Monday, December 12, 2016

Finding Purpose in Life

I recently volunteered as a judge for the Kobe University English club's annual speech contest. While I very much enjoyed interacting with the students, I left the event somewhat depressed.

Over the course of the day, I listened to speeches from first and second year university students who had previously submitted their scripts, and then were to recite the speeches from memory.

One young man entitled his speech "You Should Have More." He went on to try to convince us that we must laugh more every day as this will affect not just our overall happiness, but our physical and emotional health as well.











Top contestants at Kobe University English Club Speech Contest

Another young man spoke on "Circumstances May Justify a Lie." He advocated for telling lies with skill, as they are necessary to avoid negative consequences, and also to prevent others from having any feelings of guilt.  For example, if you are meeting a friend, but arrive early, and your friend arrives late, you should tell him that you also just arrived. Helping others to save face in this way is very common in Japan.
My co-judge and I gave first place to a young woman who spoke on suicide. Entitled "Treasure Yourself," she offered advice on how to help friends who may be suicidal. For example, you should point out their strengths, such as athletic, academic, or musical abilities. After each speech, one judge was to ask two questions of the student. I asked her what she would say to a friend who wasn't particularly talented in any area. She pondered this for a few moments, and then said, "I would say, 'You are my friend.'" I liked her answer. But I wished there had been even more depth. I wished that this young woman and all the contestants would realize that each person has innate value as someone created in the image of God.

Other students advocated for such things as keeping your home or room orderly, valuing Japan, identifying your strengths, eating azuki beans (they are healthier than western snacks), or using a motorcycle. All of the speeches had something in common: they promoted one thing that you can do to give purpose to your life. Without this one thing, one must suppose that life will spin hopelessly out of control.

It saddened me that these students all think there is one thing they can do to give their lives meaning and direction -- that they don't see their innate value as image-bearers of God. Can this all be attributed to the significant cultural differences between eastern and western thinking? As I read through the scripts in preparing for this newsletter, I realized it's actually a cultural difference between Christians and those who do not know the hope of the gospel. Our neighbors in the States are also looking for that one thing that will make them happy, successful, and able to live with purpose.

Romans 15:13 tells us, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." And in John 16:33, we read "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

Whether in Iowa, Mississippi, New York or Osaka, as Christians, we are called to always be prepared to answer those who ask us "for the reason for the hope that is in [us]" (1 Peter 3:15). This challenges me as I am not always joyful in the assurance of my salvation, but often look for inferior things to give me purpose. But these things never satisfy.

Please pray not only for the lost and searching people of Japan, but for those in your own neighborhood, and even in your family, who do not have the purpose that only a relationship with Jesus Christ can give us. And then look for ways to share the joy you have in knowing that God has a plan for your life here and now, as well as eternally.



End-of-Year Contributions
If you are interested in making an end-of-year contribution, please consider giving toward the work of the gospel in Osaka, either directly to my missionary account for to Genesis International College. Having been pushed into the role of team leader and interim president after the departure of our team founder, my expenses have been greater than originally budgeted. God has provided well, but it is likely that I will need to return to the States somewhat sooner than originally planned due to the additional strain on my budget. You can make a one-time contribution by clicking here, or you can email me if you'd like to pledge monthly or annual support.

If you would like to contribute directly to the expenses of Genesis International College by clicking here. If you'd like to be a regular donor, please email us here.

Thank you for your consideration!

Recruiting Update
I traveled to the States in October to attend the annual "Fall for Japan" conference in the Baltimore area. I also made a stopover in Minneapolis to visit with a prospective GIC president, and was able to spend a couple of days there with my Aunt Lyla and my mom, who flew up from Iowa. Please pray that God will continue to draw the right person to the position of president, as well as college faculty and church planters.
 Enjoying the fall colors of
Minnesota with my mom


Genesis Cafe Finished?
Since July 2015, we have hosted a monthly "Genesis Cafe" event at a local coffee shop. We've been able to serve over 100 people in their English abilities, and to build relationships with them toward sharing the hope of the gospel, all while building a reputation for Genesis that will serve us in our future recruiting efforts.

In October, we were informed that the coffee house would close at the end of the year. On December 7, we hosted our last Genesis Cafe event at Gloria Jean's Coffees. God provided a wonderful location and a staff that was always eager to help us -- not an easy thing to find in Japan!

