp;</p><p>Would you join me in praying for more workers for Japan?&nbsp;</p><p>May the Lord continue to richly bless you!&nbsp;</p><p>With Thanks and much Love,&nbsp;</p><p>Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang P.S. If you receive this journal as an email, click on the link in the title to see a larger picture!</p> Fri, 30 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65473-waiting-for-answers- https://internationalministries.org/read/65473-waiting-for-answers- Bazaar Banana Cake? <p>Is Banana Cake popular in Japan? You betcha! Every year, at the beginning of May, is a holiday time called, “Golden Week. ” Soshin Baptist Church holds their annual bazaar on May 3 during this holiday. It is a fun event with lots of little kids, games, special foods, and music. Lots of people from around the neighborhood come and enjoy the festive time!&nbsp;</p><p>I usually help with banana cake making a few days before and they let me do much of the mashing! Mostly, moms from the kindergarten help bake but have never had to do massive mashing. They appreciate having the help and saving them from sore hands and arms. They make dozens of small cakes in mini-bread pans and they always sell out!</p><p>One of the older moms shared how they loved the taste of banana cake shared by a missionary from America. Somehow, the tradition started many years ago and continues to this day at Soshin Church’s annual Bazaar.&nbsp;</p><p>What is sweeter than bananas? Honey. What is sweeter than honey? The Bible says:&nbsp;</p><blockquote style="margin: 0 0 0 40px; border: none; padding: 0px;"><p>"The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb." Psalm 19: 9-10&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>As we share the work with our friends, we want to share the sweetness of the Lord through His word.</p><p>With Thanks and much Love,&nbsp;</p><p>Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang&nbsp;</p><p>P.S. If you receive this journal as an email, click on the link in the title to see a larger picture!<br></p> Thu, 15 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/65369-bazaar-banana-cake- https://internationalministries.org/read/65369-bazaar-banana-cake- Share the Oasis <p>He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Happy Resurrection Sunday! I am writing this as some of you slept, so this is a belated greeting. As promised, this is part 2 of our trip to Tohoku in March.&nbsp;</p><p>Rifu Christ Church, a.k.a. Oasis Chapel is a growing church in northern Sendai, Japan. We visited their pastor, Makito Matsuda and his family. Before having dinner with them, we stopped at Morigo Camp to see the new things that the Lord is doing. Here is a two-minute video of our trip:</p><p><span style="background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;"><a href="https://quik.gopro.com/v/XtK2jgbHzg/">https://quik.gopro.com/v/XtK2jgbHzg/</a></span><br></p><p>Pastor Makito has cast a vision for sharing Christ that their church, Oasis Chapel, has caught! Part of that vision is the transformation of the Morigo Camp grounds into Oasis Center, a facility that will be used year round. Last fall, a once-a-month evening service for youth and young adults was begun at the new chapel built on the grounds. (We attended the opening service!) Soon after, they began work to remodel the caretaker’s cabin. It became Café Oishian. The name means "Living stone" which comes from the Livingstones, IM missionaries who were instrumental in building Morigo camp. The coffeehouse opened to the public in January 2017. Pastor Makito’s brother, Ken, manages the café and is the coffee barista. &nbsp;</p><p>The Café provides a lovely setting for a snack and casual conversation. It is designed as an "entry point." Events planned for the Oasis Center include concerts, parenting and couples classes, and worship. When people come, they are able to see what more there is. They can be invited to participate more fully and disciple making can begin. As some come to faith, are enfolded, and trained, they are empowered to multiply. Pastor Makito calls this his “Mt. Fuji strategy.” &nbsp;Sharing the Oasis allows Jesus Christ to fill people’s deepest thirst with His Living Water.</p><p>Shalom House, a dormitory that survived the earthquake, has a new kitchen and shower/bathroom. It can hold up to 24 people (3 rooms with 8 bunks). The camp is less than 15 minutes from the church.&nbsp;</p><p>If you are interested in the Oasis Center, or Oasis Chapel, please click on these webpages (Japanese only) for more information:</p><p><a href="http://www.oasis-chapel.com/">http://www.oasis-chapel.com/</a></p><p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/oasiscentermorigo">https://www.facebook.com/oasiscentermorigo</a></p><p>With Thanks and much Love,</p><p>Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</p><p>P.S. If you receive this journal as an email, click on the link in the title to see a larger picture!</p><p>P.P.S. Read our previous 2015 Journal about Oasis Chapel:</p><p><a href="https://internationalministries.org/read/60189-spreading-god-s-oasis-in-rifu-japan">https://internationalministries.org/read/60189-spreading-god-s-oasis-in-rifu-japan</a><br></p> Sun, 16 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/64948-share-the-oasis https://internationalministries.org/read/64948-share-the-oasis Hope for the Hopeless <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Are you getting ready for Resurrection Day (Easter)? While&nbsp;Christians worldwide remember the Lord’s Resurrection, this is the time of year in Japan when kids are graduating and many people are moving or changing jobs. March also&nbsp;marks the sixth anniversary&nbsp;of the 2011 Great East Japan (Tohoku) earthquake.&nbsp;</span></h3><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">While most of the nation has returned to business as usual, people in Tohoku live with constant reminders of the tragedy. Rebuilding has begun in some areas, while other areas are still in limbo. Many people&nbsp;remain&nbsp;in temporary housing. Possible nuclear contamination is a constant source of anxiety. As a family, we took a&nbsp;trip to Sendai to visit some friends and encourage them.</font></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">This was our first time to visit Nozomi Project in Ishinomaki City, about an hour from Sendai. Sue Plumb Takamoto, Director, invited us for a tour. As a missionary, Sue helped in the cleanup in Ishinomaki directly after the tsunami. She said she saved some of the beautiful broken dishes and thought, "What if we could make something beautiful from this devastation?"</font></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">&nbsp;After moving her family to the area, she saw her new friends needed a place of hope. The idea to make jewelry from the broken pottery was born.&nbsp;<i>Nozomi</i>&nbsp;means, “hope” in Japanese. They train women from Ishinomaki to craft high-quality jewelry from up-cycled broken pottery. Over 30 women have received employment and hope through this ministry. Currently, they have 15 on staff. One of the staff, Chieko, gave us a tour. Afterward, she shared her testimony.</font></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">Chieko is a survivor like others, but her story involves her disabled son. She was lonely and unable to talk about her struggles. At Nozomi, she&nbsp;found a safe community that has given her hope. She&nbsp;says the Bible has helped her to&nbsp;share openly about her son. Please pray for her as we did. Her hope is for a society that will accept and encourage people like her son.&nbsp;<br></font></span></h4><h4 style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px;"><font face="Times" size="3"><span style="font-weight: normal;">If you are interested in seeing a short (1:20 min.) video of our visit, please click on this link:</span></font></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><u><a href="https://quik.gopro.com/v/PzA8F2Jz7X/"><font size="3">https://quik.gopro.com/v/PzA8F2Jz7X/</font></a></u></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">We love Sue, the Nozomi story, the staff, and their products! The end of our tour included shopping! They have expanded their lines of jewelry! If you are interested in learning more about Nozomi and their products, please click on this link:</font></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="https://nozomiproject.com/pages/about-us"><font size="3">https://nozomiproject.com/pages/about-us</font></a></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">I will share about some exciting happenings in Rifu (Sendai) in the next journal. May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</font></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">With Thanks and much Love,</font></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</font></span></h4><h4 style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><font size="3">P.S. If you receive this journal as an email, click on the link in the title to see a larger picture!</font></span></h4><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></h3><h4></h4><h3><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></h3><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"><o:p></o:p></p><p style="font-family: -apple-system-font; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px;"></p> Fri, 31 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/64826-hope-for-the-hopeless https://internationalministries.org/read/64826-hope-for-the-hopeless Remember and Rejoice <h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">During the month of January, often we can see Mt. Fuji from the back of the parking lot next to our home. When I see this majestic peak, I remember to pray for the Japanese people. &nbsp;(Can you find it?)<br><br></span></h3><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Since last year January, I prayed (almost) daily for more harvest workers for Japan. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:38 NIV) So, I have an alarm set at on my mobile phone. At 9:38, I set aside one minute to pray for more workers to share the gospel in Japan. This month we heard the good news that a new missionary will come to teach English starting this summer! The Lord heard our prayers and is mobilizing the next generation of workers for Japan. Thanks for praying with me. Please keep praying since there is another opening available for an English teacher. Rejoice in the Lord! &nbsp;&nbsp;<br><br></span></h3><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">Eleven days from now, 3/11/2017, there will be ceremonies in remembrance of the nearly 20,000 people who lost their lives in the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disasters six years ago. Many Japanese are still open to hearing the good news of Jesus Christ because of the many prayers that were lifted up for the survivors. Let’s keep praying for more workers to serve the Japanese who are still recovering. Also, please pray that many more Japanese will receive faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! &nbsp;<br><br></span></h3><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">May the Lord continue to richly bless you! &nbsp;<br><br></span></h3><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">With Thanks and much Love, &nbsp;<br>Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang &nbsp;<br><br></span></h3><h3><span style="font-weight: normal;">P.S. 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mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p></div> Tue, 28 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64633-remember-and-rejoice https://internationalministries.org/read/64633-remember-and-rejoice Harvesting Fruit, Sowing Seeds <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Belated Happy and Blessed New Year! In Japanese, they say, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal"><a href="http://japanese.about.com/library/media/audio/akemashiteo.wav" title="http://japanese.about.com/library/media/audio/akemashiteo.wav">akemashite omedetou gozaimasu</a></i>. It is a national holiday and many Japanese have a week of vacation to be with their family. We celebrated on New Year’s Day at our international church with worship in Japanese and English. Pastor Scott encouraged us with a message that this will be a “fruitful” year! This past year (and continuing), I prayed for more workers for the harvest in Japan. Matthew 9:37-38. By faith, we believe both for the “fruit” and the workers. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Here are two examples of some recent fruit. Our daughter, Miki, led her friend to the Lord during their discipleship time. This was Miki’s first time to pray with someone to receive Jesus Christ into her heart! Please pray for our new sister in Christ, R-chan. Two Sundays ago, there was our first baptism service of 2017 with about 8 people baptized, including an entire family! Dad, Mom, and daughter were all “dunked” into a new life with Christ. Japanese people of all ages are responding to the Good News of Jesus. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Before we can see “fruit” we must “sow seeds.” December is our busiest time of ministry. This year was especially busy, just before Christmas. Four days straight, I shared Christmas carols on my accordion for different groups. Music is a wonderful way to share the miracle of Jesus’ birth, God’s gift to us. Sharing Christmas music is a little like “sowing seeds.” On Christmas Day, during the annual Nokendai Fellowship potluck, I was having trouble playing. I was tired and making mistakes! During a break, I met a new friend, who was the former pianist for the fellowship. I asked for help and he agreed to accompany me. Without rehearsal, he can play by ear. I just gave him the title and key of the carol. Several people thanked us for the music. PTL!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Thanks and much Love,</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>JA</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:EnableOpenTypeKerning/> 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mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">P.S. If you receive this journal as an email, click on the link in the title to see a larger picture!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt; font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p> Mon, 30 Jan 2017 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64438-harvesting-fruit-sowing-seeds https://internationalministries.org/read/64438-harvesting-fruit-sowing-seeds Thanksgiving and the Gift <p class="p1"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Every year in November, we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with our Bible study. We combine Thanksgiving with Christmas since the students are too busy to visit us during finals. This year, a</span></span><span style="font-size: 21px;">bout 18 people attended including our family. W</span><span style="font-size: 16pt;">e sang Christmas carols and did a “white elephant” gift exchange and told the Thanksgiving story, “Sqaunto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving.” Please pray for the three non-believers who came and heard the message of Christ.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">In December, we had many opportunities to share Christ in word and deed. I was privileged to visit Tohoku (NE Japan) again with a team of&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 21px;">four people&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 16pt;">from Soshin Baptist church. We delivered hand-picked, organic </span><i style="font-size: 16pt;">hakusai</i><span style="font-size: 16pt;"> (<i>napa</i> cabbage) and </span><i style="font-size: 16pt;">daikon</i><span style="font-size: 16pt;"> (mild flavored, large white radish) to three </span><i style="font-size: 16pt;">youchien</i><span style="font-size: 16pt;"> (pre-schools). I learned that, after over five years, many families near the ruined nuclear reactors still suffer from fear and anxiety. They do not trust the local water or locally grown food. They do not believe the government who says it is safe from radiation. At one <i>youchien&nbsp;</i>we visited, a majority of families buy imported water and rice for their children. These families have separate rice cookers for their kids.</span></p><p class="p1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">The principal and pastor at Harumachi <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">youchien</i> spent over an hour sharing with us. Their <i>youchien</i> is unique in that they have decontaminated the soil many times and have tried very hard to keep the levels of radiation low on their playground. Because of their efforts, the children are allowed to play outside for short periods. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>They warmly received our vegetable gifts and thanked us.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">Just two weeks before our trip, they suffered another large, 6.9M “after-shock” in nearby Fukushima. No severe damage was done, but it brought back the strong, traumatic memories again. They still need our prayers and support, as the recovery will continue for a long time. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">The sharing of our small gift of vegetables allowed us to pray for and encourage these courageous leaders with Christ’s love. We left with tears and with hope to return again for another visit. What a gift we received!&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span style="font-size: 16pt;">May the Lord continue to richly bless you in 2017!</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Thanks,</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> 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class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">P.S. If you receive this journal as an email, click on the link in the title to see the pictures!