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.