Hysten Rpt: Mar-Apr ’12
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Greetings fromShizuoka,Japan! May the Lord’s love and grace be with you all!
God continued to bless us during the months of March and April. Our weekly Bible conversations and teaching with our students through our Shizuoka English Bible Classes (SEBC) went well. Many of our participants are progressing in their knowledge of the Lord. In addition to our evangelistic efforts utilizing SEBC combined with performing our regular monthly responsibilities, we began preparing for this summer’s Let’s Start Talking (LST) program.
March 11, 2012 marked the one-year anniversary of Japan’s worst major disaster in modern history. The entire country was affected in one way or another; however, the areas most devastated by the great Earthquake and Tsunami were the Kanto and Tohoku regions which are located in northeastern Japan. Thus March 11, 2012, was a day soberly revered and absorbed by all who were directly or indirectly impacted. In light of this memorial, I was the keynote speaker for the Nakada congregation. I entitled my sermon: “Answering the Question of “Why?” Several of our students attended our Sunday morning assembly service. In the weeks leading up to and following this one-year anniversary observance, seeing the opportunity we continued to impress upon our students the words of Solomon, that “only those who listen to God, will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (Prov. 1:33) Although much has been done towards Japan’s repair, there is still much to be done and there are still many who are suffering from last year’s major disaster. Please continue to pray for Japan and our collective efforts to reach the lost in Japan.
Beyond our daily work of missions and ministry, a major portion of which involves our SEBC classes, we began making preparations with the home offices of Let’s Start Talking (LST) in preparation for this summer’s LST mission campaign. We are being blessed this year once again with the return of an LST team from you, our MacArthur Park Family. Sisters Karen Loveland and Margaret Hatcher are scheduled to visit and serve in our behalf. We are excited about the potential of serving with them again this year. Their three week tenure begins at the end of May and will continue through the major portion of June. They really did a wonderful job during their first visit with us last year. Many SEBC/LST participants formed lasting relationships with Karen and Margaret. They too are thrilled about having them back partnering with the Nakada Church of Christ in support of the cause of Christ.
The months leading up to the arrival of LST team(s) are perhaps the busiest time of the year for us. Much of our time is spent advertising about the program. There is much corresponding, planning and organizing that must be done in order to host a team successfully. We strive hard to encourage as many Japanese participants/readers/prospective converts as possible to study with our arriving LST teams. A good number of this year’s students are participants who have formerly participated in previous years’ LST programs or who have been a part of our Shizuoka English Bible Classes.
A key factor that impacts our work of ministry each year is the Japanese Fiscal Year which begins March 1. Because of this incursion the months of March and April are critically important months. For school students, the new school year also begins in March. In view of these parallels, parents and students are very busy preparing for new classes, school opening ceremonies, buying school materials, parent/teacher conferences, etc. Additionally, business and industry in Japan also have their impact on the lives of everyone. Reports must be filed, meetings attended and orders and deadlines met. Thus it is a hectic time for our SEBC participants, church membership and us.
In view of all the consuming pressures applicable to the new fiscal year, we often have to adjust our schedules to meet the changing needs of our students. The goal is to match and maximize to the greatest extent possible, our interaction times with our SEBC readers. It’s hard work; but in a heathen nation that is heavily indoctrinated by pagan rituals, senseless dogmas and obligating customs, we want to have a clear conscience that we are doing everything we possibly can to be the best influence possible as ambassadors for Christ. Although the fiscal year changeover certainly places demands on everyone’s time, we are pleased to report that our class attendance remains steady. Some of our potential converts appear to be “turning the corner” in their understanding of their need for salvation through Christ. I would like to share with you some information about some of our students and ask that you pray for them and us, in our combined journeys for the cause of Christ.
The first student we would like to introduce to you is Misao Ikegaya. We have been studying with Misao and her father, Yasushi, for about three years. In addition to being a good student for both Etsuko and I, she has become a good friend. Unlike many, Misao has exhibited qualities that would make her a great Christian. Her willingness to accept the truths contained in Scripture so readily is not only refreshing, but also an encouraging blessing to us. We believe that it will only be a matter of time before Misao gives her life fully to the Lord. She has openly confessed her belief in God. We are currently studying with her about baptism and the commitment required to become a Christian. Misao and her father have often attended the Nakada congregation’s morning assembly, a practice that is not often common with many of our students. Misao’s father, Yasushi, is not as close as it appears Misao is to obeying the Gospel, but his interest is growing. Hopefully if Misao does indeed come to the Lord, Mr. Ikagaya will soon follow. Please join us in prayer for Misao and her father’s successful conversion.
The next student I would like to introduce is Yukiko Yamamoto. We have also been studying with Yukiko for about three years. We have seen steady growth in her spiritual understanding. Every Sunday she comes to participate in Bible class. Like Misao, she often attends our worship services. Yukiko is very tender-hearted; she is earnestly seeking to know God better. God willing we will be able to further cultivate her spiritual growth in the Lord. Like for all our students, we prayerfully hope that her conversion to the Lord will be soon. Please join us in praying for Yukiko.
The next student is Kiyoshi Kajiwara. Kiyoshi is a former high school English teacher. I have been studying with Kiyoshi for some time. Considering the reluctant tendency of most Japanese his age, Kiyoshi has shown remarkable openness and receptiveness to God’s Word. In view of his approachability, our conversations about God have proven to be very fruitful. Kiyoshi does not shy away from discussions concerning deep spiritual matters. He is genuinely seeking. Hopefully he will take the next step in his spiritual development and one day soon, be added to the Lord. Please pray for Kiyoshi and our continuing progress with him and others we are trying to reach.
Our Love to each of You and Yours,
Ken and Etsuko and Family
Schedule of Monthly Events
- Preach Twice for the Nakada Church of Christ
- Lead Twenty-Three One-On-One Bible Studies and Three Group Bible Studies Weekly (When there is no LST)
- Friday Night Devotional/Class
- Monthly Shizuoka Area Ministers Meeting
- Monthly Tokyo and Shizuoka (Central Japan Area-wide) Ministers Meeting
- Incremental Development of Nakada Congregation Church Website
- 3/2: Shizuoka Area Wide Preachers Meeting
- 3/11: Preached at the Nakada Church of Christ (3/11/11 Anniversary)
- 3/19: Central Japan Area-wide Ministers Meeting
- 3/26: Preached at the Nakada Church of Christ
- 4/6: Shizuoka Area Wide Preachers Meeting (Preached)
- 4/8: Preached at the Nakada Church of Christ
- 4/16: Central Japan Area-wide Ministers Meeting
- 4/22: Preached at the Nakada Church of Christ
- 4/29: Preached at the Nakada Church of Christ
- 4/29: Mexican Food Fellowship for SEBC Students/Devotional at Nakada Church of Christ