</span></span><o:p></o:p></p> Fri, 30 Dec 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/64089-thanksgiving-and-the-gift https://internationalministries.org/read/64089-thanksgiving-and-the-gift Sharing a Meal, Sharing the Messiah! <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:22.5pt"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">&nbsp;I</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">n October, w</span><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">e had the privilege to visit Tohoku, NE Japan, with our Area Director, Leslie Turley. Our partners gave us tours and treated us to delicious meals. I have been praying daily at 9:38 (Matt 9:38) for more workers for Japan to share the good news of Jesus Christ. On this trip, I noticed our partners are now requesting more workers! In the college/high school/junior high school communities and in the local church communities, there are opportunities for people willing to teach English. I</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">ntentionally b</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt; text-indent: 22.5pt;">uilding relationships can allow us to share the most important message of Jesus, our Messiah.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">What a great opportunity!</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt; text-indent: 22.5pt;">Would you like to share a meal with us in Japan?</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:22.5pt"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman';">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:22.5pt"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">With Thanks and much Love,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> 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mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:22.5pt"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang</span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:22.5pt"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">P.S. Last Tuesday, November 22, 5:59AM JST, Fukushima had another "aftershock" of 6.9M&nbsp;</span><font face="Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: 21px;">earthquake. Fortunately, only 15 people were injured and no fatalities. Only minor damage was reported and the tsunami was only1-2 meters high afterward. We were woken and shaken but we are ~300km from the epicenter.&nbsp;</span></font><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">Please continue to pray for the people of Tohoku.</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">&nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/63882-sharing-a-meal-sharing-the-messiah- https://internationalministries.org/read/63882-sharing-a-meal-sharing-the-messiah- Peek-a-Boo, God sees You! <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:22.5pt"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Sometimes, I get a nudge from God. This time it was during the worship service&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">“altar call”</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt; text-indent: 22.5pt;">&nbsp;to peek at those who may respond. (We usually have our eyes closed during this time for privacy.) Two rows in front of us, a woman raises her hand when asked,</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt; text-indent: 22.5pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt; text-indent: 22.5pt;">“Raise your hand, if you want to receive Jesus into your heart.” Something was familiar about her, but I could not see her face. Later, I found out she is N-chan’s mother.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:22.5pt"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">N-chan is Matthew’s friend from Matsumoto Junior High School. They started with a common hobby, Mini-4WD motorized cars in October 2013. N-chan came to our Bible study because Matt and his friend, H-kun invited him. N-chan regularly came to our Bible study and worship at church. After accepting Jesus, he was baptized July 5, 2014 in the ocean. Before being baptized, we invited N-chan’s family to our home for a barbecue (see the first picture with N-chan's parents and Naomi).<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:22.5pt"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Since N-chan graduated from junior high this spring, we have not seen him. He is attending a boarding high school far from our home, studying to be a farmer. So, I was so surprised to see his Mom at worship service. (Usually, we have ~300 in attendance during the morning service and it is hard to recognize people in the crowd.) The following Sunday, October 9, I greeted her before worship. I congratulated her and she was very thankful. Her smile was so beautiful! This month, her daughter started coming to our Bible study. She is one of Lee Ann’s students at Soshin Girls School. Please pray for Y-chan and N-chan’s father for faith!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">We want to express our thanks to the many people that have responded and pledged toward our financial support. Would you consider a donation or pledge to the World Mission Offering in October? Please know that your part in the body of Christ is extremely valuable. Please donate through your local American Baptist church or click the link below:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p align="center" style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:center; background:white"><b><u><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#C00000"><a href="https://internationalministries.org/drives/42"><span style="color:purple">World Mission Offering</span></a></span></u></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p align="center" style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:center; background:white"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#548235">Celebrate Cuba’s spiritual revival!</span></p><p align="center" style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:center; background:white"><span style="color: rgb(84, 130, 53); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 11pt;">Click the link above for free resources.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; color: black;"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;">With Thanks and much Love,</span><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; color: black;"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang</span></p> Sun, 30 Oct 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63699-peek-a-boo-god-sees-you- https://internationalministries.org/read/63699-peek-a-boo-god-sees-you- Bangkok + Koh + Akha = Kuel! <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Normally, “cool” and “Thailand” are not used in the same sentence. But if you put 33 IM missionaries and staff together with their newly appointed Executive Director (ED), Rev. Sharon Koh (Sharon), and mix well, you get “Kuel”! (Kids’ slang for “awesome!”)<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Arriving four hours late due to a closed runway at Narita Airport, we enjoyed our first taste of Thai hospitality at 2:30 AM. Our hosts from Bangkok Christian Guest House, greeted us with the famous Thai smile. Our meetings the next few days gave us a chance to renew acquaintances and make new friends. Individually, we shared our passion for ministry (in 3 mins.). We also reflected on the “Responding to the Call” vision as we move forward in implementing this plan. I particularly enjoyed our worship times at the start of each session. For me, the highlight of our time was the closing communion service and blessing of Sharon. Our family, Lee Ann, Miki, Matthew and I, all laid hands on Sharon and each prayed words of encouragement. I felt the Lord’s presence and His words fill me to share with her. We are very blessed to have Sharon as our new leader for this important time in IM’s history, starting our third century! Kuel!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Our friends and colleagues, <a href="https://internationalministries.org/teams/65-fox">Chuck and Ruth Fox</a>, invited us to visit them in Chiang Rai! So, we spent 2 ½ days touring the northern most part of Thailand. Our hosts provided warm hospitality and were awesome tour guides. Thank you!!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">They arranged a dinner in an Akha village with their pastor friend. As the 4WD pickup bumps up the narrow mountain dirt road, we are treated to a beautiful sunset. As we arrive, we begin to hear rumbling thunder. They usher us into the pastor’s house because a storm is coming. They normally dine outside. It is raining as we go inside.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">We enjoy a fabulous meal of fish, meatballs, vegetables, mild curry, and rice. The intensity of the storm increases while we eat and then the electricity goes out! Out come candles and cell phone lights. I notice the pastor carrying his guitar. Someone is handing out hymnals and there is English writing with the music. Traditional hymns have been translated into Akha using the alphabet! I can almost pronounce the words. It is getting late, but we sing three or four hymns with passion and in joy and praise to the Lord who brought us together. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><font face="Times New Roman"><span style="font-size: 16pt;">Through translation, we learned that sixteen years ago, their group had no home, no land. They prayed and the Lord gave them the land they are living on now. Their village grew to over 130 residents, but still is poor. These tribal people came from Burma where they cannot live anymore. The pastor is the newly elected leader of a group of Akha churches. They need the Lord’s help again for wisdom and resources. Please pray for this Akha pastor and his family. Please pray for Chuck and Ruth&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 21px;">as they continue to encourage and serve among the Akha people.</span></font></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Later, our kids told us this night was the highlight of their trip. They want to go back to the Akha village and play with the children! Kuel!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">“On Earth, As in Heaven” is our IM theme. We experienced a taste of the joy of this reality in Bankok and in Chiang Rai. Thanks to all of you who supported these meetings through prayer and giving. It was a tremendous blessing. I am encouraged and invigorated to follow Jesus in ministry together with our new ED, Sharon Koh. Please pray that Sharon remains healthy and be given divine wisdom to guide us to God’s “promised land,” our preferred future.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt; font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">In October, you may be hearing more about mission around the world. We want to express our thanks to the many people that have responded and pledged toward our financial support. Would you consider a donation or pledge to the World Mission Offering in October? Please know that your part in the body of Christ is extremely valuable. Please donate through your local American Baptist church or click the link below:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p align="center" style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:center; background:white"><b><u><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#C00000"><a href="https://internationalministries.org/drives/42"><span style="color:purple">World Mission Offering</span></a></span></u></b><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p align="center" style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:center; background:white"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#548235">Celebrate Cuba’s spiritual revival!</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> 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<![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p align="center" style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align:center; background:white"><span style="font-size:11.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#548235">Click the link above for free resources.</span><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; color: black;"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;">With Thanks and much Love,</span><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; color: black;"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-size: 16pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: black;">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63427-bangkok-koh-akha-kuel- https://internationalministries.org/read/63427-bangkok-koh-akha-kuel- Heart on Handkerchief <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Here’s my catch up journal for July!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family: Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">M-chan and U-chan are best friends and regularly attended our Friday Bible study. M-chan is going to the States for 10 months (see 2<sup>nd</sup> picture) with an exchange program. Their moms came for the bon-voyage party. After dinner we were able to talk with U-chan's mother. She was very happy to come to our home but she felt self-conscious about her handkerchief (see picture). She is wearing a handkerchief because she lost her hair during chemo and</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">&nbsp;she had accidentally left her wig&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">at the train station</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">&nbsp;while looking for something in her purse.</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt;">Although she was cancer free for several years, the doctor discovered that cancer had returned. We offered to pray for her and she accepted. We paused and laid hands on her for prayer. Afterward, she was smiling and said she had given up praying when she was diagnosed with cancer the second time. Although she is not a Christian yet, she prays to Jesus. She has attended Christian schools and church. Now, she is open to praying again. Would you please pray for her, too?</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Sometimes we wear our hearts on our sleeves, but in Japan this is unusual. Most of the time our Japanese friends are very private with their struggles. It may be considered a burden to share a struggle with another person. This night, the Lord allowed us to see U-chan’s mother's heart on her handkerchief. Now, I think her burden is a little lighter because she shared it with us and with God. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Please excuse me while I write my&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21px;">August</span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">&nbsp;journal. Stay tuned next week!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Thanks for your prayers and support!&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family: Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family: Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New 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color:black">&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/63274-heart-on-handkerchief https://internationalministries.org/read/63274-heart-on-handkerchief Birthday and Re-Birthday! Hooray! <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">We’ve been busy for the past few months! I am sorry for not updating you all. Let me begin to catch up in this journal for June. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt;">In May, we celebrated Gen-chan’s* birthday during our Friday Bible study (see photo).</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt;">&nbsp; </span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt;">Gen-chan came to us through his mom, A-san*. We were introduced to his mom through retired IM missionaries, Chuck and Judy DeRolf (see 2nd photo). I</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 21.6000003814697px;">n April,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt;">Chuck and Judy had returned to Japan for a vacation. They met with some of their former students, including A-san. Judy introduced us through email. We invited Gen-chan and his mom. Gen-chan became friends with our son and H-kun* in our group. In May and June, Gen-chan attended youth worship services and our Bible study faithfully. He came early to our Bible study, and met with Matthew for discipleship. Matthew, invited Gen-chan to pray and receive Jesus into his heart! So now, we can also celebrate Gen-chan’s re-birth day, too! We are very joyful and are praying for him to continue to grow in faith, as Matthew will continue to disciple his friend. Would you please pray for them, too?</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">A-san is attending a local church, Nokendai Bible Fellowship. We see her once a month. Please continue to pray for his mom, A-san, for faith in Christ.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt;">Please excuse me while I write the next journal for July and stay tuned next week!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">Thanks for your prayers and support!</span><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">With Thanks and much Love,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16pt;">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span><br></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">*These are 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mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Sun, 04 Sep 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/62967-birthday-and-re-birthday-hooray- https://internationalministries.org/read/62967-birthday-and-re-birthday-hooray- Wide Open Spaces, Wide Open Hearts <p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>I am on my way back to Japan! It's been a great trip and I have a new "home" in Kansas. After a week of experiencing the full range of weather, storms, lighting &amp; thunder, tornadoes, and sun, it feels like home. The wide open spaces are wild and beautiful! Well, the best part was meeting the warm friendly people that have faithfully prayed for us. The "wide open hearts" of many, including the American Baptist Women's Ministries (ABWM), are a big blessing to us. Yesterday, I met Pastor Dan and his wife, Susan, who is a new IM board member, at FBC Louisburg. I can guarantee, if you visit FBC Louisburg, you will be warmly welcomed with wide open hearts of Christ's love! I am so encouraged by all the people I met in Kansas and I saw the love of God through them.&nbsp;</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>Thanks again for all the prayers on this two-week journey, Seattle and Kansas!</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>May the Lord continue to richly bless you!