Albright Rpt 3 – Oct 19 ’09
Japan Trip 2009 – Report #3
As Sunday, October 18, comes to an end here in Japan so does our time for this trip. We have traveled as far east/north as Hachinohe (New York NY) to worship with two congregations there and as far west/south as Shizuoka (Charleston NC) to participate in an area-wide retreat. We have been with groups as small as four, not counting ourselves, and as large as a hundred or more. We met with numerous individuals and families.
Throughout this time, as always, God has been good all the time. We continue to be encouraged by what we see and also discouraged by what remains to be done. Paul’s words in Corinthians 4:4 still seem to be valid – The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…
During the last three Sundays we have worshiped with one of the smallest congregations and the largest. Masa continues to work with the Yokota congregation, both Japanese and military. They now have a new building and will dedicate it at a worship assembly on November 23. While worshiping with them, I was able to give my congratulations to the congregation for the new building and express my apology for not being able to be with them when they dedicate the building. Masa has more detail reports on the Park Avenue church web page.
Masa gave a good lesson from Psalm on giving thanks to the Father. One illustration which stuck was that of a flashlight. You don’t thank the flashlight for giving light, but for the person who loaned you the flashlight. We do not worship or thank the mountains, but the One who made them.
On Sunday, October 11, we worshiped with the Tomobe congregation. That weekend I shared three lessons from Romans 8, one on Saturday and two on Sunday. Their verse for the year was part of Romans 8:28 – In all things God works for the good. The “good” which God is working toward is our transformation into the likeness of his Son for our glorification (Romans 8:29–30).
The Monday after being at Tomobe, Josephine and I left on a 5:56 a.m. train for Numadzu. There we were with six congregations from the Shizuoka area. The theme for the day retreat was “The Joy of Being the Lord’s Servant.” I spoke in the afternoon. That evening we had supper with Ken and Etsuko as well as brother and sister Maeda. Ken and Etsuko are now working with the Nakada church in Shizuoka city.
Our last Sunday here was spent with the Ochanomizu congregation. I preached in the morning and Josephine shared a lesson Sunday afternoon – “Eternity in Our Hearts.” This is the largest congregation in Japan with five elders. They too will begin worshiping in a new building in November with the dedication coming November 28.
Forty years ago this summer Josephine and I first came to Japan. We were college students and looking for a place to work. It was during that trip that we decided to come to Japan and help the work here. You can read a bit more about that at this link.
We want to thank you for your continued prayers and support for our work here. We continue to hear thanks expressed in prayers for the Park Avenue church and for you, who help make our work here possible. We feel somewhat like we are abandoning ship as we return, but realize there are other responsibilities toward which we must direct our efforts. Perhaps God will grant us another opportunity such as this in the future.
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