Friday, September 11, 2015

TOEFL Success

Genesis International College kicked off its first academic ministry event at the end of July with a TOEFL seminar. TOEFL is an ACT or SAT type of test required of those who wish to attend English-speaking universities, but English is not their first language.

We had grand visions of 50 students attending the five day seminar. But God's plans were a bit more humble, with just a handful of students. How-ever, we are so thankful for these students -- that they had a great experience, spending time with our team afterwards, going to dinner, etc. It was also exciting to see them grow in their speaking ability.  In a thank you note, one of them wrote: "i'm MASAHIRO. thank you for taking me and giving me an opportunity!!! god bless you!!  ps...can i send you a friend request??" I'll take satisfaction like that over grand visions of human greatness any day! And we will be patient as God builds our ministry, starting with just a small handful of students, but doing far greater things that we could ever ask or imagine.

Alongside the TOEFL seminar, we hosted or first "Genesis Cafe" English conversation event at a local coffee shop. Thirteen participants joined us on a rainy night for an opportunity to practice their English, learn a few new phrases, and to make friends with native English speakers. A monthly event, we had eighteen participants at our September event. Please pray that the relationships formed at these events will be glorifying to God and will see many people finding the hope of the gospel.

Summer Travel

Immediately upon the completion of the TOEFL seminar, I flew to Malaysia for MTW's Asia/Australia Area Retreat, which is held every four years. The purpose is to refresh missionaries physically and spiritually. In addition to hanging out at the pool several afternoons, we heard daily from two pastors, and worshipped the God of all the earth -- in a muslim nation. It was also a time to meet with MTW leaders from the States and Japan to dream and plan for God' direction for the missionary team in Osaka.

Shortly after the area retreat, I spent time with my family in Iowa. The trip was originally intended to be a celebration of my parents' 60th anniversary. Several months before he passed away, my dad reserved accommodations for us at Inspiration Hills, in the hills just outside of my hometown. Following our weekend family time, I drove my Mom down to south Texas, where my parents have wintered since 1999, in order to retrieve many personal items that were left in their little "mini-mobile," which has now been sold. Although certainly not an exciting drive, it was good to spend the time with my mom.


Japan Vision Trip

A group of nine is traveling to Japan during the last week of September on an MTW Vision Trip. Some are considering whether God may be calling them to serve in Japan. Most, coming as pastors or missions committee members, are coming to learn what God is doing in Japan; yet God may call some of them to serve here as well! I am coordinating this trip from this side of the Pacific and will be guiding them during their visits to all six MTW ministry teams in Japan. Please pray that God would bless this time, and that He will call some to serve here, and others to send and pray for those who serve here.

Prayer Points

Praise God for a successful TOEFL seminar. Our students were few in number but very happy with what they learned. We had a great team of missionaries, some of whom are not yet here full-time but still raising support, and other volunteers who came just to help with the TOEFL seminar. God is helping us build a reputation for excellent English education. Pray that this will lead to many young people hearing the hope of the gospel in the years to come.

Praise God for continued success with the Genesis Cafe English conversation event.

Praise God for safety in many miles of travel, including flying on Malaysia Airlines (not my choice!), and a nearly 3,000 mile round trip from Iowa to Texas.

Pray for missionaries who are currently raising support to join the Genesis team. Pray that God will provide for their every need.  They include:
  • Jeff Edwards
  • Daniel & Carla Gibson
  • Frank Harrell
  • Jesse & Candie Rose