&nbsp;</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>&nbsp;With Thanks and much<span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Love,&nbsp;</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>&nbsp;Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</p><p><span class="Apple-tab-span" style="white-space:pre"> </span>P.S. Thanks for responding to the matching gift campaign! It is now completed. Thanks to several of our supporters for donating and we received a matching amount. We look forward to the next campaign.</p><p><br></p> Mon, 30 May 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/62234-wide-open-spaces-wide-open-hearts https://internationalministries.org/read/62234-wide-open-spaces-wide-open-hearts $5,000 in OGHS Emergency Relief Funds to Japan, More Help Needed <p>American Baptist International Ministries (IM) is working with the Japan Baptist Union (JBU) to respond quickly to the earthquakes and aftershocks that rocked Kumamoto, Japan, during the past weekend. Forty-two people have been confirmed dead, more than 1,000 are injured and 11 are still missing, according to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36069405">BBC News</a>.</p> <p>An initial $5,000 in One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) emergency relief funds is being sent to IM partner the Japan Baptist Union (JBU) to help with the relief efforts.</p> <p><a href="http://www.abc-oghs.org/">OGHS</a> is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The Committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual OGHS offering received by churches.</p> <p>IM’s missionaries in Japan, Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang and Shigemi Tomita, live in Yokohama, which is not close to the site of the earthquake.</p> <p>This morning, the Rev. Leslie Turley, IM area director, received the following message from Tomiji Yamamoto, JBU general secretary:</p> <blockquote style="margin: 0 0 0 40px; border: none; padding: 0px;"><p>Thank you so much for praying and for your kind words. As of Monday at 9 PM (Japan Standard Time), there were three major earthquakes with 43 people confirmed dead and nine people missing. Over 3,000 homes have been seriously damaged or destroyed. Since the first earthquake there have been over 500 aftershocks affecting the people of Kumamoto.</p> <p>The JBU leadership met on Monday, April 18. Our organization has no direct work in Kumamoto, but we have a strong sister relationship with the Japan Baptist Convention, which has seven churches in the area. The local churches seem to be in a bit of a state of confusion and the JBC hasn’t been able to have complete confirmation of the state of the churches.</p> <p>Of the seven churches, there has been damage to two churches, with several church members having been hurt by the earthquake. There has been no word from one of the churches. Another church is now being used as a place of refuge for those left homeless after the earthquakes. The JBU will send $5,000 to the JBC to help them in assisting those affected by the earthquake. [This is in addition to the $5,000 being sent through OGHS.] We don’t know if there will continue to be earthquakes, so we continue to ask for your prayers. Please say thank you to the American Baptist Churches for their assistance.</p></blockquote> <p>According to BBC News, the earthquakes of last weekend were the biggest to have hit Japan since 2011, when a 9.0 magnitude quake caused a huge tsunami, leaving more than 19,000 dead and missing.</p> <p style="border-left: 5px solid lightgray; padding-left: 5px;"><b>Additional relief is urgently needed.</b> You may give through your church; <a href="http://internationalministries.org/drives/36">click here</a> to make an online contribution by credit card; or mail a check to International Ministries, Attn: OGHS-Japan Relief, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Write “OGHS-Japan Relief” on the memo line if you give by check.</p> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 09:18:17 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/61828-5-000-in-oghs-emergency-relief-funds-to-japan-more-help-needed https://internationalministries.org/read/61828-5-000-in-oghs-emergency-relief-funds-to-japan-more-help-needed Petal Power and Kumamoto Disaster Update <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Ten days ago, the cherry blossoms (<i>sakura</i>) were in full bloom. The sun was setting and I had a few moments before prepping dinner to catch the blossoms. The power of cherry blossoms attracted me to capture their beauty (before the wind and rain blew them away). <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Yesterday, we watched and read the power of nature had hit Japan in the southern city of Kumamoto. The government and volunteers are doing all they can to help the survivors. Some are still trapped and need rescue.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Some 41 are dead, ~1900 injured after the second earthquake, which was a magnitude 7.3. Please pray for the survivors and rescue workers! <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">There are seven affiliated Baptist (but non-Japan Baptist Union (JBU)) churches in the area. All were undamaged after the first quake, but we are waiting for reports after the second quake. Please pray for the churches and their communities! Thousands are without power, water, and gas at this time. Please pray that God would use this opportunity to bring revival to Japan and provide for the needs of the survivors.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Thanks for your prayers!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Thanks and much Love,</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">P.S. We are happy to announce a Matching Gift Opportunity between April 15 and June 15, 2015. Gifts to IM from new individual donors (or existing donors that give above their regular pledge) will be matched and doubled until June 15, 2015 or when the Challenge Fund (currently $150,000) is depleted – whichever comes first. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">To give online using your credit card, go to the <a href="http://internationalministries.org/drives/35">Matching Gift</a> page on the IM website or paste this link in your browser http://internationalministries.org/drives/35.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">To give by phone using a credit card, call Donor Services at 800-222-3872, ext. 2323, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 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mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">This is a great opportunity.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please consider helping with the Lord’s work around the world.</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p> Fri, 15 Apr 2016 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/61821-petal-power-and-kumamoto-disaster-update https://internationalministries.org/read/61821-petal-power-and-kumamoto-disaster-update Blossoms and Blessings <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Happy belated Resurrection Day/Easter! The <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">sakura</i> (cherry) trees are starting to bloom again in Yokohama. This is the time of year when we can share about Jesus. Easter is known in many countries including Japan. Have you ever met someone from another country and wanted to share about the good news of Jesus but did not have the language ability? Maybe this is something you can use.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Indigitube.tv is an organization that is described as “It is our desire that the Body of Christ would rise to the challenge of using effective cross-cultural evangelism tools utilizing the latest in mobile communication technologies, coupled with linguistically and culturally appropriate presentations of the gospel message.” In other words, these are high-tech tools to share Jesus with our international friends. Over 350 animations and films (for free download or viewing) in the two most popular digital formats are available (but no Japanese). Also, there are links to audio Bibles, in over 1300 different languages, that is searchable. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">Check out: </span><a href="http://www.indigitube.tv"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">http://www.indigitube.tv</span></a><u><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:blue"><o:p></o:p></span></u></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Last month we asked for prayers for our daughter, Miki. She graduated from Soshin Girls School this month and she was accepted to the Economics program at Yokohama National University! We believe this is the Lord’s choice for her and a great blessing for us. Not only is this a very good school academically, it also is very affordable (~1/4 the cost of private college) and just 40 minutes walk from our home! We are giving thanks to God for His provision. Thanks for your prayers!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Thanks and much Love,</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">P.S. 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https://internationalministries.org/read/61674-blossoms-and-blessings https://internationalministries.org/read/61674-blossoms-and-blessings Pressure Prayer? <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Right after the New Year holiday, many graduating high school students are under tremendous pressure. Why? It is entrance exam time for colleges. These exams begin in January and continue until the middle of March. (The school year will start in April.) These pictures are of candidates going to take entrance exams for Aoyama Gakkuin University and Waseda University. Our daughter, Miki, took the entrance exams for these two and two others. (She has one more test to go.) We, along with many other parents and students, are awaiting the results. We are praying for God’s choice for Miki’s education. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">We are also praying daily for more harvest workers for Japan. A guest preacher spoke two weeks ago. He challenged us to pray as Jesus invited, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:38 NIV) So, I have an alarm set on my mobile phone. At 9:38, I set aside one minute to pray for more workers to share the gospel in Japan. Eleven days from now, 3/11/2016, we will remember the nearly 20,000 who lost their lives in the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disasters five years ago. Many Japanese are still open to hear the good news of Jesus Christ because of this disaster and how Christians came to serve the survivors. Would you join me to pray for more workers?</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Thanks and much Love,</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">P.S. 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https://internationalministries.org/read/61405-pressure-prayer- Snow Surprise, No Surprise! <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Two weeks ago, Monday, January 18, we had our first snow of the season! It was a surprise to many local Japanese, and the trains had to shut down temporarily on some lines. Happily, Matthew’s high school canceled classes! Sadly, Naomi’s university did not and her commute was three hours, one-way. It was a surprise for us, but a week later Okinawa had snow, too! It was the first time in recorded history on January 25. Okinawa consists of the southern most islands of Japan. Nago Island, Okinawa, had seven inches. This is like Corpus Christi, TX or Ft. Meyers, FL getting a major snowstorm! Wow!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">However, we are very happy our snow did not happen a week earlier when Naomi and other 20 year-old’s attended the annual coming-of-age day <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">seijinshiki </i>ceremonies in their kimonos. Naomi and Lee Ann posed for me in their kimonos in our "home studio."&nbsp;<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Seijinshiki</i> is as major event for Japanese young women. Naomi joined about 15,000 others at Yokohama Arena for the city ceremonies. Instead of graduation pictures, she wanted <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">seijinshiki</i> pictures like her friends. We are happy she could enjoy this special cultural event.</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Thanks and much Love,</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">P.S. 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https://internationalministries.org/read/61116-snow-surprise-no-surprise- Blessed New Year 2016! <p class="p1" style="text-indent:.5in"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Happy and Blessed New Year! Looking out from the parking lot next to our home, we saw this glorious sunset. It never ceases to amaze me when I witness God’s beauty in nature. Since it is normally dry and clear during the winter in Yokohama, we can often view Mt. Fuji. It is a reminder for me to give thanks for the people of Japan and the beautiful country God created for them. <o:p></o:p></span></span></p><p class="p1" style="text-indent:.5in"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">We also want to thank many of you for blessing us with your prayers and financial support this year! We are very blessed to be serving the Lord in Japan as your partners in ministry. We are also challenged to be faithful stewards of the gifts God has given to us. As we complete our study of Revelation this year as a family, we are encouraged that there is a time when Jesus will return. One question comes to my mind, "How will we use our 2016 for the glory of Him?" May we all dance like the sunset pointing to the One and Only Son!</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="text-indent:.5in"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="text-indent:.5in"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Thanks and much Love,</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="text-indent:.5in"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size: 16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">P.S. 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mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> Wed, 30 Dec 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60795-blessed-new-year-2016- https://internationalministries.org/read/60795-blessed-new-year-2016- BBQ Turkey in Japan? <p> </p><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Happy belated Thanksgiving! We give thanks to God for you and your support.&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Thanks goes to Costco for their frozen turkey! (Several of the Japanese girls had never seen a turkey before!)&nbsp;<span class="s1">In&nbsp;Japan, they have a “thanks for labor” holiday, on November 23</span><span class="s2"><sup>rd</sup></span><span class="s1">. &nbsp;In our home, we celebrate Thanksgiving, American style. This year we celebrated Thanksgiving (and Christmas) with our Bible study group and friends a little early, on Nov. 20. About 19 people attended including our family. We celebrated with Gordon’s barbecued turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and Lee Ann’s sweet potato casserole, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and gravy. Friends helped with the sides, including&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-size: 21px;">salad,&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 16pt;">two pies, and roast pork (we had a feast)! Yumm!! We combined Thanksgiving with Christmas since the students are too busy to visit us during finals. So, we sang Christmas carols and did a “white elephant” gift exchange. (Gordon accompanied on the accordion again.) Please pray for the seven girls (six are non-believers) who came and heard the message of Christ.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="p1"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="orphans: auto;text-align:start;widows: auto;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; word-spacing:0px"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Thanks,</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="orphans: auto;text-align:start;widows: auto;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; word-spacing:0px"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="orphans: auto;text-align:start;widows: auto;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; word-spacing:0px"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">P.S. December 1 is</span></span><span class="apple-converted-space"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">&nbsp;</span></span><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/24">Giving Tuesday</a>!</span></span><span class="apple-converted-space"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">&nbsp;</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">All day on Tuesday (from 12:00 am&nbsp;to 11:59 pm Eastern Standard&nbsp;Time)&nbsp;any gift given to support the "Hear the Call" retreats will be&nbsp;<span class="s2"><a href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001EfFgJx0TEEkhIHpKS6Nt_utFkydWPiqWu-gjyRcLcKTJ0IcAJn8QIcCTZMYkosBcHW45DIf0A_NveJNFLIR7u2b8uFd3X1RpFm6FKH7oJM3y9ChhdS67TxLNsVDGzMDoR1E1nRqcuyg6wznmxJeg_9dH39IxFO_ImUdcIaC85jaTQioE4UUIkYwmCnuDVvibrfUcbXn-aNUhXzL_zfbLDw==&amp;c=OQL8ksthVO175Cc7Ya142XcsbnlRpf0ShLgUK-LI0hhKJXlUM7Snpg==&amp;ch=djK9Tvz-hOyQGWifg6abgl7GWDWWbFIUR7xKgbKKNn-RaRo_PVTgLg==">TRIPLED.</a>&nbsp;</span><span class="s1"><b>That's tomorrow, for 24 hours only, your $25 gift will be tripled to $75. Your $100 gift will be tripled to $300. Give any amount you wish!&nbsp; No limits&nbsp;</b>(</span><span class="s2">until the matching fund has been depleted).&nbsp;</span><span class="s1">&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="orphans: auto;text-align:start;widows: auto;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; word-spacing:0px"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Don't miss this special opportunity to support "Hear the Call" retreats.&nbsp;(Gifts to IM global workers are not eligible for this gift-tripling opportunity.)</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="orphans: auto;text-align:start;widows: auto;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; word-spacing:0px"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">"Hear the Call" weekend retreats are very special events held in various locations around the U.S. for those eager to explore&nbsp;God's call&nbsp;into global service. During "Hear the Call," men and women who are considering missionary service develop a deeper understanding of cross-cultural service and of how to serve with IM.