Sunday, January 21, 2018

2017: Year in Review

     Well, it is hard to believe, but we have been here living in Japan for about nine months now. April 2018 will mark our one year anniversary for this term! For me this will be coming up on year two for total Japan experience while for my wife it will be year eight! Looking back on the past year has brought back a lot of good memories. This was technically our first year as parents as well as a missionary family living in Japan. What has been happening over the last year?
     Starting last January as a family we started to travel together with our 3 month old baby (at that time) to complete our deputation. We did not know how long we would be raising support, but we were at that time at about 85% of our support needed to come back to Japan. As we continued to pray about when we were to go back to Japan, the end of April kept coming up. We were both convinced from God that we were to go back April 28th, 2017, so we started to tell churches that as we continued to raise support. After a lot of time spent praying, calling, and emailing we scheduled new meetings throughout Georgia as well as other areas for January, February, March, and April. We did not know what would happen, but it was exciting as more churches and individual supporters decided to be a part of reaching Japan. Thank you again for being faithful to the Lord, and making it possible for us to be here!
     Amazingly, coming back to Japan April 28th, 2017 was certainly a change for us as we had been deputation-minded since we left in June 2015. We took some time to adjust from the jet-lag then went into ministry immediately. My wife has been primarily taking care of our daughter, but has also spent a lot of time doing ministry with young mothers as well as meeting with many Japanese women. She has a really amazing God-given ability to connect with strangers that has proven to be encouraging to this body of believers in Japan. She has been relentlessly doing the work of the missionary while balancing her time with God and our daughter. She is a huge blessing. Our baby has been growing up quickly going from crawling to walking to talking! We have been careful to be balanced with our time so as to not burn out with the long-term work in mind. My time in Japan has been primarily spent in language classes, helping people in our church, discipling, and attempting to evangelize people whom I often do not share a common-language with! If I cannot yet communicate well with them, then perhaps a gospel tract can!
     Since coming back I have been convicted to make sure every person that I come across in an interaction gets a gospel tract no matter what. I have also made a Japanese website  to help in this way. The '10-40' window has the least amount of Christians anywhere on the planet. If Japan truly has only a ½ percent born-again Christian population , then gospel tracts are a must in daily interactions. Also in recent months I have been thinking about the Chinese, Vietnamese, Koreans, and other English speakers here in Tokyo. This has led me to order some tracts for each of those respective groups as well. We do not know how long we will be alive, nor how long our work will be allowed here in Japan, so we must be diligent with every chance that we get. With this in mind we have given out over 30,000 tracts in the last 9 months, which is about 28 boxes of tracts shipped from the USA! Even with this number in mind we must realize that it does not even begin to reach the estimated 38 million people that live in and around Tokyo, nor the other millions who visit each month.

     Overall, it has been good time in our world's present situation to be back in Japan. We sense that lives are being impacted for Christ. I have now easily put in enough time with Japanese to do what it takes for an English speaker to fully learn Spanish. (500+hours) Just to give some perspective, I now will need to put in another 1700+ hours of study! Your prayers are much appreciated! We certainly could not do a lot of this work without your prayers. We pray for more years to come to continue ministry in this land. God bless.

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