Dear Family, Friends and Prayer Warriors,
We hope you are enjoying the start of this bright new year! These times seem to hold much uncertainty for most in the world for many reasons, but the Lord is STILL our Rock and our High Tower. The righteous can run to him and BE SAFE, no matter what storm rages around us.
Even though we are on the other side of the world, our desire is that you would feel our deepest gratitude for your prayers and partnership.
It is true that 2020 was a very rough year for us but also, a very special one. Instead of barely surviving, our whole family flourished in the midst of so much hardship.
Despite all the pain we went through, we were challenged to look beyond the circumstances and fix our eyes on Jesus and remember the “Grander Vision” for which He sent us to this nation, where 99% of the people have never heard the Good News.
Once we put our eyes on the things above, all necessary things were added unto us, including His peace and Presence, and a greater love for the lost accompanied by many special opportunities to share the hope we have in Jesus. Our hearts were strengthened in such a way that all fears and worries dissipated and gave place to an incredible sense of excitement!
“Your attitude towards this whole thing is very different than all the other patients I have helped. Does this have anything to do with your faith?”, Ms. Nagahara, who is the lady from the Emotional Support Department, asked Fabio.
“When you prayed for me, I felt some sort of energy going into my body. And I knew that it was God’s love…”, Hanayo-san (a patient’s mother) said to Elizabeth.
Because of the many days in the hospital, we had a unique opportunity to reach out to over 20 nurses, all 8 transplant surgeons and about 12 patients and their relatives. Not only that, but we have had countless other opportunities in person or online via email, messaging or social networks.
In January, we were asked to write for a Japanese Christian magazine that circulates nationwide. We were given 6 pages (including pictures)! We talked about our mission experience as a family, encouraging Christians, and also wrote a message to those who are not Christians. That was a privilege from our Heavenly Father to encourage and reach people on a larger scale.
Being on the mission field with 7 kids and dividing their attention with a lot of other people is not an easy thing to manage but it is a great investment!
It’s only because of our smaller kids that we meet so many people at the stores, streets and parks. When our kids start playing/talking with others, we have undivided attention from the parents. (Go kids!)
Our older kids can also engage adults, which makes them a great asset to our ministry. At dinner time, we have the chance to continually encourage their hearts and pray for the people we have been investing time in. Our hope is that love for the lost would be imprinted on their hearts as they grow.
Joshua will be leaving in less than 2 weeks to go to South Africa for an intensive Bible course and then will be back to Japan in December. He wanted to do this before he fully enters the “adult life” with all its responsibilities and obligations because it would greatly benefit him, he said. We are proud of him for wanting to take this time of his life to deepen his walk with God and His Word.
Dominique had many struggles in 2020 but said at one point, “Seeing how you handled this whole crisis with Serenity and how your faith was not shaken made an impact on me”. As of now, she is looking forward to going to a discipleship/missions school for 6 months to find out what God has for her and experience God in a real way for herself (that is, after she is done with High School in May 2022).
We write this with tears of gratitude, as this encourages us to see that all the time we invest in discipling our kids and others, is not in vain, but has an eternal impact!
We can’t thank you enough for sharing of what God has given you so we can continue to serve our King of Kings in this side of the world. We are confident that no one does anything alone, and that’s why we want to say that your prayers and financial support have been very important, meaningful and necessary.
When we look back and see all that happened last year and even a man who tried to commit suicide, now saved and being discipled by Fabio almost daily via video call, all we can say is: It’s worth it! All lives matter to God!
We don’t know what difficulties you may be going through, but we encourage you to not fix your eyes on things that are visible and temporary but instead, keep your eyes on Jesus. Meditate on His Word and settle in your heart that His Word is “truer” than what you see. Faith honors God and He says that He honors those who honor Him.
We know that everything we do, we must do as unto the Lord and that He will bring forth the fruit. His Word does not return void. But everything has to start somewhere and by someone. As for us, we will continue to walk forward, press in and believe always. It all may start small, but it doesn’t stay there! We saw that in Brazil and believe He will do the same here. We know that everything in this world will pass, and it is passing (we feel it man!). But all that is done for the Kingdom will last forever and will have a reward, even now and into eternity.
Thank you for joining us, my friend. You and I know it’s worth it !!!
Once again, ARIGATOU (thank you).
“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Romans 4:20,21
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