</span></span><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="p1" style="orphans: auto;text-align:start;widows: auto;-webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; word-spacing:0px"><span class="s1"><span style="font-size:16.0pt;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">P.P.S. 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mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:16.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/60450-bbq-turkey-in-japan- https://internationalministries.org/read/60450-bbq-turkey-in-japan- Spreading God's Oasis in Rifu, Japan <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG></o:AllowPNG> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves></w:TrackMoves> 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Heading"></w:LsdException> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">It’s four years+ after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Recovery is slow but here’s a story of hope. I met Pastor Makito Matsuda in July at the Japan Baptist Union (JBU) annual meeting. He speaks English! I asked permission to visit him and their church, Oasis Chapel, in Rifu, near Sendai. Earlier this month, Lee Ann and I visited.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">Sunday morning, Ms. Hikichi, an administrator of the church, greeted us warmly in English. A</span><span style="font-size: 19px; font-weight: normal;">fter the first service ended,</span><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">&nbsp;we met Pastor Makito and his wife, Yuki. Church School had let out and a group of kids were playing in the park across the street. As we settled into the sanctuary, the kids came in, more than we had seen in the park. The second service had a worship team of 4—piano, electric bass and 2 singers. Their bass player was the worship leader! We sang praise songs and a hymn using projected lyrics. It was very encouraging to worship with young people in a growing JBU church! They are averaging 95 people in attendance on Sundays with 80 members. (The average size JBU church is around 25-30 people.)</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Pastor Makito taught from Genesis, the story of Noah. He integrated slides to illustrate his sermon. He is an engaging teacher. I heard people chuckling 7-8 times during his message. After the service, the sanctuary was converted and lunch was served on long, folding tables. A French chef is among the members and leads a team of men (Wow!) to serve lunch about once a month. This meal was a specialty of Miyagi ken—seasoned rice with poached salmon and salmon caviar. They also made a scrumptious soup from the salmon bones and a </span><i style="font-size: 14pt;">furikake</i><span style="font-size: 14pt;"> topping made from the roasted salmon skin! For dessert, there was a rich yogurt mousse topped with peeled globe grapes and a sweet purple sauce made from grape skins. We felt like a king and queen dining at the royal table!</span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">We were invited to Oasis Center, formerly Camp Morigo, for their inaugural evening service. Pastor Makito invited us to come early (4 PM), before dark, so he could show us around. Even though we visited the camp in 2003, it looked very different. I was surprised how close to town it was. I remembered driving a long way to get to it, but that wasn’t so. It was only 7 minutes by car from the church.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">The newly rebuilt chapel (dedicated in June 2015) is very warm— with blond wood, lots of windows. Pastor Makito’s vision is to have regularly scheduled events at Oasis Center year-round. Currently, it is a summer camp.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Rev. Saito and IM missionary Ted Livingstone started the 14-acre camp in 1960. Oasis Chapel assumed ownership in 1999. The mission of the camp is to “be a place to change people’s lives so that the life of Christ will flow from them.” </span><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;">The camp sustained damage to many of the buildings during the 2011 earthquake but they were able to accommodate 15,000+ volunteers in the 18 months following the earthquake. Although the dining hall/kitchen was badly damaged, they continued using the kitchen facilities to feed the volunteers. The building was subsequently torn down.</span></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">While we were touring the Shalom House dormitory, Pastor Makito told us the city is threatening to close the camp unless both a new kitchen and shower facilities can be provided. Rebuilding is costly and satisfying the city’s requirements is time-consuming. The alternative they are considering is to remodel Shalom House, adding a small kitchen and shower facilities. Funding is urgently needed for this project (although the ideal solution is to support funding to rebuild the dining hall). After our tour, we returned to the chapel.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">The event started with an icebreaker game. Then Pastor Makito led the service on his acoustic guitar. We sang worship songs, probably some of which he wrote. He gave a devotional and we had small group sharing. The service was about an hour. There were about 16 people, not including the kids.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">After the service, we went out for dinner with the Matsuda family. We prayed in the parking lot and shared hugs. We promised to visit them again, and they invited us to bring our kids and stay with them! We were blessed by God’s Oasis in Rifu!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">Would you join us in praying for Pastor Makito, his family and their ministry to spread God’s oasis? Please pray for funding for the Oasis Center kitchen and shower remodel. Please pray for the new leaders and new Christians that Pastor Makito is discipling. Please pray for God’s strength as they serve their community speaking God’s word and sharing His love.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">FYI, Here are some links:</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">Oasis Center homepage: <a href="http://oasis-center.com">http://oasis-center.com</a><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">6 min. video about Oasis Center (start at 3:19 for the Oasis Center report and interview with Pastor Makito with subtitles): <a href="https://vimeo.com/100860632">https://vimeo.com/100860632</a><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">Pastor Makito presents at RJC (Feb. 2013): <a href="https://youtu.be/imEbtkkATFk">https://youtu.be/imEbtkkATFk</a><o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">(15 min. video with line-by-line English translation, start at 2:40)</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt; font-weight: normal;">With Thanks,<o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang</span><o:p></o:p></span></p> <!--EndFragment--><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG></o:AllowPNG> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves></w:TrackMoves> <w:TrackFormatting></w:TrackFormatting> <w:PunctuationKerning></w:PunctuationKerning> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas></w:ValidateAgainstSchemas> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> 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mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> Mon, 26 Oct 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/60189-spreading-god-s-oasis-in-rifu-japan https://internationalministries.org/read/60189-spreading-god-s-oasis-in-rifu-japan What is Bunkasai? <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Every September, Soshin Girls’ School has their school festival <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Soshin-sai,&nbsp;</i>Soshin's&nbsp;<i>bunkasai</i><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">. </span><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">&nbsp;</span><i style="text-indent: 0.5in;">Bunkasai </i><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">is “culture day” in Japan. During </span><i style="text-indent: 0.5in;">Soshin-sai</i><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">, there is a "Senior Parade" where groups of seniors create a skit or dance. This year, since Miki is a senior, she, along with some of her friends, danced in the parade. They are dressed as fruit and vegetables and danced to a song about food. Then they invited the Soshin chairman of the board, Y sensei, to dance with them to a song about getting up in the morning. He is the “Mom” character in the center. You cannot see the crowd, but they were singing along with the group and responded with “Oha!” (short for <i>ohaiyo,</i>&nbsp;or good morning) on cue!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">The Bible says, <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">“Let them praise his name with dancing<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;and make music to him with timbrel and harp.” Psalm 149:3 NIV<span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Someday, we may all be dancing with and for Jesus. Are you ready?!!</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">This month, you may be hearing more about mission around the world and giving. We want to express our thanks to the many people that have responded and pledged toward our financial support. Would you consider a donation or pledge to World Mission Offering now through October? Please know that your part in the body of Christ is extremely valuable. Please donate at your local American Baptist church or visit:</p><p class="yiv4689479800MsoNormal" align="center" id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16468" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 19.6000003814697px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Segoe UI', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; text-align: center; background-color: white;"><span id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16476" style="font-size: 11.5pt;"><b id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16474" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(149, 79, 114); outline: none; background-color: transparent;"><span id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16473" style="color: rgb(47, 85, 151);"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/29">World Mission Offering 2015</a></span></b></span></p><div wotsearchtarget="internationalministries.org" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; position: absolute; visibility: hidden; cursor: pointer; display: inline-block; width: 16px; height: 16px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"></div><p style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"></p><p class="yiv4689479800MsoNormal" align="center" id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16478" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 19.6000003814697px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Segoe UI', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; text-align: center; background-color: white;"><span id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16477" style="color: rgb(84, 130, 53);">Join us in STRETCHING FORWARD toward</span></p><p class="yiv4689479800MsoNormal" align="center" id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16478" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 19.6000003814697px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Segoe UI', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; text-align: center; background-color: white;"><span style="color: rgb(84, 130, 53); line-height: 19.6000003814697px;">the goal of advancing God’s kingdom on earth!</span><span style="color: rgb(84, 130, 53);"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;and see how you can touch lives all over the world!</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">With much love,</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-size: 14px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/60028-what-is-bunkasai- https://internationalministries.org/read/60028-what-is-bunkasai- Hello, Good-bye Journey <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">What does a spiral, Paul McCartney’s “Hello, Good-bye”, impersonations, and 16 missionaries have in common? Give up? They were all part of the Conference for Missionaries (CFM) held in Pendle Hill, Quaker Retreat Center near Philadelphia. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;Dr.&nbsp;</span>Lee Spitzer gave us a spiral view of our journey in work and life. We are all on a journey that we can only know the significance at the end. But each ending is the beginning of the next journey. He used “Hello, Good-bye” as a multi-sensory illustration of his point. I will never forget all of us in the room singing along and laughing. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Our staff gave us a great time of refreshment and training as we looked forward to our US/PR assignments. (We met in Brinton House and had our meals in Main House.) Karen, a new member of our Mission Advancement Team (MAT), gave multiple impersonations during her introductions of her teammates.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She and Gregg, another new member of the MAT, gave us laughter for the conference journey. Each team gave us their best as we gathered each day for worship, program, and sharing time after dinner.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>One morning, we had a special visit from Dr. Roy Medley, General Secretary of American Baptist Churches as he shared his vision for our future. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">This is the best CFM I have attended yet and we are looking forward to another term of serving in Japan! We returned to Yokohama on Sunday, August 30<sup>th</sup> so that Lee Ann can attend teacher’s meetings and begin school on Tuesday, September 1, 2015. Please continue in praying for us as we serve in Japan.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">With much love,</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">P.S. If you noticed the last picture, you will need to ask one of the missionaries, "What is the significance?"</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="text-indent: 0px;">&nbsp;</span><span style="text-indent: 0px;">This month, you may be hearing more about mission around the world and giving. We want to express our thanks to</span><span style="font-size: 12pt; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;the many people that have responded and pledged toward our financial support. Would you consider a donation or pledge to World Mission Offering now through October? Please know that your part in the body of Christ is extremely valuable. Please donate at your local American Baptist church or visit:</span><br></p><p class="yiv4689479800MsoNormal" align="center" id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16468" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Segoe UI', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; text-align: center; background-color: white; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;"><span id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16476" style="font-size: 11.5pt; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;"><b id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16474" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(149, 79, 114); outline: none; background-color: transparent;"><span id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16473" style="color: rgb(47, 85, 151);"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/29">World Mission Offering 2015</a></span></b></span></p><div wotsearchtarget="internationalministries.org" style="position: absolute; visibility: hidden; cursor: pointer; display: inline-block; width: 16px; height: 16px;"></div><p></p><p class="yiv4689479800MsoNormal" align="center" id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16478" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Segoe UI', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; text-align: center; background-color: white; background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;"><span id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16477" style="color: rgb(84, 130, 53); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">Join us in STRETCHING FORWARD toward</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size: 11.5pt;"></span></p><p class="yiv4689479800MsoNormal" align="center" id="yui_3_16_0_1_1441071268967_16479" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', 'Segoe UI', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; text-align: center; background-color: white; 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mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 16px; line-height: 19.6000003814697px; text-indent: 48px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">and see how you can touch lives all over the world!</span></p> Sun, 30 Aug 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59657-hello-good-bye-journey https://internationalministries.org/read/59657-hello-good-bye-journey Home: Have You Found It? <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US">Do you have a little mental “snap-shot” of your memory of “home”? I like this postcard view of Seattle I took today before sunrise. It reminds me of home, even though I grew up in Michigan. The idea of “hometown” is very strong in Japan. God has given us a sense of “home” in Japan, too. Last month, I enjoyed seeing the annual&nbsp;<i>matsuri</i> parade going down our street.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>We love our neighborhood and our neighbors. This is a gift to feel like we are “at home” in two places.</span><span style="font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US">Currently, I am staying in Bellevue with our friends. We are very blessed to have these friends who love to have company and are our partners in ministry to the Japanese. With them, it really is “<i>mi casa es su casa</i>” (my home is your home)! We’ve known them over 22 years! The husband played in the worship band for our wedding. Lee Ann sang in their wedding the following year.