Nonogaki Reports – September 2018
Sept 10, 2018 – The current members of the American congregation
There are four families in the congregation. The first one is the Kropog family from the Yokota Base. They have two boys and one girl. The second one is the Yates family from the Atsugi Base, which is far from us and takes two hours by car. They have two little boys and one baby girl. The third one is the Stroud family, who recently arrived in this area. They have six children, four boys and two girls. Jonathan Stroud works as a librarian in American school downtown Tokyo. The last one is the Griffin family from the Yokota Base. They have one boy. We have lots of children, but we do not have a children’s class yet. We have been talking about.
We have another couple. Joe Bickley teaches English in a local school. They live in Tochigi-prefecture, which is very far from us. It takes at least two hours to get here from there.
Sept 10, 2018 – Power of singing spiritual songs
I am the first one to admit that I am not musically talented. I do not read music. I am tone deaf, but I like singing too, just as any other Christian does.
When I have a bible study even one on one study, we do singing together.
For a long time, I was afraid of singing wrong. I felt embarrassed to sing. In the worship service, my voice can be blended with other off tone people. But I have decided to sing with a person in front of me. This took courage to do so, although I practiced a lot.
Anyway, I realized it was so powerful to sing spiritual songs that I did not have to explain the gospel message. It is so plain to them. I know some people have a very soft heart and are easy to be touched spiritually. They had tears in their eyes. Amazing! This is truly amazing.
I should have sung those good songs with people even though I knew how awful my voice was.
Sept 10, 2018 – Recent addition to the Japanese congregation
Several weeks ago 88-year-old lady started attending the worship service. Although she has not been biblically baptized yet, she desires to associate with us. She told me that this congregation had refreshed her spirituality. She likes our style of singing without musical instruments. She likes simple messages of the gospel, which she finds easy to understand and relate to herself. “I find myself surrounded by very friendly people,” she said.
I am glad to know her more and more. She started a couple of childcare schools and has worked as a principal. She loves children. She wants to know more about God in Jesus Christ. I am blessed to get to know here.
Sept 12, 2018 – A couple of books I have just finished reading
Reading good books makes me think whatever topics are. “Inside Out” by Larry Crab is a good book to read. I mentioned it in the previous post.
There is another book I highly recommend. That is “Visionaring” by Andy Stanley. I think this is one of those books every Japanese preacher should read. It is about leadership and goal setting. It applies to Japanese churches and preachers in many different ways. One of the chapters is “Moral Authority.” Leaders should never forsake moral integrity for the sake of achieving goals. That is the basic argument of this chapter, but it applies to Japanese preachers a lot.
I have learned a lot from this book. Since Japanese congregations do not have eldership, it is easy for preachers to decide whatever he wants to do for his church. Here is a check and balance I have to make for the Yokota Church of Christ so that everyone in the Yokota can prayerfully consider any issue in front of us. I must know I am not someone special in the Yokota church in the sight of God (everybody knows that!), but especially I have to make conscious efforts to let everyone know major or minor issues or decision or direction we are making.
I believe I am entrusted with the Yokota Church of Christ. That means I am held accountable for what is happening here. I have to trust in Him and prayerfully rely on His wisdom.