Taylor Report – March 5, 2022

Grace and peace to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! We hope this newsletter finds you all well and growing in Christ, wherever you are.

We should apologize first for this newsletter coming a bit late. Although most of February was a slow month, the last couple of weeks suddenly became very busy. But, we’re happy to now report on our work here over the last month.
As we said already, February was a slow month. The continuing omicron wave has particularly been impactful and paused a number of things around the country. Thankfully, our church is still meeting and even the Kids’ English Bible Class has continued unhindered.

Speaking of this Bible class, we are so grateful to see God already working through this and the connections we have made. Recently, one of our neighborhood friends, Mariko, sent this message to Sara:

“I appreciate the stories you tell about God every Sunday, because thanks to that, I can understand what the author says in The Brothers Karamazov [which Mariko has been reading recently].

Thanks to your kindness, I think I can open my eyes to see the world from the other side. It helps also with the Ukraine, to think about other countries or people, I think it is very important to know what they think and their background.

Your story helps me think about God in ways I could not before. I just want to say thank you for helping me see a new world.”

What a blessing and encouragement to read that message! It’s amazing to see God working here in the people we have been getting to know. It’s especially amazing to think of how God is even using the sad situation in Ukraine to influence hearts here in Japan. While we pray for the people there, for a quick resolution and peace, and especially for our brothers and sisters serving and escaping, yet we are thankful to serve a God who works for eternal good even in these situations, in ways that are not always apparent to us.

We are especially grateful to have the opportunity to do this Bible class on Sunday mornings and for those who are continuing to attend, like Mariko and her children. Sara’s work there is not a small thing. It is planting seeds of the Kingdom and cultivating fruit. It is mission work.

Please be praying for Mariko as she continues to chew on these spiritual thoughts!

Sunday morning at the Kids’ English Bible Class

In addition to this, we have continued to study with our new brother Matthieu. He continues to come over each Sunday afternoon after worship, where we discuss a small book about the basic elements of Christianity together. After we finish this book, we hope to continue helping him grow as a disciple with other studies, and are excited to see the kind of impact he will have for the Kingdom as he grows. Please be praying for Matthieu as he grows and follows Jesus.

Matthieu enjoying some dessert made by Sara after lunch at our house.

One other thing we did this month was taking Sara to immigration in order to get special permission for a new project. Some friends here in our neighborhood are starting an online English school that uses videos of native-level English speakers to help children learn natural English, and they asked Sara, Cambria, and Madeleine to be a part of it. In order to get paid for this work, she needed special permission, so we took a day to head to Chiba City and then enjoyed some family time on the Tokyo Bay coast.

Cambria, Madeleine, and Boston playing on a small beach on Tokyo Bay while waiting for Sara to finish up her immigration work.

These kinds of extra jobs can be very helpful on the mission field, both financially but also in building more rapport among the people we know. It’s easy for others to look at our family as a purely religious family, and possibly feel a certain skepticism in that regard. Building these relationships and showing what being a disciple looks like outside the church is just as important for sharing the gospel as what goes on at Sunday worship, if not even more important in such a secular culture with little relationship to Christianity.

As we head into the spring, we are looking forward especially to our upcoming Easter worship in April. That is one of two days during the year that we can expect a decent turnout from our non-Christian friends and is a wonderful opportunity to directly share the gospel and the hope that Jesus’ resurrection gives us. We will be inviting people like Mariko to this, as well as others in our community. We would request your prayers that God will open the door for this to be an effective tool this year for planting seeds and producing fruit.

Please pray that God will open hearts to be willing to attend so they can hear the message. Please pray for our family as we talk to people in our community and invite them. Please pray for Leslie as he prepares for the lessons during the Easter season.

We’d like to close out this newsletter with a personal thought of thanksgiving to God. Recently, Sara and Cambria were talking, and Cambria shared that she feels more at home here in Japan now. Moving here was a challenge for our family personally, but especially for the kids. They left a lot of friends behind, and a lot of life they love behind. We’re grateful to know they feel a part of this, and that God has been calming their hearts. Our kids are not just tagalongs in our work – they are a part of it. They participate in this mission. So it produces that much more gratitude when we hear their hearts are at peace here. We thank the Lord for his provision!

Cambria holding Sister Sanpei’s grandson during worship. She watches her grandson often and brings him to worship regularly. We pray it is sowing seeds for a future generation of disciples!

As you remember our work in prayer throughout 2022, here are some things we would love for you to remember:

  • Prayers of gratitude for Matthieu’s baptism, and prayers for continued growth
  • Prayers for continued success and fruitfulness with the Kids’ English Bible Class
  • Prayers for Sara as she works with our friends’ new English school
  • That God will continue to work at Matsudo regardless of the COVID situation
  • That God will allow the pandemic to come to an end soon so things can open and get back to some kind of normalcy
  • Some specific names you can pray for: Matthieu, Mariko, Tomoko, Kawakami family, Kobayashi family, Mr. Gotou, Fujita family, Ebata family, friends of our children, coaches and staff at tennis

A Few More February Images:

Boston and Madeleine play with a neighborhood friend after a recent snow.
Boston celebrated his 7th birthday in February. Happy Birthday, Boston!
Boston with a heart-shaped Valentine’s cookie made by neighborhood friends. In Japan, girls give gifts to boys on Valentine’s day, so some neighborhood friends made some for Boston. He was very happy!