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US">JBC is our home church. We have been co-commissioned through them with International Ministries (IM). They have an annual “Gym” (rummage) Sale. Our JBC neighbors look forward to this event and line up before the doors open. I saw Sonny, who attended Sunday School many years ago. He graduated this year from a voc-tech school and is looking for a job. He still lives with his mom in the neighborhood. He reminisced about his caring Sunday school teachers who provided breakfast on Sundays and delivered food donations to his house. Last year, we were very grateful when all the proceeds from the JBC Gym sale were donated toward our ongoing support. We are very thankful for the many people who volunteer to put on this two-day event. We have a home at JBC (who love and support us), with our friends in Bellevue, and a home in Japan. But, it does not <u>always</u> feel like home. There is still a longing for something better.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US">I think of the verse, Hebrews 11:16, that speaks about longing for ‘a better country – a heavenly one.’ It is a blessing from the Lord that he gives us the ability to live and serve in two countries! But our true home is where our Heavenly Father, who is trustworthy, welcomes us. There is only one path to go home and that is through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US">Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US">Once I found my heavenly home, I now know the Father’s love, so I may live at peace in my earthly home. This home can be yours, too! That is the good news we want to share with our friends in Japan and in the States.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US">With much love!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt;font-family:Times;color:black; mso-fareast-language:EN-US"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>P.S. If you are in the Seattle area, please come to <a href="http://jbcseattle.org/en/2014-04-29-02-06-07/find-us">JBC</a> on Aug. 9 for a joint service (English/Japanese). 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</style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/59305-home-have-you-found-it- https://internationalministries.org/read/59305-home-have-you-found-it- Matsuri, Mates, and Matching! <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Did you know that Japanese people like to celebrate often? June is the beginning of <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">matsuri</i> (festival) time in Japan. There are many local <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">matsuris</i> in Japan since nearly every neighborhood has its own. There is a <i>matsuri</i> in our neighborhood and early every June we hear the sound of drums and flute music. An important part of the celebration is a parade. The local kids get to participate too.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>This year, when I heard the drum and music, I got a shot of a few kids in the parade going down our street. The kids get to pull the <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">taiko</i> (drum) on a decorated cart with the help of some adults. The decorated cart is called a <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">dashi</i> and there were two kids inside it. For about two days, they have special booths with food and drink in the community center parking lot and side street. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>June is also the month when ~22 Soshin students are preparing for their Australia summer exchange program. Lee Ann is responsible for their language preparation. So, she has a total of 10 sessions with the girls coaching them on travel language and culture. They each prepare a scrapbook for introducing themselves to others. Lee Ann coaches them on their dialogue. The Australian home-stay parents appreciate the hard work the girls do to prepare, “good on ya, mate!”<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>We have good news to share. Thank you to many people who responded to our request for donations through the International Ministries (IM) Matching Gift Opportunity. Sixteen partners responded and we have been overwhelmed by God's generosity through your gifts! This resulted in our average monthly giving for the past 12 months to be over 100% of our goal (including regular gifts)! It is our first time to be over 100%! PTL! <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Currently, we are at ~92% of our pledged support goal, so we are working to add more partners who will regularly support our ministry in Japan. So, Gordon is returning to Seattle two weeks early to meet with current and potential partners. Gordon arrives July 14<sup>th</sup> then departs with his family to Philadelphia for a 10-day IM conference for missionaries. Then, everyone returns on August 8, to be at JBC on the 9<sup>th</sup> for a joint service. We depart for Japan on Aug. 29<sup>th</sup>. However, Naomi and Miki will return earlier on Aug. 20<sup>th</sup>. If you are interested in meeting with us, please contact Gordon or Lee Ann.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">With Love and Thanks,</p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>JA</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:EnableOpenTypeKerning/> <w:DontFlipMirrorIndents/> 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mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang<o:p></o:p></p> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58983-matsuri-mates-and-matching- https://internationalministries.org/read/58983-matsuri-mates-and-matching- Your Answer Is . . . ? <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Fingers on the buzzers please. What takes four judges, ten contestants, and a missionary? Bzzzzzt! It is the annual 9<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;grade Soshin Girls’ School (Soshin) Recitation Contest!&nbsp;&nbsp;The ten contestants memorized five stories with Christian themes. Lee Ann recruited all four judges. This year’s theme was “Christian Fairy Tales.” Lee Ann adapted stories for the girls to memorize in easy English. For example, a contestant recited the first half of<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>“The Tale of Three Trees,” then the second half by the next contestant. Each girl spoke about 3-5 minutes.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;The Soshin girls did a great job competing. Of course, there were nerves, some tears, and some mistakes. It was amazing how much they improved in just a month. They were chosen by their teachers and given the stories to memorize. One judge said, “I could understand the girls’ English! It was fun to judge the competition!" Afterward, they all enjoyed some of Lee Ann’s homemade brownie cupcakes. Lee Ann encouraged the girls, before and after the contest, that they were all winners. It takes courage and determination to speak a foreign language in front of all your peers (~500 junior high students).<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Lee Ann will coach the winner for the next contest. It is like the state competition for English recitation. If Miss H places in the top five, she could compete at the regional and then the national competition. Winning is desirable, but not the most important goal. We pray that through the competition, Miss H will experience God’s love, grace, and strength. Please pray with us for her salvation.&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Thank you for partnering with us in serving the Japanese youth, like Miss H! Our special thanks go to our eight partners that had their gifts matched! The Matching Gift Opportunity is ongoing between April 15 and June 1, 2015. Gifts to IM from new individual donors (or existing donors that give above their regular pledge) will be matched and doubled until June 1, 2015 or when the Challenge Fund (currently $240,000) is depleted – whichever comes first. Note: churches and church related groups are not included in this opportunity. Click here for details:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/27">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/27</a><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Love and Thanks,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang<o:p></o:p></span></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> 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mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Sat, 30 May 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58657-your-answer-is- https://internationalministries.org/read/58657-your-answer-is- Blossoms and Bridges <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; text-indent: 0.5in;">Cherry blossom viewing in Japan has a special name, </span><i style="font-size: 13.5pt; text-indent: 0.5in;">ohanami, </i><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; text-indent: 0.5in;">and most Japanese can hardly wait to see the <i>sakura</i>&nbsp;blossoms. Not only are the blossoms beautiful, but they are a sign that spring has arrived! </span><i style="font-size: 13.5pt; text-indent: 0.5in;">Yozakura</i><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; text-indent: 0.5in;">&nbsp;is the special term for viewing illuminated cherry blossoms at night. Meguro river is famous for viewing the spectacular blossoms on trees reaching over the river. They form a pale pink arch that appears to be absorbed into the river.</span><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; text-indent: 0.5in;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; text-indent: 0.5in;">I made a new friend,</span><span style="font-size: 18px;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 18px;">W,</span><span style="font-size: 13.5pt; text-indent: 0.5in;">&nbsp;at church. He loves photography. He invited me to a night shoot of the cherry blossoms. There was only one night we had available the week the blossoms were in full bloom. And it turned out to be the perfect day! The day before and the day after we had heavy rain and wind.</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">After we squeezed out of the train onto the platform, I knew we were in for a treat! I could barely shuffle forward due to the crowd while making sure I did not lose sight of W. He trail-blazed the way to the first bridge, about ten minutes of following the crowds along the river. After waiting a few minutes to get a spot, we setup our tripods and began our shoot.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>He gave me some good advice. I managed to get a few shots in focus! We packed up for two more locations about another ten minutes away amid the crowds. We passed lots of stylish cafes and shops and stands selling drinks and snacks. It was a festive atmosphere.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Afterward, we stopped for some burgers. W had noticed that his Japanese co-workers do not like to go out for lunch unless there is a special reason. He wants to reach out to his co-workers and share the good news of Jesus. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>So, now he brings a sack-lunch and joins them for lunch at the office. Please pray for W and his co-workers as he builds bridges to share his faith. <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Last night, Mrs. C visited us. She was in Lee Ann’s small group at church. Her daughter started college in April and they are having some difficulty with the adjustment. Mrs. C is a single mom. Because of Lee Ann’s relational “bridge” and our kids’ apparent good behavior, Mrs. C was seeking some advice.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Lee Ann was able to spend time listening and sharing some of the wisdom she has received from God. After a short prayer time, we enjoyed Gordon's cooking and a variety of desserts, some from a friend studying culinary arts. Please pray for Mrs. C and her non-Christian daughter.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">It is an honor to serve in Japan and pray with our friends like W and Mrs. C. You allow us to build bridges to encourage these dear Christians. We could not be here without your support and partnership. Thank you to those who are praying and giving toward our ministry. We are still below our 100% goal for pledged financial support. Would you prayerfully consider making a monthly gift to help sustain our ministry?<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">&nbsp;You can give online and set up a recurring payment through your credit card or bank account,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang</span></a><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">or you may go through your bank with an electronic/paper check.&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Our thanks go to several supporters that had their gifts matched! The Matching Gift Opportunity is ongoing between April 15 and June 15, 2015. Gifts to IM from new individual donors (or existing donors that give above their regular pledge) will be matched and doubled until June 15, 2015 or when the Challenge Fund (currently $170,000) is depleted – whichever comes first. Note: churches and church related groups are not included in this opportunity. Click here for details:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/27">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/27</a><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">With Love and Thanks,<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:13.5pt;font-family:Times;mso-bidi-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto; text-indent:.5in"><span 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mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/58121-blossoms-and-bridges https://internationalministries.org/read/58121-blossoms-and-bridges Grads and Dads in March <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Did you know Japanese students have Junior High School graduation ceremonies, and it is a big deal? I first was surprised at kindergarten graduation when Matthew completed his first year in Japan. All the parents were dressed in suits or kimono for the ceremony at Soshin Kindergarten. Then, during the ceremony, I hear a little sniffling, and many of the moms are crying. I could almost feel their joy and sadness as their baby was growing up! Now, at the end of compulsory education in Japan, our children are becoming young adults (the age of adulthood in Japan is 20). It is graduation time at Matsumoto Junior High School! The parents are sniffling again and I am with them.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>It is another proud moment for us.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>In contrast, last week my friends and I, Mr. M and Mr. J, had fellowship together. We all attend Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) and Mr. M wanted to talk. He is a part-time English teacher in his 50s. Four years ago, he lost his full-time teaching position when their school closed. Since then, he and his family have struggled financially. This is the time of year when schools and companies will lay-off workers, or in this case, not renew the annual contract. Now, he is losing one of his part-time jobs and is looking for work. After Mr. M shared, we tried to encourage him and prayed with him.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Afterward, he appreciated our prayers. Many men in Japan, when faced with loss of a job, become isolated and depressed. They cannot talk with their family or their former co-workers. <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Losing a job brings a burden of shame and financial helplessness. He said he felt encouraged and blessed to have support and prayers. I could see he is carrying a big burden, and after praying, his face was brighter. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Grads and Dads may see March in Japan from very different perspectives, but God is in our midst with His perspective. If we have God's perspective, we can have hope.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">It is an honor to serve in Japan and pray for Japanese brothers like Mr. M. We could not be here without your support and partnership. Thank you to those who are praying and giving toward our ministry. We are still below our 100% goal for pledged financial support. Would you prayerfully consider making a monthly gift to help sustain our ministry? <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p><span style="text-indent: 0.5in;">You can give online and set up a recurring payment through your credit card or bank account,</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang">http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang</a></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">We are happy to announce a Matching Gift Opportunity between April 15 and June 15, 2015. Gifts to IM from new individual donors (or existing donors that give above their regular pledge) will be matched and doubled until June 15, 2015 or when the Challenge Fund (currently $130,000) is depleted – whichever comes first. Note: churches and church related groups are not included in this opportunity. See this webpage for details:</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/27">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/27</a><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">May you continue to be blessed this Easter as we celebrate Jesus' victory over death!</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">With Love and Thanks,<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang<o:p></o:p></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> 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Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/57737-grads-and-dads-in-march https://internationalministries.org/read/57737-grads-and-dads-in-march Top 4 Lessons as we declare God’s mercy at Christmas <p class="MsoNormal">In December, we hear Christmas carols in the stores and on ads on TV in Japan. Amazing! But, many still do not know the true story of the Lord’s birth and saving work. Some of our Japanese friends say that Japanese think Christmas is Santa’s birthday! So, at our Bible study Christmas party we shared music, games, and food. Our team (we have three adult leaders) and two boys, decided to change our format for the party. This year, one of our student leaders shared the true story of Christmas, (instead of Lee Ann or Gordon using the kids to interpret). <span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>The group included several non-Christians and they listened better to the message.