It has finally turned cooler (rather suddenly, this year). The leaves are falling and autumn is just around the corner. The Japanese pears and grapes are in and they are good as usual. I saw someone harvesting persimmons today. They are good, too. Jean has returned from two weeks in the States for her aunt’s funeral. She had a nice visit with Ken and Ai and other relatives.
Early on Oct. 8th, Kimiko Usami passed away. She had been fighting cancer for over 5 years. She was so active and loved living the Christian life. She was always walking around meeting people and telling them about Christ. She was also a great leader of the women at Tomobe church, but her leadership didn’t end with Tomobe. She was active at Hitachi Christian Camp and the ladies group in Ibaraki Prefecture and many other things. She helped everyone she could, especially foreigners. She was a Christian as Paul described. Her husband, who is not a Christian, was surprised to see so many people at her funeral (about 200). About 3/4 of the people there were Christians. Mr. Usami turned over the arrangements for the funeral to me. We are thankful that he wanted her to have a Christian funeral, as many families don’t care what the departed relative wanted. No incense or Buddhist priest or bowing to her picture. People walked up to her family and talked to them. This is not done much in Japanese funerals. I think it was a good memorial to her
I could talk about her for pages and pages, but she is with God now and talking with Him. Please keep her family in your prayers. One of the ladies at Tomobe church is working on a small booklet about her. If any of you knew her and want to place some memories in it, please send an e-mail to me soon, as in yesterday. The Japanese are doing this, so I am not sure if the final copy will be in English or not. We want to give a copy to her family to show how the church feels about her.
The preparations for her funeral, teaching some of Jean’s classes and being sick with a cold have taken a lot out of me. I was going to write this a couple of weeks ago, but as usual it is late. There is a typhoon going on outside, so I have time to do this, if my computer doesn’t get knocked out.
Jean went to the doctor in Tokyo and it was determined that her problem is posture. She will just have to learn to stand up straight and her neck problems will become better. Keep her in your prayers. Like me, she is getting older and many things are not working right.
I am doing well. I will go back to see the doctor in another month.
The Tomobe church keeps loosing members to different things. Besides Usami-san, another lady, Reiko Suzuki moved a long ways away and there is no church near her new home. A couple of years ago, we were at about 35, but now near 25. We have been teaching 30 to 35 adults each week, but no one has been coming to worship. It does get depressing at times. I have to keep reminding myself that I am just to teach and let God take care of the increase. We have good classes each week with many good questions and I hope I give good Bible answers.
We thank all of you for keeping up with and praying for us. God has put us in Japan to teach about Him. We will continue to do so as long as we live. God has been so good to us. We can only do what we can for Him. The church here also prays for you. Thank you.
Serving Him In Japan,
Marlin and Jean Ray