After much consideration, we have found a new venue at the Swissotel. How does an upstart ministry get into an international hotel? Through a "chance" meeting some months ago at a local Mexican restaurant where I met the Swissotel food and beverage manager! We are so thankful for another example of God's providential care for us, long before we even knew a need existed! The hotel has even expressed interest in having their employees participate in our events.
Final night at Gloria Jean's
(Click for larger image)




Prayer Points
Pray for our new event at Swissotel, for all the details before our first event on February 1, and that many students will attend and hear the hope of the gospel.

Pray for the many Christmas events hosted this month by churches and missionaries around Japan. Japanese people enjoy Christmas as a date night, or with their families having KFC takeout and a Christmas cake. But they do not know the real significance of Christmas. I was in a Christmas musical again this year at Mustard Seed Christian Church. Some 320 people attended the first show last Sunday, and another 390 attended this Sunday! Pray that the gospel message will penetrate each of their hearts for the glory of God and the salvation of His people.

Pray for GIC missionary Tim Bentson who is at 95% of his support and hoping to arrive in Japan by the end of the year, in time to join all MTW Japan missionaries at a retreat in the mountains of Nagano. (Click here to learn more about him, or to partner with him either monthly or one-time.)

Monday, October 10, 2016

October 1, 2016

New Missionary Arrival!

Genesis College is very happy to have received another new missionary in Osaka this past month! Frank Harrellarrived from West Point, GA on September 9. Frank has an M.Div. degree fro
Covenant Seminary. He felt a call to missionary service at a young age, but has only spent two months in Japan prior to moving to Osaka for long-term missionary service. He will be starting language school this month, planning to study full-time for two years. His primary focus will be church planting, along with teaching some classes at our college. Frank is living with me, so you can pray especially for him! With the Rose family who arrived in July, our Osaka-based team has doubled from three adults to six! Praise be to God!
 

ELI Workshop

Genesis' third English workshop was a success! Nine students attended our English Language Intensive held August 29-31. One-third of our students fit our eventual Genesis College target group: young adults who, for various reasons, did not attend a university. The "task-based learning" lessons were especially well received by these young men and lady.

I have interviewed a number of these young people (including some from previous events) to learn about their past, their goals, and how we can best serve them. Our team will be brainstorming next week regarding this, and whether additional ELI events will help us help them, or if we need a different strategy. Your prayers are welcomed!
 

Stateside Recruiting

I will be attending the "Fall for Japan" missions conference in Baltimore on October 21-23, looking to recruit faculty members, church planters, and a college president. I'll spend several days before the conference in Minneapolis, visiting with one particular presidential prospect. Please be in prayer for this time, asking God to provide the people we need to serve in Osaka.

It's not too late to register for the Fall for Japan conference! Click here for more information!
 
 

THANK YOU for your
partnership in the gospel!


Prayer Points
Praise God for bringing Frank Harrell to Osaka, for providing for all his physical and spiritual needs! Pray for him as he continues to adjust to life in Japan, and begins language school next week.

Praise God for blessing our three-day English event at the end of August. Pray that He will also provide wisdom and direction for our future events -- that they will be strategic in accomplishing our goals of practical help for young Japanese people and effectively sharing the gospel with them.

Pray for my time in the States in October, that God will provide the people needed for the college and for church planting, and that He will give discernment in meeting with the one particular presidential prospect. Also praise God that my Mom is able to fly to Minneapolis for a few days, where we will stay with my aunt.

Pray for me and my new missionary roommate, Frank. At 47, adjusting to life with a roommate may be a challenge. So far, so good!

Culture Corner
Japan's national sport is sumo. Dating back to at least the 8th century, sumo began as a prayer for a fruitful rice harvest, then evolved into a public sport in which two men fight in a circular ring, with one winning when the other was either knocked out of the ring, or any part of his body besides the bottom of his feet touched the ground. Sumo is a living Japanese tradition, containing ancient customs and dress.

- from Matthew Johnson,
on udemy blog


Thursday, August 11, 2016

August 11, 2016

New Missionary Arrival!

Our Genesis team is growing! Jesse & Candie Rose and their daughter arrived in Osaka on July 29! The Roses had previously lived in Nagoya, where Jesse taught at an international school for two years. After two years raising support in the States, driving thousands of miles and sleeping in dozens of homes, they are excited to be here, and they even found an apartment less than one week after their arrival! We are very thankful that God has supplied their needs, both financially and in prayer, and has brought them to our team. Please pray for them as they adjust to life in Osaka, and as they begin language school in October.