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">Lesson #1: Use the team approach.</p><p class="MsoNormal">On Christmas, we traditionally have friends over for dinner. We try to invite those whose families are not nearby. This year, we included one of Naomi’s college friends, who is a non-believer. She helped us prepare dinner, sang along during our Christmas carols, and stayed overnight. She enjoyed her time so much; she asked to stay another night! Gordon felt the Lord leading to share the message of salvation with her using his new “Big Story” ipod app from Intervarsity. She is very open to the Gospel and we are still praying for her.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Lesson #2: Be flexible.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Our annual Christmas Tea for Soshin Teachers and staff included over 60 people! They began arriving around 2P and enjoyed homemade hummus with pita bread, homemade olive tapenade, and many other savory snacks. Miki, opened her barrista stand for hot cocoa with whipped cream, tea, and hot spiced apple cider. Gordon barbecued chicken skewers under the carport since it was raining and cold. Lee Ann entertained our guests and continued refilling plates. Although the day started gloomy, the Lord gave us energy and joy to serve our partners at Soshin.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">Lesson #3: Serving in love brings joy.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Nishiya Baptist Church held on “open church” on December 23 to invite their neighbors for refreshments and Christmas music. This date is a national holiday, the Emperor’s birthday. Gordon volunteered to play his accordion for the “True King,” Jesus Christ. The whole Hwang family helped and we gathered at the church. Gordon caught a bad cold but after much prayer, he recovered enough to go and play some Christmas carols. Pastor Takeuchi hand-delivered hundreds of flyers in the neighborhood. Sadly, no one came to the event, though some watched from a distance as we sang in front of the church in the cold sunshine. Although we did not have an opportunity to serve the neighbors, the smiles and joy on Pastor Takeuchi’s face was worth the effort. She was very thankful since she serves this church that has only a handful of active members who are mostly over 65.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">Lesson #4: Blessing comes from obedience.</p><p class="MsoNormal">So, what was the blessing? December donations toward our ministry were more than double of last year! We had our best December of giving due to some generous partners that shared with us. The Lord gave us opportunities in Yokohama to share His love and blessed us with health, joy, and donations! The Lord is very generous.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">Last month, we gave a request for more support and many partners responded! Thank you to those who prayed and gave toward our ministry. We received more than we anticipated! We are still below our 100% goal for pledged financial support. Would you prayerfully consider making a monthly gift to help equip our ministry? We simply cannot do it without your help and partnership.</p><p class="MsoNormal">You can give online and set up a recurring payment through your credit card or bank account, <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang">http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang</a><o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal">or you may go through your bank with an electronic/paper check.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><span style="text-indent: 42pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal">May the Lord bless our 2015!</p><p class="MsoNormal">With Love and Thanks,<o:p></o:p></p><p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang<o:p></o:p></p> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/57158-top-4-lessons-as-we-declare-god-s-mercy-at-christmas https://internationalministries.org/read/57158-top-4-lessons-as-we-declare-god-s-mercy-at-christmas A "Macedonian Call" from Japan <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; In Acts 16:6-10, there is an account of a person from Macedonia, a “foreign” land, asking for a Christian witness to come to his country. Paul and Silas responded to the plea, sensing God’s leading.</span><br></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The new head of Soshin School is making a similar plea, a "Macedonian call." Please read a speech she prepared for the World Mission Conference this past summer.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>God is opening hearts and breaking down barriers that have existed here for hundreds of years. God is responding to the prayers raised up for Japan after the earthquake and tsunami.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Please continue to pray, especially for the hundreds of thousands who have heard about Jesus through Christian mission schools. Ask the God of the harvest to give them faith to believe the truth they have been told. Ask God to enable and embolden Christian teachers to make disciples where they have been planted.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">“There is still a need in Japan.</span><span style="font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><span style="mso-tab-count: 1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The translation of the Bible, building churches, founding schools, the establishment of social work, these are some of the results of 150 years of Protestant mission in Japan.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Missionary effort was evident in the rebuilding of the mission schools after WWII. Christian training shaped by the missionaries in the mission schools has influenced the formation of Japan’s modern society. In the field of girls’ education, where we lag behind Western countries, the missionaries taught the Bible and English to prepare the girls to be sent into the world.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Today, Japanese people are enjoying the benefits of Japan’s rise in economic power. Yet, in spite of our material wealth, we are spiritually poverty stricken. Because of our visible wealth, it is believed we no longer need missionaries. But now is the time of even greater need!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Japanese people are pursuing what can be bought with money. Many parents want a life of ease for their children. They believe this can be bought, so they pursue and want their children to pursue, a career where they can make a lot of money. In order to have this career, Japanese people work hard from childhood to get into a good pre-school so they can get into a good elementary school, so they can get into a good Jr. High and then Sr. High school so they can get into a good college so they can get a good job. Parents never doubt this will bring happiness.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">In spite of the rise in affluence, Japan currently experiences a suicide rate twice that of the US and 3x that of England. The ability to engage in face-to-face communication is declining. Social phobia is the number one mental health problem in Japan. People are losing hope.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Japan does not have that base or pillar that sustains life. We do not have the foundation of Jesus Christ. I believe that Christian education can give light to the darkness covering our society. Non-Christian parents recognize the value of the moral teachings of the Bible even when they do not embrace Christian faith.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Currently, our schools are faced with declining student populations which may lead to school closures. Furthermore, the number of Christian teachers is also declining. At Soshin, our staff is about 70% Christian. However, a number of these Christian teachers are at or near retirement age. Some schools already have only one or two Christian teachers. In the near future there will be mission schools without a Christian staff presence. We want the Christian nature of education to continue.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">My hope is that students come to faith and grow up in God’s name with a strong and tender heart. I hope they will shed Christ’s light and be real treasures to societies “poor in spirit.” Some will go, as missionaries have done for us. And the others, I hope will use their God given financial resources to benefit others in the world. For this, I rely on the work of missionaries. When we see their sacrifice in coming so far to spread the instructions of Jesus Christ, we feel their living faith.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">If missionaries come from English speaking countries, I want them to teach English. I continue to feel this is an important doorway for the gospel. Relationships can be built (as a teacher) through sports and music and through worship, prayer and Bible study. I wish very strongly that some of you will come to bring the Good News to our students, their families and our staff.”<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Akiko Nakajima<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Superintendent of Soshin Schools<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Please pray and consider answering this call from Japan! <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">As we serve in Japan, we are very thankful for the prayers and support from our partners. We are at 91% of our personal support goal for which we give thanks to God! At the same time, we need an additional 9% to reach our goal of 100% to continue to serve in Japan. Would you kindly and prayerfully consider a new or additional monthly pledge to our support at this time? We know many are asking and you only have so much to give. But perhaps you may think of it this way . . . God gave 100% of Himself when He sent Jesus to save us from our sins. 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*/ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.5pt; mso-bidi-font-size:11.0pt; font-family:Century; mso-ascii-font-family:Century; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Century; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-font-kerning:1.0pt; mso-fareast-language:JA;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Lee Ann (and Gordon) Hwang<o:p></o:p></span></p> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56802-a-macedonian-call-from-japan https://internationalministries.org/read/56802-a-macedonian-call-from-japan Has God asked you to . . . ? <p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">It was about a year ago, my wife Lee Ann asked, “Would you be the driver for a pianist visiting Tohoku?” “Hmmm, OK, but I am not going by myself!” After many months of planning by our friend Mari, Julie Lowe came for a two-week tour of Japan.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I was the driver and photographer for five concerts in four days. Mari’s friend,&nbsp;</span>a Japanese pastor from the UK, Ikuko, joined us as an interpreter.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">The two unseasonal typhoons that sandwiched Julie’s arrival turned out to be “non-events.” Many were asked to pray for the weather to clear. The super typhoon, Vongfong, became just a large storm by the time it passed over Julie and never disrupted the concert or prevented people getting to her concert. “So, is this really a typhoon? We have worse storms in Vancouver!” God is still one at whom we marvel “Who is this that the wind and waves obey Him?”<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">Her best concert, at Matsushima Church, was incredibly blessed. First, this church was a small “preaching place” for about 100 years. This past April, they became an official church in the Japan Baptist Union. Secondly, this was the church’s first concert. With just 13 regular members, they were over-joyed to see about 40 people attend the concert.&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">For some, in those moments of the concert, God was made real for them. One attendee, commented:<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in"><span lang="EN-GB">“I felt as though I was having a dialogue with your piano music and with God in the church. Your talk has spoken to me into my heart, and that was a special time. I received healing and strength by the wonder of your music. Your message matched the choice of music so wonderfully, and it was a concert graced by your gentle words and filled with God's love.”<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span lang="EN-GB">The last song Julie played was a sing-along ‘<i>Furusato’</i>&nbsp;(Homeland). Ikuko, our translator said,&nbsp;&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p><blockquote style="margin: 0 0 0 40px; border: none; padding: 0px;"><p class="MsoNormal">“When we began singing the third verse, which says ‘When my mission is completed, I then long to go home’, . . . I thought of the people in the area near the Fukushima power plant, who will never be able to go back to live in their home region.&nbsp;&nbsp;How cruel this verse is for them…&nbsp;&nbsp;But then, I was reminded of the verse in Hebrews 11:16, which talks about longing for ‘a better country – a heavenly one’.&nbsp;&nbsp;What a blessing!&nbsp;&nbsp;We are all being invited to long for the heavenly home, a true eternal home.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;With the longing for that hope we can trust, we can thankfully continue our earthly journeys.”</p></blockquote><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Lastly, Pastor Kakuno of Matsushima Church, responded so enthusiastically and quickly to this concert opportunity. A cancellation two months before Julie’s arrival allowed them to participate in the tour. Their church continues to support the survivor community and this was a special opportunity to serve them with music and testimony. Pastor Kakuno would like to have Julie come again to their church. I think God honored them with a “Holy Gathering” where God received the glory for all that happened.&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-US">Has God asked you to . . . ? If so, I hope you will respond quickly like Pastor Kakuno. I am so thankful I said yes to God’s invitation. I felt He truly is an awesome God who is calling us home! I am thankful for the many people who prayed and supported this mission trip. We are especially thankful for the many prayers and financial support that allow us to serve here in Japan.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Praise and thanks be to God! <o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: 14.7pt;background:white"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US">With much love and thanks!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;line-height: 14.7pt;background:white"><span style="font-size:12.0pt;font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#333333;mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang</span>&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-US">P.S.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>Please consider “Giving Tuesday” (December 2) as an opportunity to show thankfulness to God by supporting mission 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mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-ansi-language:EN-US"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/24">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/24</a><o:p></o:p></span></p> Sat, 29 Nov 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/56618-has-god-asked-you-to- https://internationalministries.org/read/56618-has-god-asked-you-to- They're Back! Green Striped Spiders Return <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt">We have found so many interesting bugs in Japan. Rhinoceros beetles and praying mantis were playmates for Matt. Hair caterpillars’ poison tipped “hairs” caused a huge irritation over a large part of Gordon’s body. Mouse-sized cockroaches, giant centipedes and prehistoric spiders terrorize the inhabitants of our house occasionally. And bright green, striped spiders hanging around our yard caught my attention. I’m not particularly fond of bugs and I don’t like running into spider webs when I’m gardening but the variety of bugs around us is really interesting!<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Three years ago, Gordon remarked that the big spiders were gone. So, for the past 3 years, I’ve been pruning shrubs and gardening without worrying about spiders or their webs. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>This year, they’re back! The green striped spiders have lots of webs around the house. They started off small and now they are quite large. Has nature recovered from the radiation exposure? Gordon noticed the lack of spiders following the three nuclear power plant melt downs. It’s been over 3 years now.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The people in Tohoku haven’t fared as well as the spiders. While the debris has been cleaned up and the ground has been cleared, there has been little rebuilding. In the radiation affected areas, people continue dealing with the fear of unseen radiation. Those in the tsunami areas continue waiting for the government to make decisions about where rebuilding can occur.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>God is working through all these circumstances for His glory! Please continue praying for Tohoku and the rest of Japan. God’s Spirit is breaking through in northern Japan because of the prayers of the saints from around the world. Pastors in Tohoku report that people are open to hearing about Jesus. People are asking questions, seeking answers.<o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Please pray and ask the Lord of the Harvest to send workers. <o:p></o:p></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:42.0pt">Ask Jesus to make His servants bold. Ask Him to make us watchful and ready to do and say and go as He is opening doors here. Ask that Japanese Christians would be willing to do things they haven’t done before. 