Hysten Report – Oct ’10
Greetings from Shizuoka, Japan!
During August and September we continued our efforts to reach the lost here in Japan – our primary outreach tool being individual Bible Studies and the several Shizuoka English Bible classes (SEBC) we conduct on a regular basis. While most of our time was devoted to these endeavors, we were also blessed with an encouraging two week visit from my parents. Their visit gave us a welcomed breather, especially with Dad preaching on one occasion at the Nakada congregation. Along with spending some time with Dad and Mom, we carried on with our daily pursuits for the most part. With God gracing our efforts, the participation in our classes remained steady; we consistently host 23 “individual- to-individual” classes and three group classes weekly. As always, we covet your prayers as we strive to win the lost to our Lord in Shizuoka, Japan.
The first couple of weeks of August were devoted to our normal ministry/missionary pursuits which includes teaching SEBC; making and assembling English Bible textbooks; teaching Bible classes for Christians previously won to our Lord; and preaching. Generally, in regards to our workload, August is a much less hectic month, when compared with the previous Let’s Start Talking (LST) months — May through July. With the departure of the LST teams and a lesser day-to-day emphasis on the LST program itself, we were able to slow our pace somewhat. August is when most Japanese take vacations. The exodus of many to outlying places for some R&R provided us an opportunity to receive a visit from Mom and Dad.
The arrival of my parents was a blessing and a great encouragement for us. The mission field is definitely a “foreign” spiritual battlefield. Everyday is a fight to rescue souls from the forces of evil. In addition to being parents, Mom and Dad are not only seasoned veterans in evangelizing those within the U.S., but also in different parts of the world. Having the opportunity to share and gather insights from Mom and Dad was an added bonus besides being able to spend time with them. Their visit with us was truly refreshing.
This September marked our one year anniversary at the Nakada Church of Christ; i.e., utilizing the Nakada congregation as our primary base of operations. Reviewing what we have been able to accomplish since making our transition to Nakada, we are pleased to see the progress in our work of missions here. We can see growth potential both in the number of people with whom we have been able to interact and, in the level of interest in learning about who Jesus is as Lord and Savior. We have seen our SEBC class numbers multiply and those with whom we interact within these classes, increasingly moving towards understanding God’s Will for their lives. We are encouraged by these positive signs realizing from our past experiences over the years, that the Japanese heart and mind requires far more diligence to pursue in view of their culture. Breaking through the shared traits of a society where so many embrace Buddhism and Shinto as religions fundamental to their national character is a tough and sometimes a daunting task. Even so, we remain confident in the knowledge that the word of God is living and active and that it changes lives—penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
I want to ask you to pray especially for one of my prospective converts we are working with, Yoshitaka. I am hopeful Yoshitaka will be baptized in the not too distant future. “Yoshi” and I have been studying together for about three years at the Nakada Church of Christ. He is an avid mountain climber and an all around sportsman. At the end of 2009, Yoshitaka, his wife and a friend took a mountain climbing trip to the Japanese Alps. It was during this fateful trip that his wife while climbing became very ill. As a result of her illness and severe weather conditions, they became stranded in the mountains for almost a week. At the end of their amazing ordeal, they were rescued by being emergency air-lifted out of the mountains by helicopter. You can imagine my surprise when I heard of Yoshitaka’s emergency rescue while watching the national news. By the grace of God, Yoshitaka, his wife and friend survived very harsh conditions. However, as a result of injuries and severe frostbite Yoshitaka and his wife were hospitalized for some time. During their time in the hospital we were able to visit them regularly to encourage and to continue to reach out to them. Following his release, we were able to pick-up classes again. During his difficult trial Yoshitaka lost some of his fingers and toes; however, his overall outlook on life has progressed spiritually. I have seen a great change in Him and I can see that his heart is opening more and more to Christ. Please keep him in your prayers as we continue to seek to win Him to the Lord.
Although small by most American standards, we a have seen church attendance grow and two of our students are weekly attending Sunday’s worship time. Additionally, six of our students have openly confessed that they believe in the Lord. Please pray for us and for those with whom we interact, serve, and desire to bring to the Lord. We appreciate greatly your partnership with us in this mission. May the Lord continue to bless our mutual endeavors to serve Him and His Church.
In Warm Regards and Love,
Ken and Etsuko Hysten