Summer ELI Seminar

Our third English seminar, or "English Language Intensive," is scheduled for August 29-31.

The Japanese government recently issued new goals to improve English education, which has been very poor, leaving Japan with the second worst TOEFL test scores in Asia. Rather than focusing on grammar and vocabulary, which leaves many students unable to have a conversation, schools are tasked with helping students to use critical thinking and even to debate issues in English. We are taking on this challenge in our ELI seminar with lesson plans full of "task-based learning" activities. Rather than a lecture, which is usually best avoided, the students will be given experiential exercises that will require conversation, decision making, and team work. Through this process, they use English and can be guided and stretched in a safe environment.

Please pray that we will reach our goal of fifteen students, and that God will bless our time with them -- that they will learn and value their experience, that we will build Genesis' reputation in English education, and that our relationships with the students will lead to gospel opportunities.

We are excited to have three teachers, including our new arrival, Jesse Rose, for this ELI!














Spring 2016 ELI



Recruiting Report

Mobile, AL was the site of the 44th PCA General Assembly. I and three other MTW men who are raising support to join us in Osaka spent several days manning the Japan Partnership booth in the exhibit hall, meeting old friends and making new ones, and sharing with anyone who would stand still what God is doing in the city of Osaka! I was greatly encouraged through conversations with a number of young men, one as young as 17, who desire to be church planters in Japan. I also spoke with a number of people about taking on the role of GIC president. More often than not, these conversations led to suggestions of several others who might be better options. These referrals are a huge blessing, and have led to an encouraging conversation with a promising candidate.















Connecting with friends from the 2015 MTW Vision Trip to Japan.



Thank you for your prayers and financial partnership
in bringing the gospel to the people of Japan!


Fall for Japan
Join me at a "Fall for Japan" missions conference at Chapelgate Presbyterian Church near Baltimore, MD, October 21-23. This is the 2nd annual conference, focusing solely on what God is doing in this largest unreached nation. There will be exciting speakers, both Japanese nationals and American missionaries, sharing how God is working in Japan.

Click here to register online.



Prayer Points
Praise God for the arrival of new GIC missionaries Jesse & Candie Rose! Pray for their adjustment to life in Osaka and their language learning, starting in October.

Pray for Frank Harrell as he works and waits upon God for the final 10% of his missionary funding. It's important for him to arrive by October 1 for language school.

Pray for our ELI seminar on August 29-31. Pray that we will meet our goal of 15 students, that they will learn and be highly satisfied with the seminar, and that God will provide opportunities for gospel moments.

Pray for a new GIC president. I am in contact with a promising individual with experience in developing a new college.

Pray for faculty for the college! This sort of opportunity is not one typically on the radar of university faculty. Help us spread the word about this incredible opportunity God has given us to impact lives here on earth as well as eternally.

Culture Corner
On any given summer weekend in Japan, one is able to find a nearby "matsuri," or summer festival. While these events often have pagan origins, most of them now consist of lots of festival food (lots of grilled things on a stick, so often healthier than the deep-fried stuff on a stick at American festivals), and fireworks. Many people, both men and women, wear light-weight summer yukata (traditional Japanese robes), or the men may wear "jinbei" -- matching shorts and robe-like top. (I did this myself, once . . . .)

I attended a matsuri festival last weekend at a friend's 32nd floor apartment in Kobe. From his balcony, we could see an hour long fireworks display along the Kobe port, and in the distance, another matsuri in Osaka was visible. It certainly felt a bit like the Fourth of July, and gave the Americans in the crowd our fireworks fix for the year!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

(From June 5, 2016)

Our's is the Victory

May was a difficult month for my family, bringing me to Canada two times. After months of inflammation and pain in one breast, my sister, Denise, was diagnosed with "inflammatory breast cancer" in April. The cancer spread quickly, and by early May, I flew to Edmonton, Alberta to spend precious time with my sister and her family. Denise had undergone one round of chemotherapy about aweek earlier, and was hospitalized soon after due to her body's reaction to the toxins. By the time I arrived, it had been determined that treatment would be more harmful than beneficial, and Denise was placed on "palliative" care to make her comfortable.

Although tears were shed, it was an encouraging week to see the love of the church community for my sister and her family. And I was especially encouraged by the peace that Denise demonstrated. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Although in physical pain, and not wanting to leave her family, Denise exuded that peace that only God can give.

