Hysten Rpts: Oct-Nov ’12

Dear Family,

We pray that this newsletter reaches you enjoying the blessings of the Lord.

Mission Update:

With the arrival of Fall, we are continuing our endeavors to advance the cause of Christ here in Japan.  The months of October and November proved good and productive for us. We concentrated our efforts on doing what we could to strengthen the spiritual well-being of the Nakada congregation—particularly in our evangelistic outreach efforts to convert new souls to Christ.


33AAs Jesus devoted much of his time to maturing his disciples to look to the fields for harvest, my fellow minister, Brother Maeda and I decided to make this an additional matter of emphasis during October and November.   We spent more than our usual amount of time conducting one-on-one studies with members of the congregation previously won to Christ.  We want to better equip them for service.  Since I preach on average of two to three times a month, I placed more emphasis on “discipleship.”  In the past my primary method of presentation has been without the use of visual aids.  However, I have begun preaching more with the aid of Power Point, to supplement my sermon messages and teaching presentations.   This requires of course more of a major investment in time and preparation; I am hopeful those listening and viewing, will gain more from my sermons by way of understanding and retention.  I am optimistic the added effort will pay dividends toward advancing God’s Kingdom in the future.  Since April, I have been teaching Christian fundamentals.  I hope to develop the kind of mindset in our members that provides not only an atmosphere that engenders an eagerness to learn, but also (through the use of Power Point) tweaks their visual senses.  With the opportunity for “repetition” to take place through this means of presenting, we are hopeful our more seasoned Christians will be less shy and more willing, to use their knowledge and verbal skills on behalf of our new converts and the community at large.

Our studies during October and November ranged from rudimentary essentials to Christian apologetics.  Thankfully, we have been blessed to have three to four readers from our Shizuoka English Bible Classes (SEBC) participate in our worship services each week.  It is my hope that preaching and teaching basic Christian fundamentals with these students worshipping with us will be an added motivation for them to be converted to Christ. I have also just recently begun teaching a new group Bible study class on the book of Acts (see above). I am utilizing the Visual International and Visual Entertainment, Inc., video on the Book of Acts that has been “dubbed” in Japanese.  I am grateful to God that the class has been well attended.  Our discussions have gone very well.

33BIn addition to performing our normal duties and tasks, we were blessed In October to participate in this year’s annual Shizuoka-Area Seminar/Retreat.  The theme this year was “Hope in Christ.” The guest speaker for this year’s retreat was our good friend and fellow-veteran missionary, Dwight Albright.  As you may recall in previous newsletters, I have often mentioned Dwight Albright and his partner in the Faith and life, his wife, Josephine.  For many years, they have endeared themselves to the nation of Japan and the nation of Japan to them.  Our relationship with Brother and Sister Albright began with my initial work in Mito, Japan.   In the early stages of our ministry the Albrights were in Mito for a substantial period of time and greatly influenced us.  Through their mentoring, they helped teach and prepare us for the rigors of ministry and life as missionaries in Japan.  They also conducted pre-marital counseling for Etsuko and me.  Needless to say, we are very indebted to the Albrights and it is always a pleasure to see and visit with them again.  Prior to the retreat, the Albrights stayed with us.  Brother Albright as always, presented an encouraging and gracious message to the Nakada congregation.   His message was on Deuteronomy 16:13 and was entitled: ‘The God Who Answers.’  We were blessed by the Albright’s visit and stay with us.


33CIn November we continued our efforts to strengthen the church here; especially, the new converts recently won to the Lord (please see details in our previous Newsletter #32).  We are doing our best to advance others, some of which we believe are close to being added to the Kingdom.

We remain active in our evangelism efforts to reach out to our SEBC readers as well as those with whom we continue to interact in other ways.  One such area of outreach in November involved me teaching a class at Eiwa Christian Girl’s High School.  In years past, I have been asked on different occasions to teach a class or two, as well as speak to the student-body. EiwaHigh School is located in the central-area of ShizuokaCity.  My fellow coworker in the faith, Fumio Maeda (Preacher for the Nakada Congregation) teaches Bible History at Eiwa.  The majority of the student population (approximately 600 students) at Eiwa have no religious affiliation whatsoever; however since this private institution was started by Christians, the school still has Bible classes and chapel.  Additionally, students can earn extra credit for attending local church services.  In connecting with EiwaHigh School we are certainly hopeful that students will come to know the Lord through our interaction with them.

In the past many students have participated in our Let’s Start Talking (LST) and SEBC classes.  In fact, one of our first converts at the Nakada congregation, Anna Ishikawa was brought to the Lord while she was a student at EiwaHigh School.  While a student Anna visited the Nakada congregation.  In time we were able to study and work with her. God joined our efforts and we were successful in bringing Anna to the Lord.  We are hopeful others will soon follow.  This year I taught a class at Eiwa on the history and meaning of the song, “Amazing Grace”.  In Japan, the song “Amazing Grace” is very popular.  I have often heard this song played for car commercials, TV-dramas and even sung at weddings.  Unfortunately, most in Japan see “Amazing Grace” only as just a beautiful song.  Very few understand the deep meaning of the words or the need of God’s grace.  Knowing the popularity of the song, I was able to use it as an entrée to teach about the grace of God and how one can become a continuing recipient of his abundance grace on a never ending basis.

Realizing this will probably be the last newsletter you will receive from us before the end 2012, Etsuko and I along with each of our children, want to wish each of you and yours, the very best of everything throughout the Holiday Season and New Year to come.  May God Bless you for all of your prayers and support in our behalf.  We are truly grateful to God and you for your partnership in advancing the cause and Gospel of our Lord, throughout the nation of Japan.

Warm Regards and Love,

Ken and Etsuko Hysten