Ray Report – Nov 25 ’11


It is getting colder here.  We had our first frost this week and I am wearing sweaters sometimes.  Winter is a good time here because we have little rain and there is no grass to cut!!  The autumn leaves are looking good.  The Icho or Ginko trees have beautiful yellow leaves, shaped like small fans.

I went to Sendai with a group of six from the Park Avenue church in Memphis from November 6-11.  We had a good time and helped many people.  If you look at the homepage of Park Avenue, you can see some pictures and learn a little about what we did (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4).  I will attach a few pictures at the end of this report.

We worked on houses, cleaned up yards, and had a cookout for about 150, mostly elderly people.  The destruction is still visible.  Houses are still, here and there, lying on their sides, cars still up in trees, and many businesses unable to open.  Winter is quickly approaching (they have already had snow).  I wonder if they are prepared enough.  The land near the ocean has sunk more than 3 feet.  When the tide is high, it comes back to cover the land.

I will go up again Sunday, the 27th until Wednesday the 30th.  Jean and Jared Scism, our new co-worker, are teaching my classes so I can go.  I will be driving the truck.  We need to take things up and prepare the church building for winter.  We will also be passing out winter clothes and things they need for winter, as well as food.  We will not go back up until after the new year.  We need to rethink what needs to be done now and how we can best help.  Some stores are beginning to open up and most roads are passable.  But many still have no way to support themselves or repair their homes.

Winter work camp is coming up December 26-28.  We will be putting aluminum sash windows in one cabin.  The theme for this camp is “Sowing Generously,” from II Cor. 9:6-7.

This is a time for prayer for Japan.  We have been doing what we could in the earthquake/tsunami area.  I believe there is still much that we can do.  One of the most needed things is missionaries to come and live in that area.  They need to start churches.  I don’t know if the seed we have sown will grow or not, but I believe that we cannot handle the situation from 4 or 5 hours away by car.  We also have churches here that need our attention.  The one church in Sendai can do little.  There is no preacher and little leadership.  We need people who will give their lives to Christ, not for a few years, but to spend their lives working in that area.  There are some who are thinking about it, but it will take a lot of missionaries.  Of course, this is true of all of Japan.  I still believe that Japan will be a leader in the world and it needs Christians.  Very few churches are evangelizing.  Most are just “pasturing.”  Of course, evangelism is very difficult. but it is the only way the church will grow.  It takes work, hard work, and a love for God.  It also takes determination, and a strong commitment to God and to the church.

In the Tomobe church, we have two young men who want to be preachers.  Yasuki Nishimura is in his thirties, married to a Christian lady, and is thinking about going to the preachers’ school here.  Tooru Hirosawa is graduating from high school in March.  He hopes to go to Oklahoma Christian in June to study English more and then become a student in September.  If there is anyone who can help these young men by supporting them while in school, it would be greatly appreciated.  Please contact me and I will give more information.  Both are dedicated Christians and have been faithful since they were young.  Both have Christian mothers.  Neither of their fathers are Christians.  Please pray for them as they will have a hard way to go.

Jean and I appreciate your help to us over the past 36 years.  We plan to stay as long as God wants us here.  We also need your help as the financial situation is not getting better.  When we stepped off the ship 36 years ago, we got 301 yen per dollar.  It is now down to 76 yen per dollar.  We hesitate to ask for more help because we know that many are struggling in the U.S., too.  God will always provide.

Serving Him in Japan,

Marlin and Jean Ray

These are pictures of Ishinomaki taken November 6, 2011.