I spent one week in Edmonton, joined the last day by my oldest brother and his wife. My last couple of hours with Denise were difficult, as morphine controlled her pain, but made communication a struggle. Not knowing whether I would see her again here on earth made saying "good-bye" difficult; but I left her with the words "See you soon, either here on earth or in heaven."

Two days after returning to Osaka, Denise passed away. I was able to return to Canada to be with my family for her funeral. One particular photo from the memorial service showed her walking arm in arm with our Dad on her wedding day. As we lost our Dad just thirteen months earlier, it was a beautiful reminder that they are together again in the presence of God Himself.

We celebrate that Denise is no longer in pain, but has a new body, youthful and full of energy with which to praise God for all eternity.

"'Oh death, where is your victory?
Oh death, where is your sting?'
The sting of death is sin, and
the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God,
Who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ."

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

I want to thank so many of you for your prayers for Denise and my family. Please continue to lift up her family, including her husband, Jans (pronounced "Yahnts"). They have ten children, five of whom are still at home, ages 8-20. Four of these children were adopted, including three siblings from Canada, and one teenager from the Ukraine. It is difficult to understand how God can take someone who seems so badly needed here on earth. But God promises to care for His children and to use all things for our good remain true, even when life is so difficult. Thanks be to God.



Recruiting Stateside

I'll be spending three weeks in the States later this month. Ten days will be in Iowa with my Mom, and then ten days in Alabama (attending the PCA General Assembly) and Mississippi to recruit faculty, staff, and church planters for the Genesis team. Please be in prayer for this effort. We cannot open a college without faculty. It's difficult to recruit faculty without a permanent president. And we need church planters to plant churches!

I have a meeting on Saturday, June 18 with a potential GIC president. Please keep this in your prayers!

Additionally, I will be looking for volunteers to serve on our "Friends of Genesis International" foundation. These individuals will advocate for Genesis and help raise funds for the opening and operation of the college. Some may serve in an advisory capacity, while others actively travel and meet with potential donors. While this is a volunteer, unpaid position, expenses will be covered for GIC related work.

Please reply to this email if you are interested in serving in any of these ways, or if you know someone who may be interested. And please keep this need in your prayers.


Calendar

June 8
Flight home to
Sioux Falls, SD

June 12
Speaking at First PCA
Hospers, IA
9:30 a.m. Worship
10:50 a.m. Sunday School

June 18
Flight to Mobile, AL
Meeting with a potential GIC President

June 19
Speaking at First PCA
Biloxi, MS
9:30 a.m. Sunday School
10:55 a.m. Worship

June 21-24
PCA General Assembly
Mobile, AL

June 26
Update at Highlands PCA
Ridgeland, MS
10:50 a.m. Worship

June 27
Recruiting at RTS Jackson
Free lunch for students

June 28
Return to Osaka



Prayer Points

Praise God for His grace in the life of my sister, Denise Pops, and for His saving grace on her life. Pray for her husband and children as they adjust to life without her, and depend upon God for His comfort and sustaining grace. Your prayers for my mother are also appreciated, having lost both her husband, last year, and now her daughter.

Pray that God to bring a new president to Genesis, as well as faculty, church planters, and Genesis Foundation volunteers.

Pray for our GIC missionaries who are raising support. Specifically:

Frank Harrell: Hopes to arrive in Osaka in August.

Jesse & Candie Rose: Hope to arrive in August.

Tim Bentson: Hopes to arrive in September.

Daniel & Carla Gibson: Hope to arrive 2017.

Jeff Edwards:  Hopes to arrive 2017.


Pray for our monthly Genesis Cafe events, and our August English seminar, that God will bring us students who will be open to the gospel.



Culture Corner



Japan has a total of 6,852 islands. It's total area is slightly bigger than the state of Montana (red).

73% of the land is mountainous, comparable in size to the state of Colorado (brown).

The population of 127 million (40% of the US) is comparable to the US's eastern seaboard, Appalachia, and eastern Great Lakes states (blue).

If all the cities were moved next to each other, they would take up about the same space as Vermont & New Hampshire (yellow).

The arable farm land is comparable to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, & Connecticut (green).


(From April 9, 2016)

GIC Stateside Retreat

The backwoods of rural Mississippi was a stark contrast to life in Osaka, but an appropriate place for Genesis' stateside team members to gather for a time of encouragement, planning, praying, and worshipping together. Sixteen adults and seven children gathered at "The Barn," near Madden, MS over Valentine's weekend. The group included two young families and three single men who are raising support to join the Genesis team in Osaka.











