Monday, June 9, 2014

Financial Update
God continues to provide new ministry partners, bringing me to 87% of my monthly budget! This brings the remaining need to $970 per month, which could be met by 19 partners pledging $50 per month. As progress has picked up momentum, I feel confident that God will allow me to depart for Japan at the end of August. Specifically, I am targeting August 25 to fly to Osaka!

Will YOU consider partnering with me in bringing the hope of the gospel to the people of Japan? Monthly pledges both big and small are all important in sustaining me in ministry over the next four years. One-time gifts also help as they are placed into a fund to be dispersed over 48 months. For more information, you can email me at brentkooi@gmail.com or if you prefer to remain anonymous, you can contact Jennifer Miller at MTW at 678-823-0004.

THANK YOU to all who have or are contributing as well as all those who pray for this ministry. I could not do any of this without you! Please continue to pray for God's provision and my timely departure in August.

Final Days Stateside:
Great Lakes, East Coast, & Departure
As my departure grows imminent, there is much to do including applying for my missionary visa into Japan, and final travel including Texas, Iowa, the Great Lakes area, the northeast, and down to Atlanta. I look forward to seeing many old friends and sharing the vision of Genesis International College in various churches. If you live along my route, I would love to see you!

Here is my tentative schedule:

  • June 16-20: Houston, Texas; PCA General Assembly
  • July 1-12: Family time in Iowa
  • July 13: Speaking at joint PCA churches of Ackley, Iowa
  • July 14-17: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois
  • July 18: Huntington University gathering in Indiana
  • July 19-21: Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • July 20: South Grandville Christian Reformed Church; Grandville, Michigan
  • July 22-24: Indiana, Ohio
  • July 25-26: Western Pennsylvania
  • July 27: Church of the Redeemer; Cortland, New York
  • July 28-Aug. 10: New York, New England, Eastern Pennsylvania
  • August 10: Uptown Community Church; New York City
  • August 11-16: Central Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia
  • August 17-19: North Carolina, South Carolina
  • August 20-22: Meetings at MTW offices in Atlanta
  • August 23-24: With friends in South Carolina
  • August 25: Departure (goal) from Charlotte, North Carolina
Please pray for this trip and all the logistics that still need advance planning including:
  • additional church visits
  • weekday personal visits
  • overnight accommodations for 5-1/2 weeks
If God provides for the remainder of my support by mid-August, I will be able to purchase tickets to Osaka, wrap up business in the MTW offices in Atlanta, return my car to the friends in South Carolina who have graciously given it to me for my time in the States, and then fly out of Charlotte, NC on August 25. If the needed support is not pledged by that time, I will still return my car in SC before flying back to Iowa until such time as I can depart.

Culture Corner
Open House English Class - Kaihinmakuhari Church
Eastern and western cultures often seem to be diametrically opposed in every facet of life. My favorite example of this comes from one of my English classes in Chiba. At the conclusion of each class, the teacher was to clean up and wash the coffee cups. However, the students would never allow their teachers -- especially the male teachers -- to wash the cups. Rather, each student would stay until everything was done. In one particular class, all eight women would stay each week. In the narrow, cramped spaces that are Japan, only one woman could fit in front of the sink. A second woman would reach in to retrieve each cup and dry it and the pass it down a line of the other six women until it was placed back in the cabinet.

To me, this was the epitome of inefficiency and ridiculousness. In America, we might create a schedule, designating one or two students to weekly clean up duties. But not in Japan. Eventually this weekly oddity became routine and I learned to appreciate it. In Japanese society, the group is central to culture. Nobody would think of leaving the group until all the work was finished -- well, except for the men; they leave the work for the women because some things really are universal. But for the women, cleaning up as a group was an important part of social time with their classmates. I also came to realize that this emphasis on the group is more compatible with Christianity than the individualism of western culture. The early church in Acts 2 spent time with each other and "had all things in common," and "the Lord added to their number day by day." Our Christian unity and love for one another are crucial in living out the gospel each day.

It's easy to be critical of unknown cultures. Yet regardless of how Christian or un-Christian the society, we all reflect our Creator in various ways and can learn from the most disparate of cultures.

Prayer Points
  • Final 13% of needed support to come in by mid-August.
  • Travel safety to Texas, to Iowa, and through the Great Lakes and northeast down to Atlanta.
  • Missionary visa to be timely processed.
  • Church appointments each week to share the vision of Genesis College.
  • Good personal visits with old friends and potential ministry partners.
  • Accommodations for 5-1/2 weeks on the road.
  • For an August 25 departure.

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