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table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:Century;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</span>This month, you may be hearing more about mission around the world. We want to express our thanks to<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 19.600000381469727px; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;the many people that have responded and pledged toward our financial support. Would you consider a donation or pledge to World Mission Offering now through October? Please know that your part in the body of Christ is extremely valuable. Please donate at your local American Baptist church or visit:</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent: 48px;"><font face="Times New Roman"><span style="line-height: 19.600000381469727px;"><u><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/21">Rise to the Challenge</a></u></span></font></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 19.600000381469727px; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">and see how you can touch lives all over the world!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 19.600000381469727px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;With much love!</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 19.600000381469727px; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Lee Ann (and Gordon) Hwang</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: 'Times New Roman'; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 19.600000381469727px; text-indent: 0.5in; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">P.S. We survived Typhoon Vongfong!</p> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55913-they-re-back-green-striped-spiders-return https://internationalministries.org/read/55913-they-re-back-green-striped-spiders-return Top 3 Reasons Why We Loved All Staff Gathering and World Mission Conference <p class="MsoNormal"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">We want to thank the many supporters who gave generously to the Judson Advance Fund and International Ministries for hosting this incredible event! We cannot express our gratitude enough.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><b>Reason #3:</b> Our kids were blessed by the other missionary kids (MKs) They enjoyed the programs that were guided by former MKs, but most of all, they bonded with these new friends. My wife, Lee Ann, says, “After the second night, I hardly saw my kids except when they went to bed!” Before we left for the U.S., they didn't want to go. After two weeks, they didn't want to leave! It was two weeks of bliss!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><b>Reason #2:</b> We were blessed by meeting some of our supporters for the first time! During the World Mission Conference, Lee Ann overheard the name Marveen mentioned. “Do you know Marveen?” The answer was Yes! and she is here! What a surprise and blessing to meet one of our supporters from a state we wouldn't have the chance to visit!<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>We had a unique opportunity to meet her and thank her in person for supporting us.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><b>Reason #1:</b> Pastor Dan Allender blessed our spirits with laughter and challenges. His stories about fishing with his son had me doubled over with laughter. His challenge, “How is your adulterous and murderous heart?” caused me to feel an ache in my heart. As Christians, we need to create a safe place that allows us to answer this question honestly. Also, he encouraged us to pray for each other as we walk this journey together.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">We are blessed to be part of the IM family. The opportunity to spend 2 weeks with our co-workers, international partners and believers who are excited about sharing Jesus was a tremendous encouragement.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">God has also worked to get us closer toward our financial support goal. Several new donors have pledged to our ministry. PTL!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">When I think of the theme, “Rise to the Challenge!” I feel very weak.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>I believe the answer to rising to God’s challenge begins with falling on our knees.<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Find out more about our ministry on our webpage. <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang">Here is the link.</a> Thank you very much!<o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span><br></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span><o:p></o:p></span></p><p 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<![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></p> Sat, 30 Aug 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/55144-top-3-reasons-why-we-loved-all-staff-gathering-and-world-mission-conference https://internationalministries.org/read/55144-top-3-reasons-why-we-loved-all-staff-gathering-and-world-mission-conference The Hwang Guide to Retirement Party Planning <p> <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:Calibri; panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-520092929 1073786111 9 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --></style></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Have you ever had to plan something and then wondered, “What am I going to do!!?” </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Sometimes planning is not just a matter of entertaining or cooking. This is a celebration of someone’s special time of service. We are celebrating Roberta Stephens' retirement and service of 37 years in Japan! No ideas are coming to mind but you must press on because 20 people are coming for dinner and a party at your house! What if it takes only 4 steps?<br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Step 1: Admit you have a problem and ask for help! When I have no ideas, I ask Lee Ann for help. She helped me break the party into smaller pieces: food, activity, and video slideshow. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">What causes a blank brain? I don’t know. I think in concrete, random terms. I can get overwhelmed with too many things at the same time. That is why God gave me a partner in Lee Ann! She can see the big picture. If you don’t have someone like Lee Ann, then pray that God would provide help and wisdom.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Step 2: Divide and Conquer. We enlisted the help of friends. One friend offered to lead singing and bring song sheets. Others offered to bring dishes to complement the barbecue menu I thought of and to come early to help with preparations. (Thank you Jesus for bringing Costco frozen turkeys to Japan!) Lastly, I got inspired with an idea for a slide show. I found many old pictures of Roberta that she didn’t know I had. Also, friends gave me some of their old pictures as well.<br></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Step 3: Teamwork. We had a fabulous time celebrating 37 years of service in Japan for Roberta. Three guests came over early and helped prepare the side dishes and setup. The barbecue turkey was a hit. We enthusiastically sang for Roberta! The songs were fun and we sang in a round almost like a choir. Roberta and guests happily received the slideshow. We saw pictures of her early years, mid-career, and recent days in Japan. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><br></span></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Step 4: Show appreciation! Roberta gave little favors to each guest as a memento of their time celebrating her retirement. We are so thankful to God for giving us this short time with Roberta. </span><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Already, </span>we miss her very much. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Find out more about our ministry on our webpage. Here is the link and thank you very much!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang"><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="color:windowtext;text-decoration:none;text-underline:none">http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang</span></span></a></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:14.0pt">“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV</span></p> Sun, 29 Jun 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/54489-the-hwang-guide-to-retirement-party-planning https://internationalministries.org/read/54489-the-hwang-guide-to-retirement-party-planning Nishikiori Church Recovery: 3 years after <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-priority:99; color:blue; mso-themecolor:hyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:purple; mso-themecolor:followedhyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style> <p class="MsoNormal">We were anxious to meet the Amanos, whom we had heard much about from Roberta. They were gracious enough to let us come and visit and look at their bathroom!! (Some of the OGHS funds were used to rebuild it last year.)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">It was around 4PM when we met Rev. Amano at the church and spent a little time talking. We found out that he and his wife were from Yokohama and that we have many mutual friends!! He studied at the Japan Baptist Union (JBU) seminary with my co-worker and Bible teacher at Soshin School. He knew almost all the missionaries that were our contemporaries! What fun to meet them and share a bit. It was only one year ago they were appointed to serve at Nishikiori Church. This is their first pastorate. They were led to the Lord through the DeRolf’s ministry in Yokohama, many years ago.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The most surprising thing we learned about them is that they prefer Tome, the area in Tohoku where the church is located, to their hometown, Yokohama! They said they had been back to Yokohama 4 times in the past year. Each time, when it was time for them to leave, they were happy to be going back to Tohoku! What a gift from God to love their new town and community! </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Living in Tome is totally different from living in the big city! Living at the church is completely different from living in a house in Yokohama!! In the winter, it is like camping indoors. Praise God that He gave them such delight in His creation, the stars they can see, the open spaces, fresh air and animals.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I was most interested in seeing the bathroom in the parsonage (which is connected to the church). I remember vividly the condition of the bathroom, its old and cracked tiles. With a little embarrassment, I asked if we could look at the new bathroom. What we saw was a very modern bathroom!! And it had the washing machine next to it so they could take advantage of using the hot bath water to do their laundry! I want that!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">They are very appreciative of the new bath facility. When they found out there was money available to rebuild the bath, they almost cried, they were so happy! Mrs. Amano apparently felt the bath was fancy but was assured by others that it is just regular. Compared with the old one, it is extremely nice, but really, it is just a regular, not fancy bath. Having a functional bath facility has contributed to their well-being. With the former bath, they suffered with wind whistling through the cracked walls, water leaking through the cracks in the floor and going outside to turn on a stove to heat the water. The 3-11-2011 Great East Japan earthquake and old age had made this bathroom nearly unusable. For Japanese, the daily bath or <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">ofuro</i>, is essential in their culture and health. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Pastor Amano explained that they had spent the past year getting to know the place and people. They have been observing how things are done and making friends. They will spend the next year working together with the other 3 church members to serve the community and to reach out. Many “refugees” from nearby earthquake and tsunami areas have come to their neighborhood. Perhaps this is also another opportunity to serve. They plan to stay as long as possible to serve this church and farming community.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">They want to increase the attendance at the church. They feel the responsibility of the 62-year history of the church and are inviting people to attend there again. Pastor Amano also serves at Nishikiori kindergarten and pre-school. So, they are considering ways to reach out to the parents and children. They feel they will have something new to implement in another year.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Several opportunities have come to them. One is a piano concert scheduled for the fall. Another opportunity was when some visitors from Hawaii dropped in. They were in the area to visit the Hidden Christian museum and saw the church. They are interested in coming back at the end of the year. Please pray for these opportunities to reach out to the community. And of course please pray for the Amanos as they serve the Japanese people. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The OGHS money has all been spent but we continue to support these folks and it makes a difference! Please pray about how God might lead you to extend your influence over these tremendous needs by supporting us financially through International Ministries. We would appreciate any and all donations to remain your servants representing you here in Japan. One-time gifts are highly appreciated but we would ask you to consider becoming a regular member of our support team by pledging a monthly gift. You can give through your ABC region office, or American Baptist church, or by making a check payable to <b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">International Ministries</b> with a memo line “Ongoing Support for Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang,” or just go to the website to give on-line. Find out more about our ministry and what God is doing in Japan on our webpage. Here is the link and thank you very much!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang">http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang</a></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp;</span>Lee Ann (and Gordon) Hwang</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">"The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace." Ps. 29:10-11 NIV</span></p> Tue, 29 Apr 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53769-nishikiori-church-recovery-3-years-after- https://internationalministries.org/read/53769-nishikiori-church-recovery-3-years-after- Shiogama Recovery: Three years after <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-font-alt:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:modern; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-fareast-language:JA;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho";} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The misty rain reminded me of Seattle as we left our home at 6:30 AM. I'm wondering why I stayed up so late to check on my video equipment. However, with some black tea to help, we made our way through the Tokyo rush hour, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">rashu,</i> without much delay. There will be no sight-seeing today, Tokyo Skytree was obscured by the fog and mist. </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Pastor Yamada welcomed us around 1:30 PM and then began a tour around Shiogama. A new bell in front of the Shiogama Church Chapel downtown commemorates the 100<sup>th</sup> anniversary of their pre-school/kindergarten, Rifu-Seiko. Their theme, “As children of Light, let us walk together into the future,” is engraved on a plaque under the bell. He took us to the main church and kindergarten up in the hills where a similar bell is installed at the new kindergarten building under construction. It is wonderful how Shiogama Christ Church and kindergarten, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">youchien,</i> have maintained this legacy for these many years. </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">The main church building was not damaged as badly as the kindergarten, but you can see the ground subsided 3-4 inches from the foundation. The walls have cracks but the foundation and structure are still sound. To repair the damage would probably require tens of thousands of dollars. However, the One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) donations were used to repair the <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">yochien</i> which serves over 100 families in the community.&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Windows had broken and the facade of the main building had fallen off in some places. The <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">yochien</i> is in the process of completing a rebuild of several buildings that were condemned after the earthquake. They razed three buildings and replaced them with one new facility. The building foundation could not be reused due to cracks. <br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Most Japanese churches are very small. Shiogama has about 30 members who are mostly elderly.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; Operating</span> <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">yochiens</i> are a common way churches in Japan use to afford their pastor. Pastor Yamada is very grateful for the financial help OGHS gave for the rebuilding after the earthquake. </p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">We passed several temporary housing complexes, <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">kasetsu jutaku,</i> in order to see some of the new permanent houses the government is building. The government is renting these units to the survivors who are in the temporary housing. People who can afford to leave the rent-free temporary housing are moving out. However, there are still hundreds of elderly and disabled people living in temporary housing. These people are not (and probably will not) move voluntarily since they may have trouble paying rent. </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">As the temporary housing communities shrink, the government combines people from different communities in order to reduce costs. This has re-created the problem encountered directly after the earthquake of displaced persons being without community support and friendship. The survivors must start over again, building new friendships and camaraderie. This is putting additional strain on the people.