After losing our founding team leader, the focus of the weekend was to encourage our stateside team as they labor in an often difficult time of raising support. It may seem that losing the founding president of a college that is not yet off the ground would signal the end of such a challenging endeavor. But we are convinced that God has done too much, prepared too much, and called us in such clear and peculiar ways, that we can be confident that He is not yet finished with Genesis International College!

Our team was greatly encouraged by our interactions with Bruce & Susan Young, who served many years as missionaries in Japan. We were inspired to persevere through conversations with Haruaki & Asami Odate, friends of mine from Chiba who are currently studying atReformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS. And we were loved and supported by Bob & Karen Brunson, a PCA pastor and his wife who are serving as our team's "Pastoral Assistant Couple." Additionally, we were blessed by two men from Highlands PCA who cooked all of our meals (food donated by the church), and volunteers from Redeemer and Trinity PCAs who took care of the children while parents participated in various sessions.

I was especially blessed to take the group to worship at both Trinity (my former church) and Redeemer (my current church). I gave a brief ministry update at both churches, and was even able to join the Redeemer choir and witness the installation of our new senior pastor!

Please lift up the Genesis team. The Rose family and Frank Harrell are both nearing 100% of their support and hope to be in Osaka in the next few months.  Others have more work to do; pray that they will be encouraged as they see God providing for their needs.

Thank you to those of you who contributed to the cost of the retreat. We could not have offered this free of charge to our team members without your generosity. And thank you to those who prayed for this event. We were blessed!
 

English Seminar

Our second English seminar, now rebranded as "English Language Intensive," or "ELI," was a great success! Held during Spring Break, this three-day event drew ten students. Marcia Esaki (director of our English cafe ministry) and I taught six sessions on speaking, listening, reading, and writing. We were pleased to have a couple of students return from our July seminar, in addition to our new students.

Our goal for these seminars is to serve our community, to build friendships that will lead to sharing of the gospel, and to build the reputation ofGenesis International College for future recruitment of students. We were very happy with the results, as the students seemed very happy, having been challenged in their English skills and supported by our staff.

Each night, we invited our students to join us for dinner, including one night at a Mexican restaurant and another at an authentic New Orleans cafe. These were great times of relationship building.

Our next seminar is scheduled for August 29-31.


Prayer Points

PRAISE GOD for blessing our 2016 Genesis retreat!

PRAISE GOD for blessing our "ELI" seminar. Several of our students were Christians! Pray that God will give them grace and appropriate boldness as they enter university. And pray for those students who do not yet know Christ, that God will call them to Himself.

PRAY FOR our itinerating missionaries, that God will quickly provide all the financial supporters and prayer partners needed for long-term ministry in Japan.

PRAY FOR the faculty needed for Genesis College to truly get off the ground. If you are qualified to teach at the college level, please consider whether God might use you in this way. Or if you know someone who should consider this, please forward this to them!

PRAY FOR a new college president. We are in need of a person academically-minded, mission-minded, and visionary to lead and inspire this new college!

PRAY FOR church planters to join our team, to serve alongside the college, planting reproducing churches.

PRAY FOR my sister, Denise, who has just recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. Pray for her as she is consulting doctors to determine the best treatment option.

PRAY FOR my mom as the first anniversary of my dad's death approaches on April 19.
 

 

Upcoming Events

June 21-24
PCA General Assembly

I will be attending this event in Mobile, AL in order to recruit faculty, staff, and church planters. I also hope to visit several churches in the month of June.

August 29-31
English Language Intensive

 

 

Culture Corner

From March through April, an annual pink tsunami slowly rolls over Japan, thrilling the people with the sights of pink-flowered cherry-blossom trees. More highly anticipated than the first sighting of Robins in America, the "Sakura" blossoms signal the arrival of Spring in Japan.

"Hanami" ("Hana," meaning "flower" and "mi" meaning "see") is the tradition of having a picnic in the park under the Sakura trees. Every Japanese person has fond memories of hanami parties, and most participate in this ritual every year. My Osaka church had a hanami party this past Sunday afternoon with many visitors joining us.

