Nonogaki Reports – April 2016
A Missionary Couple to the Yokota Japanese Congregation – April 27
Last October I met a Christian business man who wants to come to Japan as missionary after he is retired in 2016. He lived in Japan over 10 years and worked with Japanese companies so he can speak fluently. I was impressed with his willingness to sacrifice his life for the Lord. I asked him to come to Yokota and to work with us for the Lord. He visited as many churches as possible and met many preachers and missionaries. The Yokota was one of his choices among many. A couple of weeks ago he came to Japan again. This time he brought his wife with him and attended the worship service at the Yokota. I wanted them to meet our members so that they would seriously consider coming to us. They have decided to come to Yokota. I just pray that God’s will be done in their lives. I hope they will expand their ministry as God leads them.
We will pay for their air plane tickets when they come to Japan in October. After he and his wife arrive at Yokota, I would like to introduce them to you. Until that day I will have to do all kinds of paper work so that they can come to Japan as missionary.
Transformation – April 9
Paul encourages us to be transformed into the image of the Son. For a long time I wondered what it meant. People have natural talents and skills and temperaments. There seem to be something we cannot change in our lives. Personalities and temperaments cannot be changed? Paul’s encouragement seemed impossible for me for a long time. However, I have studied the Scripture and the lives of biblical people who had faith in God. How wonderful they were transformed! They grew spiritually in faith in God through the trials and tribulations. I realized that it was possible for me too! Jesus Christ can make me a kind of person I ought to be if I submit myself to him. I am glad to know it. We can build up Christ like characters if we truly follow him. That is God’s power within us.
This is something I have to teach other people. I have taught many classes in churches and the school from the OT to the NT. Also I have taught history classes and Christian theology. But the most important thing I can teach people is the power of God who can truly transform us into the image of the Son.
An American Lady Is Baptized – April 9
Last fall an American lady started attending the assembly. I assumed she was a Christian because she was taking the Lord’s Supper. It went on for a while. In January I was talking to her about her religious backgrounds and found out she had not been baptized. Innocently she was just taking the Lord’s Supper. We started studying the Bible in the evening after Sunday Japanese worship service. Incidentally around that time we started studying Romans on Wednesday night. It helped her understand God’s plan of salvation. That was a perfect timing God provided for us. On the 7th of April she was baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit.
She and her family are supposed to go back to the States in June. She had been thinking about becoming a Christian for a long time. When she came to Yokota, I guess her heart was getting ready to accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. We just needed to help her understand who God in Christ is.
However, I believe this is just a starting point for her. A Christian life is a life long commitment. Learning never ends. Following Jesus never ends. We follow Jesus Christ wherever we are, whatever we are because he is the source of our lives. He will sustain us to the end. I pray we will be faithful to him to the end.
Speaking on the Work of the Holy Spirit – April 5
Several years ago I spoke on the role of women in the church. That was the challenging subject. Next January I will speak on the work of the Holy Spirit. No doubt this is as difficult as the role of women. The followings are three topics I will discuss.
- God the Holy Spirit and God Jesus Christ in Trinity
- The New Covenant and the Work of the Spirit
- The Work of the Spirit, Church and its Growth
I am not intending to speak anything new, but I try to be faithful to the will of God as best as I can when I speak this subject. I pray that God the Lord will guide me and those Christians who are eager to study this subject.
Japan School of Evangelism – April 1
Next week we will have a ceremony and a worship service at the school for the beginning school year. From the 12nd of April we will start a class. I will teach Backgrounds of the New Testament. It happens to almost everyone that he is negatively proud of what he has learned. “Knowledge is puffed up.” I am no exception. Too much knowledge can become a hindrance to spiritual growth. Some come to sense while they realize its foolishness and humble themselves. Others remain proud. I always tell students not to be proud of what they have learned. Learning never ends. Most of all, we live by the word of God by putting in practice and obeying the word of Jesus Christ. We can become just like Pharisees, who were proud of their knowledge and religious status. That is exactly what the Lord condemns. We are to exceed their righteousness.
A Couple from India and Pakistan – April 1
I met Ghale and Manisha several years ago. They sometimes came to the assembly to worship God with us. Then they moved to Nagano Prefecture 3 hours from us. After three years they came back to this area again. Manisha, Ghale’s wife is a baptized believer who was baptized for the remission of sin. She was a member of an evangelical church back in India. Ghale is from Pakistan. I hope they will be faithful to the Lord; we will get to know them more.
It is interesting that people from different nationalities have a worship together. One is from Shanghai, China. One was born in Hong Kong and moved to Japan when she was a child. One is from the USA. This new couple are from India and Pakistan. I have heard some conflicts between India and Pakistan, but it is good to know the two of them are together.
If we have people from Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Europe, we will be truly international church of Christ. It is quite possible to have someone from South America because we see lots of them here.