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Perhaps another drawback to the permanent dwellings is that they are very close to the temporary ones. Whether or not the people want to stay in the same vicinity is unknown. The areas that many of the temporary houses are located do not have services nearby and the survivors have had difficulty with transportation.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Please pray for the survivors as they continue to need support and God’s love. Please pray for the volunteers and workers who serve the survivors. Many are very tired after three years of serving. Please pray for the pastor, the members of Shiogama Christ Church, and the staff at Rifu-Seiko Kindergarten as they serve their neighbors and community. Pray that God would send long-term Christian servants for this community.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">&nbsp; <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:purple; mso-themecolor:followedhyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style> </p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; God has called us to Japan for such a time as this. While the news of this terrible tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear disaster has long since faded from the headlines, peoples’ lives remain severely affected by the emotional, psychological, and certainly spiritual “after-shocks” that plague their lives every day. We don’t have all the answers but at the very least our ministry of encouragement and presence counts for something. The OGHS money has all been spent but we continue to follow up with these folks and it makes a difference! Please pray about how God might lead you to extend your positive influence over these tremendous needs by supporting us financially through International Ministries. We want to continue to serve on your behalf but that takes money! We would appreciate any and all donations that would secure our future to remain your servants representing you here in Japan. One-time gifts are wonderful but we would ask you to consider becoming a regular member of our support team by pledging a monthly gift. You can give through your ABC region office, by sending a check to International Ministries earmarked for our financial support, or just go to the website to give on-line. Lots more information about us and the work that God has called us to is there. Here is the link and thank you very much!</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"> <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:windowtext;mso-bidi-font-style: italic">http://www.internationalministries.org/teams/103-hwang</span></a></span></p> <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-font-alt:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:modern; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-fareast-language:JA;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho";} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; May the Lord continue to richly bless you!</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"><br></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto"> <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:78; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:purple; mso-themecolor:followedhyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto">&nbsp;Gordon and Lee Ann Hwang</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="mso-margin-top-alt:auto;mso-margin-bottom-alt:auto">"The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace." Ps. 29:10-11 NIV</p> Sun, 30 Mar 2014 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/53319-shiogama-recovery-three-years-after https://internationalministries.org/read/53319-shiogama-recovery-three-years-after Odds Against You? <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style> <p class="MsoNormal">Naomi’s Journey to College in Japan</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Our original plan was to have our kids go to college in the US. Take that as our prejudiced view of education. We had done a few college visits last summer. With Naomi’s preference for being close to her family, her desire to study nursing, and the importance of her relationship with Jesus, she had chosen SPU as the school she wanted to get in to. As she contemplated and prayed through her college plans, her priority was always to take care of her relationship with Jesus. </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Sometime in the following year, her math tutor suggested that she could pass the entrance exam for a Japanese college. We knew nothing about the entrance exam process. We had never considered it. Naomi prayed about it and she sensed God was directing her to studying in Japan. She began to look at the colleges in Japan.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Japanese students begin studying for their college entrance exams from their second year (junior year) of high school. Most students take special classes in “cram school,” <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">juku,</i> in addition to their regular schooling. Most Japanese people consider it impossible to pass an entrance exam to a good school without this preparation. Well, Naomi didn’t start thinking about studying in Japan until the end of her junior year. She had missed some important curriculum choices for Japanese college prep because she didn’t need those classes for US colleges.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">When Naomi went to look for a college in Japan, her first choice was a nursing school in English. There are no English nursing programs available! Then Naomi went to an “open campus” at a Japanese nursing school associated with a hospital where they provide services in Japanese and English. She really liked it. She met a bilingual Japanese student who encouraged her. She felt God was leading her to this school. This became her first choice.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">This school and hospital are Christian. One of our Soshin teachers found out this was Naomi’s first choice.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span>She called the school to see if Naomi could get in on recommendation instead of going through the exam system. The answer was “No.”</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Usually, people choose more than one college to apply to. And in the US, it doesn’t cost too much to apply to a few colleges. Naomi said she wanted to sign up for 3 entrance exams. OK. But what is that look on her face? She tells me each entrance exam is $400. The first concrete hurdle we had to make a faith decision on was to take only 2 entrance exams. Naomi was shaken. “’Everyone’ takes <u>at least</u> 3 exams, usually 5-10. It looks bad if you only take 2. What if I don’t pass . . .”</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">God will open the door if this is His will. We have to trust Him. Did you hear Him calling you to nursing? Yes. Then, we can trust He will accomplish His will.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Naomi continued her math and Japanese tutoring. She fretted about the parts of the entrance exams she thought she might not do well on. We prayed and so many other people prayed for her.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Her exams happened to be scheduled about a week apart. She took the first exam. Everything went well. She got to the testing location early, and finished feeling positive about the test. It was her first choice. The second school is a tougher school to get in to. It is larger and highly respected. Naomi wasn’t considering going there at all.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Not accepted! Naomi was shocked and then devastated. It was difficult to have a positive attitude for the second exam. She knew that this second exam would be harder. We had to do some serious praying. Gordon activated our prayer chain.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">The second entrance exam was in a freak snowstorm. Yokohama had not had so much snowfall in 15 years. Gordon accompanied her to this exam, too but this time waited around for her to finish. It was a good thing that she had someone to come home with. The trains were delayed. When they made it to our station, there were no buses running that they could see. They walked home from the station and passed 6 busses with chains stuck on the hill to our house.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Many people were praying. Especially Japanese people who knew the odds of Naomi passing this next test after failing an “easier” entrance exam was not in her favor. She Passed! Out of 580 students, 180 passed. But now, she must go for an entrance interview.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">The day of the interview it snowed again. The snow was more than Yokohama had seen in 45 years. Thankfully Gordon and Naomi made it in time for the interview. They planned to be there 1 hour in advance and made it 5 minutes before the interview. Whew. Naomi was afraid a panel of 5-8 people would interview her. But she was pleasantly surprised to find 3 older women with smiling faces interviewing her. God had told Gordon, Naomi will have at least one kind interviewer. So, he told Naomi, look for that person. One of the women says, “Are you nervous? Just take a deep breath. It is OK. (kind smile)” She was able to relax. After four questions and less than five minutes, she was done.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">It was hard to wait those 6 days before finding out if she got accepted.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">God knew that He wanted Naomi to go to this bigger university. If she had passed that first exam and been accepted into that college, she would not have tried to get in to this larger, prestigious school. Out of 180 interviewed, only 115 are chosen. We learned empathy and sympathy for the Japanese students and families who undergo this trial. We experienced their heartache and hope.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">She’s accepted!</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">God is faithful. Naomi continued to attend church, small group and BSF while she was studying. She studied, but she had to rely on God to accomplish His will. We know that it is God who accomplished this. It is God’s gift. Jesus says, “<span style="mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)</span> “Odds against you?” With God on your side, you are the “Odds-on favorite!” </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">This is the hope we want others to know in Japan.</p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in"><span style="mso-tab-count:1"></span>May the Lord continue to richly bless you! </p><p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Lee Ann (and Gordon) Hwang</p> <p> <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"?? ??"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1073743103 0 0 415 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"?? ??"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style></p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 19:00:00 -0500 https://internationalministries.org/read/52833-odds-against-you- https://internationalministries.org/read/52833-odds-against-you- What Dance Rehearsal? <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-font-alt:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:modern; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-fareast-language:JA;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-parent:""; color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:purple; mso-themecolor:followedhyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho";} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">What are you rehearsing for? Every year, Soshin Girls’ School has their school festival <i style="mso-bidi-font-style: normal">bunkasai</i>. During <i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">bunkasai</i>, there is a Senior Parade where groups of girls create a skit or dance. This year, Naomi is a senior and she, along with her friends, danced in the parade. They picked a comic character, Ojarumaru, and invited one of their teachers to dance with them. Ojarumaru is a famous kids’ cartoon shown on TV in the evening.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">The parade is performed twice, once per day. On the second day, the teacher had an accident. She sprained her ankle that morning! So, whom did they ask to be her replacement? Lee Ann of course! Naomi showed her the dance, they played the DVD practice video, and a few hours later, Lee Ann joined them on stage! </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>The crowd calling out, “Hwang sensei, Hwang sensei!” spurred on the performers to greater heights. So, if you look closely, you can see Lee Ann and Naomi dancing together in the final high kick ala Rockette style. The Bible says, </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">“Let them praise his name with dancing<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;and make music to him with timbrel and harp.” Psalm 149:3 NIV</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Someday, we may be dancing with and for Jesus. All it takes is a little faith and maybe some rehearsal. </p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">We are dancing for joy for the many people that have responded and pledged toward our financial support. Would you consider a donation or pledge to World Mission Offering now through October? Please know that your part in the body of Christ is extremely valuable. Please donate at your local American Baptist church or visit <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/12">http://www.internationalministries.org/drives/12</a>, and see how you can touch lives all over the world!</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Dancing with Joy and Thankfulness!</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">&nbsp;</p> Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50542-what-dance-rehearsal- https://internationalministries.org/read/50542-what-dance-rehearsal- Laughter and Tears <style> <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-font-alt:"?? ??"; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:modern; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1791491579 18 0 131231 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-language:JA;} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-unhide:no; color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:purple; mso-themecolor:followedhyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-size:10.0pt; mso-ansi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho";} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} --> </style> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span>Why don’t I learn from the past? About two years ago, we brought a boy from Japan to Seattle with us. He attended family camp with us at Warm Beach Conference Center (WB). We thought he was close to becoming a Christian, but he was not yet ready. This year, in July, his older brother became a Christian. And his younger brother, T, came with us to WB this month. Matthew, our son, agreed to interpret for T. The ride up to camp was full of laughter! I did not know how chatty and happy T is. Amazingly, T and my middle daughter, Miki, were chatting for much of the 90-minute trip to WB from Seattle. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">We met T at Nokendai Fellowship in Japan. His mother, Mrs. O, brings him to the church service and he is usually very quiet. We attend the service on the third Sunday of each month. Lee and the girls usually help with church school (Sunday School) with the kids. Last February, Mrs. O asked if T could go to Seattle and attend WB. We were delighted and a little surprised. T is only 12 years old and we did not think he was ready. God knew this was the time for T. He had a great time with three homestay families. The best part of the trip was when he received Jesus at the ending communion service at WB! </p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Lee Ann and I were ready to receive communion. Standing in line, she looks across the room and sees Matthew and T in line also. She whispered to me, “I think T is going to receive communion.” Normally I am calm. But when I heard this, my spirit was overjoyed. I start praying fervently and with many tears for T. God was speaking to my spirit to pray for T’s decision and courage. I could barely receive communion with Lee Ann. Later I learned that at the communion service, the speaker/pastor from the youth camp explained the gospel to T. She prayed with him to receive Christ, and T also received his first communion. It was a two-for-one deal!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">We had prayed for T, but I never thought God was going to answer our prayers so quickly. Nearly the same thing happened to another Japanese friend five years earlier. I should have learned that God uses prayers and special times of retreat to invite new believers into His Kingdom.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Those who sow in tears</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Shall reap in joy.</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">He who continually goes forth weeping,</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Bearing seed for sowing,</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left:.5in">Bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:5-6 (NKJV)</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-tab-count:1">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Would you consider a donation to World Mission Offering now through October? Please know that your part in the body of Christ is extremely valuable. Please donate at your local American Baptist church or visit <a href="http://www.internationalministries.org/">http://www.internationalministries.org/</a>, and see how you can touch lives all over the world!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal" style="text-indent:.5in">Gordon (and Lee Ann) Hwang</p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 20:00:00 -0400 https://internationalministries.org/read/50093-laughter-and-tears https://internationalministries.org/read/50093-laughter-and-tears