Ray Report – Dec 6 ’10
December 6, 2010
It is getting winter, but not fast. It got cold all of a sudden, then became warm again. Today was in the low 70’s, but it is supposed to freeze tomorrow night. It sounds like Texas weather to me. We have enjoyed the beautiful yellow and red leaves this year. I think they are better than ever before. This is my favorite season. In Texas, we didn’t have such beautiful leaves. Beautiful flowers in the spring, but not many beautiful leaves in the fall.
We will be visiting two rest homes for the older people to sing and teach a Bible story. There are about 100 people in each home so we bake 200 fancy cookies to take. It is a fun time for us and the older people. We have a large picture Bible story that we show and tell the story. The pictures are about 4 feet square. The ladies make the pictures and we enjoy telling about Jesus.
Winter camp is coming up the 27-29th of December. It is usually cold, but not too bad. Recreation time is tearing down an old cabin. The young boys like this part. We usually have about 40 attending this camp. Bible classes are usually held around a campfire, even in the daytime.
In one of my classes today, we studied about how Jesus forgave people and told us to do the same. Forgiveness is something that most Japanese and many Americans can’t understand well. If someone hurts one of your children, how do you forgive them? On TV all the time you see someone screaming out, “I can never forgive you!” I have learned that forgiveness is not just for the other person. It is mostly for yourself. If we hold something inside us and won’t forgive someone, we are the losers. Our lives reflect the unforgiving attitude and we are never happy ourselves. Happiness is forgiving and letting things go. This also applies even when the other person doesn’t want or ask for forgiveness. I know even Christians have problems with forgiveness. This is just one of the problems that Japanese have with Christianity. There are so many different ideas and words that the Japanese have that are so different. If it weren’t for the tower of Babel, things would be much easier.
On November 21st, we put Usami-san’s ashes into the Tomobe tomb. Of course, we know she was long gone to be with God in heaven. Her name has been carved into the stone on top. It is finished for her. Keep her family in your prayers. They know so little.
Tooru is doing well in school, now. He was having some problems with math, but has been studying more and has picked up his grades. There is still a little over a year before he can go to OC. He still has a strong desire to go and become a preacher. We need to grow in numbers so we can support him when he returns from the US. Most congregations of our size cannot afford to pay a preacher, so someone is invited to preach once in a while and the members take turns speaking on the other weeks. Most of these churches are not growing spiritually as the sermons are usually not very deep and sometimes not even scriptural. I pray I can leave the Tomobe church with some depth and Tooru can take them from there.
Jean and I are doing quite well. Jean still has neck pain and I am still visiting the doctors about my heart. It hasn’t given me any problems in the past couple of months. The doctor said that I need to lose some weight.
We always appreciate you and the help you give us financially and especially your prayers. I know they are effective. With the Dollar/ Yen rate so low these days, I wonder how long before we have problems. We need a new car and we have been putting money away to buy it, but now $1 can buy only ¥80. A year or so ago, it bought ¥110 per $1. Since the money is in dollars, we must change it to yen. A car that cost ¥3,000,000 cost $27,300 a year ago, but now costs $37,500. I usually buy a relatively new used car to save money. Our car is now about 13 years old and has 210,000 kilometers (130,500 miles). It was a year old when we bought it. Anyway, we must think about what to do more carefully.
I pray you are all fine and will have a great time with your families. Love To all.
Serving Him in Japan,
Marlin and Jeanne Ray