“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17
Hello family and friends!
Finally, summer here is coming to an end and just this week, we received a “visit”: a typhoon hit our area pretty hard. Some areas got hit by it even harder and yet, a Japanese friend said: “This one was pretty weak…” It was strange to be woken up by the whistling of strong winds and doors and windows rattling around us. Needless to say, anything left hanging outside disappeared.
In a sense, this summer went by like a typhoon, but in a good way. Many new things happened, so quickly and intensely that we’re still trying to sort out all that happened.
“Why is God so kind to us?”, asked Israel (12) with a smile of satisfaction, during the days we spent in Korea.
That’s actually a great question to hear from a kid. To see him perceiving that every good and perfect gift comes from above (Js 1:12).
How do we know this Korean church we visited?
About 20 years ago, even before we got married, Elizabeth studied at Japanese school in the same class as a Korean missionary named Pastor Lee. After a while we got married and moved to the States and then Brazil. Meanwhile, Pastor Lee with his wife and daughter, planted a church in Kyoto. After nine years, they moved back to Korea and now pastor Joy Church in Seoul.
We took them up on their invitation to meet the rest of the church who’ve been a tremendous blessing by partnering with us for the Gospel in Japan. We were so blessed and encouraged by their passion for Christ Jesus, displayed by their words, attitudes and actions.
Our time there was one of rest, enjoyment and fellowship. Did you know that not only in their church, but in most Korean churches, it is pretty common to have 5:30am prayer meetings on a daily basis? And they not only do that every morning, but every evening as well! Since that is a priority for their families, many move closer to church, so their kids are able to walk there on their own. What?! Yep, their kids go to prayer meetings on their own – even elementary aged children.
Their discipleship program prior to baptism lasts two years and upon completion, they are expected to present the fundamentals of the faith publicly.
Sunday, we shared at their church about our ministry and work in Japan. Worship time was very special, which they kindly did it all in English this time –otherwise we wouldn’t have understood anything! (Most of the church members speak English very well too.) The worship leader positioned himself in the front of the church, closed his eyes, raised his hands and started. The whole entire church pretty much took over from there. We couldn’t hear the singing from the pulpit anymore, in fact, they were singing so passionately that even singing with all our might, we could not even hear our own voices!
We write this because we were greatly encouraged and we hope this will encourage you as well!
Joshua is now in Taiwan. With clear direction, provision and open doors from the Lord, he went to do a Discipleship/Mission training at YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in Taiwan. He left on August 30th and the training will be for 5 months. Thank you for praying and sending a gift to him for his going to this training. It is challenging as parents to watch our firstborn take his first trial flight and we miss him terribly, but we are also full of expectation as to what the Lord will do in his heart and life during this time. Please pray that it will be a season of great growth!
Besides our trip to Korea, Elizabeth also took the four older children to MK Camp a few states away from here. It was a great time for them to have fun and intermingle with other third culture kids that they can identify with. They have often felt rather lonely since our move here, so it has been important for us to create as many of these kinds of opportunities as we can for them to be cared for and ministered to. Please continue to pray for them.
Another major event is Fabio’s completion of the Japanese course he was doing. Of course, this does not mean that he has mastered the Japanese language, but he is making great progress! Now that his time is less constrained, he has been meeting each morning at 5:30am with Pastor Ogawa for prayer and Bible reading in Japanese. This is greatly helping him to improve in learning “Christian Japanese” that one does not learn in Japanese school! In fact, he took on the challenge of preaching in Japanese for the first time this past Sunday, just for about the first ten minutes, after which he switched to English with translation. Still, this was a huge step of faith and we are thankful for the Lord’s help at each step along the way. He is also continuing his Japanese studies through community classes several times a week, as well as with a private tutor. Please pray for continued progress!
As summer vacation came to a close, we made the decision to bring Dominique and Israel back home for school. (Johann and Olivia had already come back home for school starting in April.) It was an important season for our children to be in Japanese school, for them to adquire language skills and also learn to interact within this culture, but we felt that the time had come for them to study at home once again. It does make Elizabeth a good bit busier, but it is also really nice to be together as a family again.
Thank you for being a part of all that is happening here. We are definitely moving forward and we continue to see His hands guiding our steps.
- Please pray for continuous discernment of His guidance;
- For Nagayo-cho and the 42,000 people that know no church in that town;
- For his divine protection;
- His continuous provision;
- Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health;
- Process of transitioning the works we have started unto the hands of our local brethren;