Ray Report Nov 12, ’08
It is getting colder here, as it is in the US. It was almost freezing last night. The autumn leaves are looking good and the cherry tree has no leaves. It is time for rest in the forest, but not for us humans.
Last month was very hard. In the middle of the month, I had to make a quick trip back to Texas for my brother’s funeral. Virgil seemed very healthy. He had retired last year and was continuing to referee junior high and high school football and baseball games. As he was refereeing a game on October 14th, he told another referee that he did not know what a heart attack felt like, but he felt he was having one. He was taken to the side lines and there collapsed. The doctors came and tried to resuscitate his heart, but on the way to the hospital, they gave up. He was 60 years old. He is survived by his wife, one son and three grandchildren. He was the quiet one in the family, but in his death, all the junior high schools and high schools in Houston Texas took time out to remember him at their games. He was very well-liked and a faithful Christian.
On the way back to Japan, I stopped by California for a couple of days to visit our son and his wife. I stayed at Jean’s sister’s house. I was also able to have lunch on Sunday, after worship, with some of our Japanese-American friends from the old Westside church. Ken and Ai seem to be doing well and I enjoyed being with them.
I came back to Japan just after the Andresens left for the US. They were with us for about a year and 4 months. Our house is a little lonely now. They did a lot of teaching and had many activities while they were here. Seventy-three came to their going away party. God’s Word never is taught in vain, but I know that Marc and Elissa wanted to see some results. It just hasn’t happened, yet. We are still teaching some of their students and I pray that some results will come. I talked to one last week and she said that she wants to become a Christian, but it would cause problems with her family. This is usually the story. I will continue to work with her. Marc and Elissa will be working in planting a new church in Oregon. Keep them in your prayers.
We had another prayer marathon last week. I had just come back from the States and preparation was not so good, but we had 37 people praying and they seemed to enjoy being a part of the prayer time. One lady, Yumiko Hara, wrote me this mail.
“What a wonderful moment! I felt great power of prayers. I realized that we are family in God. Thank you for giving me such a blessed and loving opportunity! 30 minutes was not long for me either.
“Thank you, again.”
I am sorry that I didn’t write any of you who have helped in the past, but I just did not have the time. We will have another some time at the beginning of the year.
One great news is that on the last Sunday Marc and Elissa were here, we had record attendance. I was not here, but Marc preached to 50 people. One first-time visitor later told his English class that he was a little scared, but worship was really nice. And “I didn’t know that people sang to God. It was beautiful and Marc’s sermon was wonderful.”
This week there were 32 in attendance. Several new people have come recently. We are working to get a new class of young people (25-40 year olds) started. It is not easy to find a time for this class as most of them are working. Please pray that we can get it going. Most of these are Christians, but some are not, yet.
I want to tell you, again, how much we appreciate you. The Japanese are also very thankful that you have sent us to them. They express this very often. I am amazed at what this little church can do. Most of the members here were baptized here. They would not have heard the gospel message if the Tomobe church did not exist. I am thankful because I can see the joy in their faces as they work for God and as they teach others. God is great!
Serving Him in Japan,
Marlin and Jean Ray
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