Ray Report – Apr 12 ’12
I am sorry we have not written more often. It has been a busy Spring. Now the cherry trees are in full bloom here in Tomobe. Like everywhere in the world, we have had very strange weather. The tulips, daffodils and cherry trees are blooming at the same time. Even the plum trees are still in bloom, a little. Spring came in all at once and everything had to bloom at the same time. But it is beautiful!
We had a team of 3 come very early this year for a Let’s Start Talking program. Laura Valdez and her daughter Maria, missionaries from Argentina and Travis Young, from their sponsoring church in New Mexico. They worked with Tomobe church for 4 weeks and then went to the tsunami devastated area for a week to help. They worked really hard here as they understand mission work. We really appreciate them.
Jean and I spent 4 days during the Spring break working in Ishinomaki. I can’t do too much heavy work, but we worked on Jonathan Straker’s house, helping to replace the floor damaged by the tsunami. We didn’t do much, but it was fun and we got out of Tomobe . The Japanese don’t understand this, but we need to get out once in a while.
The Strakers were missionaries in Sendai before they went to the US to do graduate studies at ACU. They were there when the earthquake and tsunami hit. They felt the great need for someone to be in that area and work. Many Christians go up to work, but only one family from Osaka has moved into that area. Japan has so few Christians. The Strakers put aside their own plans to become the answer to the prayers of many.
I have spent much time on one-day trips to Iwaki area to take water and now we are helping a company to deliver water to kindergartens and other schools. The water is contaminated in that area, so bottled water is the only way to get good water. This company will set up serving machines in these schools and deliver 12 liter tanks of water for the students to drink. The government has not done this yet, and already one child has died of thyroid cancer. Others will get cancer if something is not done soon. This will also put several people to work delivering the water. Work is one of the biggest problems in that area. Many companies were destroyed. This company started as a milk company before the tsunami. The milk in that area is undrinkable, so the company went bankrupt. The water idea came up because of the Christians working up there taking water to different places. They already had 7 trucks to deliver, so we have been helping a little. It is just starting so we don’t know how it will go.
Tomobe now has two young men working on becoming preachers. One, Yasuki Nishimura, already has a masters degree in engineering, but quit his job to become a preacher. He will go to the Japanese School of Evangelism at the Tachikawa church building. It is a very small school with only 4 students now. Two are not going to become full time preachers, but one in Okinawa and the one from Tomobe want to be. The man in Okinawa will study by computer on Skype, so will not come to Tokyo.
The other young man, Toru, will study at Oklahoma Christian University. He just finished high school here and we have been working with him on his English. He has had almost constant English practice with Jared, Cassie and Benjamin. Benjamin is an English teacher living in Tomobe and has been coming to the Tomobe church. He and Toru have become good friends.
And this week, Toru’s father, Shigeyuki Hirosawa was baptized into Christ! His mother was baptized about 10 years ago, but his father was resistant. He has been coming with his wife to Bible classes on and off for several years. Two weeks ago he came to me and said that he was interested in becoming a Christian. We studied several times and he decided to accept Christ as his Savior. Toru didn’t think he could baptize him, but I asked him to take his father’s confession of faith. Three of the family are now Christians. That leaves Toru’s older brother and sister. Keep this family in your prayers, especially Toru as he goes to OCU to become a preacher.
I will be taking the three of them to OCU in June to enroll Toru in an English school at OCU so he can pass the TOFEL English test to enter the university. My schedule will be as follows:
May 14, leave Japan for Dallas. I will drive from there to Houston, TX to see my brother and sister and families. Then, return to the Dallas area on the 25th and go to Memphis until the 31st. I will then go back to the Dallas area and meet Toru and family and go to OCU. We will return to Dallas and send his parents back to Japan. I will stay in Arlington TX until I leave for California on the 18th of June. I will be in California until the 10th of July and return to Japan. I hope to see many of you in those areas. If you want to contact me in the States, use this mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We didn’t want to cancel our classes for 2 months, so Jean will go to California to visit family and attend the Pepperdine Lectureship. She will be in California from April 23rd through May 7th. She will return to Japan to teach my classes. The members will take the preaching duties.
Thank you all so much for loving us and praying for us. We continually need your prayers.
Serving Him in Japan,
Marlin and Jean Ray