Ray Report – Nov 22 ’09
Autumn leaves are almost gone, but some maples are still quite red in our town park. We had cold weather, near freezing, for the past few days, and a lot of rain. It almost feels like a winter rainy season.
Jean and I went to a Church Planting Institute meeting for 5 days a couple of weeks ago. We learned from churches that are growing about how they do it. This was not a Church of Christ meeting, but over 300 church leaders from Japan attended. The meeting was in English and Japanese. Some of the classes focused on continuing our own spiritual growth. We can’t give what we don’t have. Also we learned about small group churches or cell churches. We picked up some good ideas. One of the most important was that every church is different and so are their methods, but the small group idea was strong in reaching the Japanese. Churches of 10-20 have grown to 100 or 300 in a few short years. Each one also said that Bible study has to be at the center of each group. Also, each group had a purpose of doing something. For example, one group was music oriented. They practiced new songs and taught them to the whole church on Sunday. Other groups were evangelistic, cleaning the church building, cooking oriented, etc. They learned the Bible together and did other things together. I don’t know when or even if we can do this kind of thing at Tomobe, but I will try to encourage them to do something. We have been around 20-25 members for a long time. Sometimes we go up to about 30 average, but soon it drops back down. Some have moved away or jobs keep them from coming every Sunday. LST has not brought in any new members in a while. It is our responsibility to reach out and I don’t think we are doing that. Many LST readers have joined our English classes, but we have not reached them with the gospel. The Tomobe members must take some more responsibility to teach. I think our members are doing a great job in making friends with the people who come, but not after they leave the building. We seem to be a building-attached group. I don’t know if I can change this idea, but I will try.
We are nearing the end of the year. I don’t know where it went. We have many activities planned. Next week, we have our Thanksgiving dinner, on Japanese “Labor Day.” I bought 2 turkeys and all the cooking has been assigned. I am just waiting!
Tomorrow, I will go to camp to start the foundation of the new cabin. Last Saturday it rained, but tomorrow may be OK. At winter camp, December 28-30, we will finish the foundation and then I will cut the wall boards, etc. At spring camp we hope to finish putting up the walls and roof. After that we will work on the inside. I hope it will be ready for summer camp.
I hope to spend more time in God’s Word and praying. Prayers can accomplish so much. I know many have been praying for Jean and me. We are getting older and many health problems arise. I never want to be an arm chair theologian, but sometimes it sounds good. Just to sit there and tell others what to do. Jesus led by example and I think that is what we need to do. If we don’t do it, how can others learn how or even want to do? I hope God will let me work until it is time to go home. I love you all for taking care of us with many prayers and giving us the means to be able to be here. In this time of year, we have Thanksgiving. I remember each one of you and thank God you came into our lives. May God bless each of you and may you continue to have good health.
Serving Him in Japan,
Marlin and Jean Ray
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