A June Jammed with Joy
June began with the National Ministry Workers’ Workshop. Rich Little came from the Naperville Church of Christ to share with us about spiritual disciplines and discipleship. I felt convicted and enriched by what I learned and encouraged by the great fellowship.
Then we were very blessed by a visit from Crimsen and Saprina. They spent about 10 days in Mito with us (they also visited Sendai for about a week). We enjoyed showing them around Mito and introducing them to many of our new friends. I am so thankful for how encouraged I was by their fellowship — it always wonderful to have good friends visit Japan!
On the weekend of the 18th, Atsushi (Mito church minister), Joel and I planned a one night retreat for the foreigners at Mito church. We had time for prayer and worship, discussion and planning for this year, and fun and fellowship. I think that everyone is excited for some of the changes we will be making to the focus of the group in our times together. I feel like God has great plans for the members of Mito church, and a portion of the potential that I see in Mito church is in this group of vocational missionaries. I feel so fortunate and exited to be working alongside them in God’s mission in Japan.
Also, we assembled our “Flocks” (small groups, a little like host families) in June. Our hope is that God will use these cross-cultural groups of Mito church members to build deeper spiritual relationships in our church family. We are focusing on unity within our church in order to strengthen one another as we go out into the community, the nation and the world to glorify our Heavenly Father!
Joel and I continue to visit the Ibaraki Christian College campus every Tuesday with the intention of building relationships and looking for opportunities to serve the spiritual needs of the students we meet. This is difficult for me because I am not naturally outgoing, and even more shy in Japanese. But God is opening doors for me to slowly build relationships with some of the students. I am thankful for this opportunity, even though it takes me outside of my comfort area.
And this month we began making preparations for the English Bible Class (EBC) ministry, that Mito Church of Christ hosts from September to March. People interested in studying English (using the Bible) can attend small group conversational English lessons taught by the native English speaking members of Mito church. Joel has delegated the organization of this ministry to Kendon (one of the AETs) and me — so, with the help of the other foreigners, we will be writing the curriculum, preparing the teachers, running registration and seeking God’s wisdom in this outreach ministry.
The last weekend in June, we began hosting a cell group in our home on Sunday evenings for the young Japanese members of Mito church. Please pray for this group! The devotional times are led by the members, who all want to work on growing spiritually together, share testimonies of how God is working in our lives and spend more time devoted to praising God. These young adults are the future leaders of the Lord’s church in Japan, and I am so blessed to be growing, praising God and serving with them.
Please pray with me . . .
- ~that we will find times of rest, times to just be with God. Mito church has a lot of ministries and other activities going on — so please pray that each one of us will continue to find and protect times of quiet to renew our spirits and spend time with our Creator.
- ~a praise to God for the Mito church family’s desire to be a church united by the Holy Spirit, despite the challenges that come from being an international church. Please pray that the Flocks within the Mito church family will be protected and blessed, as those relationships grow.
- ~that God will continue to open the way for me to build relationships with the students of Ibaraki Christian College. Please pray that I will be confident to build new relationships, and that God will work through me despite my weaknesses.
- ~for the EBC ministry. Please pray over the students that will come to learn English. Please pray for the church members who will lead the small group discussions. And please pray for all of us who are working to prepare the materials that will serve both as a tool for practicing English and a stimulus for spiritual discussion.
- ~a praise to God that Joel is getting some time to rest and enjoy his family reunion. Please pray that his family will be blessed, and that he will have safe travels back to Japan.
- ~a prayer of thanksgiving for all the provisions that God has made for Gaku in his life in Mito. Please pray that God will bless him with rest within his difficult work schedule, and that the Holy Spirit will continue to protect and grow his new relationships and continue to bless him with spiritual mentoring and opportunities to serve.