Thursday, June 18, 2015

He Makes All Things New

In the April newsletter, I requested prayer for my father, whose cancer had returned. On April 17, I received word that his condition was rapidly deteriorating, so I returned home to Iowa that same day. I am so thankful that I was able to be with my  dad for his last 26 hours on this earth.

About a week after an intensive three-day inpatient chemotherapy treatment, my dad's kidneys shut down and he contracted sepsis (blood poisoning). He was on 24-hour dialysis and oxygen, along with many IV bags delivering various medications. Shortly after my arrival in Sioux Falls, my family went home and I was able to spend the night with my dad, holding his hand much of the time, and talking with him when he was able. These are sweet memories of our final day together. The following night, he passed away with my mom and all four of his children around his bed. We are all thankful that he did not experience any pain until just two hours before his death, at which time morphine helped make him comfortable. But much more importantly to all of us, we know without a doubt that our dad is now with our Savior, Jesus Christ. He has a fully-restored, perfect, youthful body that will never experience pain or fatigue. He is living in the joy that is only possible in the very presence of our God.

Revelation 21:3-5a says, "I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And He who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.'"

What a wonderful promise that is! God's children will be physically and spiritually renewed -- permanently. But more than that, we will be in the very presence of our Father Creator. Do you have absolute assurance of that promise? The apostle John says, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life" (John 5:13). God wants to to have absolute assurance about His promises! If you don't have that assurance, ask God to give it to you. Or speak with a pastor. Don't live in doubt and fear, but in comfort and peace.

I want to thank you for your prayers for my dad and for our family. I ask that you continue to pray for my mom as she adjusts to life without her husband of nearly 60 years. Although I did not send an email update after my dad's death, many of you heard of his death through Facebook or personal emails, and so many of you have been so gracious in your words of comfort, cards, and prayers. Thank you.

Link to obituary

TOEFL Seminar
The Genesis team is busy preparing for our first ministry event. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized test that non-native English speakers must take to enroll in American universities. There are four parts to the TOEFL test: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. We will be offering a "TOEFL Speaking Seminar" during the week of July 20-24.

The purposes of this "TSS" event include:
  • To begin to build a reputation for GIC as a high quality institution, which will help us when we recruit students for the college.
  • To practice the skills needed in teaching, recruiting, and ministering to the youth of Osaka.
  • To prepare for college recruiting using video and photographs from this event.
  • To build relationships with Osaka youth that will allow opportunities to share the gospel, and invite them to future events and Bible studies.
Several of our Genesis team members who are still raising support will join us, as well as a number of short-term volunteers and a summer intern. Please pray that God will use this event to plant seeds of the gospel and to bless our future ministry.

Volunteers from Denver Christian High School helped us distribute 300 TSS flyers and give free two-minute English assessments to promote the GIC TOEFL seminar.
 

Prayer Points

Praise God for his grace and mercy upon my father throughout his life, but especially at the end. Praise God that he did not suffer a lengthy illness, but that his death was delayed until I could join my mom and siblings at his bedside.

Pray for my mother as she continues to adjust to life without her husband of nearly 60 years.

Also pray for my mom as she has been enduring significant hip and back pain for more than two months. She will have hip replacement surgery on June 24.

Praise God that my sister had a good report following a lumpectomy from her breast back in April. (I requested prayer for her as well in the April newsletter.) There was no cancer outside of the removed mass.

Praise God for Terrance Kimm, an MTW summer intern serving in Osaka. In addition to helping us promote and run the TOEFL seminar in July, he will take a lot of photos and video for our promotional use in the future. Please pray for his work, and please pray for his hearing, as he lost all hearing in one ear a few days ago. (He had just 20% hearing in that ear previously.)
 

Events

July 20-24
Genesis TOEFL seminar

July 28 - August 3
MTW Asia Missionary Retreat in Malaysia
 

Culture Corner

If you were looking for a new church home, you'd likely consider such issues as the theology of the church, the pastor's preaching ability, how welcoming the people are, and what ministries they have for your growth and involvement. You probably would not be thinking about your final resting place, unless you are a Japanese Christian.

My church, here in Osaka (Mustard Seed Christian Church), is shopping for burial space for our members. Without access to such a space, it may be nearly impossible to be assured of a Christian funeral service. If buried in a Buddhist cemetery, a Buddhist priest must perform their Buddhist rites. While that would not cause a Christian to lose their eternal salvation, it would send a very mixed message to one's friends and family, and it would be a significant lost opportunity to share the gospel message during a Christian funeral service.

Please pray for Japanese Christians, that they will lead lives of distinct calling, and that they will find the means to maintain that message even in their deaths, that they will point others to eternal life in Jesus Christ.