The delicate flowers last only about ten days, depending on the ravages of wind and rain. "Mononoaware" is the Japanese word that expresses their appreciation for something of fleeting beauty. If the trees were beautiful all year long, they would no longer be special. The flowers are a good reminder that our time on earth is also fleeting. God knows the number of our days; we do not. Are we prepared to meet our Creator God? Are we sharing the Good News of salvation with those around us so that they can be prepared? As much as God loves the lily of the field and the sakura blossom of the tree, He loves and values us, His image bearers, so much more.


(From December 15, 2015)

Leadership Changes

The GIC team is saddened at the departure of our founder and president, Joseph Kim. He and his family have returned to the States due to health issues. Following a one year medical leave, Joe resumed his role as leader of our team, commuting to Japan about once a month. But as of January 1, he will officially be on a leave of absence. Please pray for this family: that God will bring healing, give them direction for their future, and perhaps even bring them back to Osaka.

I will be serving as the interim president.  However, the Genesis team is actively recruiting a new college president. Ideally, this person should have experience in higher education and business. A Ph.D. or similar degree is also preferred, and if he or she was able to serve as a Mission to the World missionary, that would also be helpful, but not required. Although it seems like an impossible search for such a person, God is not limited by our vision nor is He limited by our criteria. More information is available on our Genesis website. If you are interested, or you would like to nominate a potential applicant, please notify me via email. Also, please do PRAY for this critical position to be filled.

Genesis Retreat

I will be leading a Genesis team retreat in the States for our current team members who are still working toward joining us in Japan.  Additionally, those who are interested in possibly joining the team are encouraged to attend. Participants will hear from our leadership team about the vision for Genesis College, as well as from seasoned missionaries to Japan -- what it's like to serve in an unreached nation, to raise kids in a third culture, etc. For many of our team members, it will be their first time meeting others who are in similar phases of raising support to serve in Japan. It will also be an important time to regroup following the loss of the Kim family, and to see the God has not abandoned us, nor has He recalled the vision He gave us to reach the lost with the hope of the gospel.



When:  February 12 (6 p.m.) through February 14 (morning worship & lunch)

Where:  A retreat center near Jackson, Mississippi (easily accessible by air from Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Memphis)

Cost:  My goal is to make this a FREE event, so your only cost would be transportation.

Childcare:  Capable and loving volunteers will be available all weekend to care for infants and small children, allowing parents to participate fully in the retreat.

Please pray for this retreat as we refocus our efforts in the wake of losing our founder.




Photo:  The Christmas Musical (see story in right panel),
showing the choir and Joseph & Mary with baby Jesus.




I WISH YOU A BLESSED CHRISTMAS!  I pray that you will experience the joy and wonder of Christ's birth in new ways this year, and that you will be able to share the hope of the gospel with your co-workers, family, and friends.

THANK YOU to everyone who has prayed and who has financially sacrificed for the sake of the gospel in Osaka, Japan!


Genesis Cafe'

The English conversation event birthed from the July TOEFL seminar has continued on a monthly basis, the first Wednesday of each month. We continue to see new students registering and bringing friends! Held in a comfortable coffee shop, Christian language facilitators interact with our students, teach them some new English skills, give them confidence in their abilities, and build friendships that lead to sharing the hope of the gospel!

Christmas Musical

My church in Osaka performed a musical on Sunday, December 13 drawing 370 people!  Our usual Sunday attendance is 90; the previous record attendance (at the 2014 Christmas event) was 170. A second performance is scheduled on Christmas Eve. I am participating as a choir member as well as "shepherd #3" (much to my dismay, as I hate acting!). In addition to the standard "Mary" and "Joseph" acting, video clips tell more of the story of why Jesus became Man -- of His death and resurrection. Praise God for the many who heard the story of Christmas for the very first time, and pray for those coming on Christmas Eve.

Prayer Points

PRAY that God will soon provide a new president to lead Genesis College.

PRAY for the Genesis Retreat -- that God will bless our time, encourage missionaries struggling to raise support, and bring new recruits who are committed to reaching young Japanese men and women with the hope of the gospel.

PRAY that the expenses of the retreat will be covered by generous supporters. Pray whether you might be one of those supporters!

PRAY for Genesis Cafe, that it will be a means by which we can effectively share the gospel.

PRAY for the Christmas musical, that God will draw many people to hear the true story of Christmas, many for the very first time, and that their hearts will be opened to the message of the gospel.

PRAISE GOD for a young man who recently prayed with me to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He was baptized on December 13! Pray that the Holy Spirit will grow his faith. And pray for him as he marries in just a few weeks, that he will effectively lead his wife who is "on the same path" spiritually.