Wednesday, July 13, 2016

(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.

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