John & Jo in Japan - October Update

Dear Beloved in Christ and Partner in the Gospel,

After the end of a busy language school term, our family took a little time away this month to refresh and regroup.  We also celebrated Brooke's 2nd birthday!  We had a fun little toddler-party with some neighborhood friends.  Now we are back at it, hitting the books again and learning Japanese.

 
Coffee and Kanji

Sometimes in this stage of life it's tempting to feel like we should be doing more, or bigger, things—ministry events, etc.  However, we've battled against the want of busyness to focus our limited time on studies for this year.  This week I was reminded that even as we are faithful in the small things, God is always doing big things for the sake of His kingdom.

The other day I (Jo Beth) had a couple free hours in between appointments to study and had planned to spend them at a certain coffee shop.  Though I had been to this cafĂ© several times before, when I arrived, it seemed dark and crowded so I decided to find a different place to study.  I did a quick local search and found that there was another coffee shop just a few blocks away. 

I arrived at the unfamiliar coffee shop, ordered a drink and sat on a long bench near the window, enjoying the sunlight on a chilly day.  Soon after, an elderly Japanese woman sat down at the next table.  She asked where I was from and told me her daughter lives in England.  We had a nice conversation, and she generously gave me a dessert she had just ordered.  I was surprised and blessed by her kindness to me, a foreigner and a perfect stranger.  I felt I should tell her about Jesus, and did so in my plain, somewhat clumsy fashion in Japanese.  She politely listened but clearly said she followed the Japanese religions, and the conversation naturally shifted to other topics. 

Later after the woman left, I noticed she had left her hat behind.  She had told me she was going to a nearby mobile phone store next, to get her phone repaired…should I go after her?  It was a crowded neighborhood and I felt reluctant to use my remaining study time looking for her.  In the end, I found her very nearby and she got her hat back.  I was happy to see the situation resolved quickly and easily!

A while later, as I was getting ready to leave, a young woman sitting on my opposite side handed me something I had dropped and said, "Is this yours?"  I thanked her and took it.  She made direct eye contact, and her smile was warm and friendly.  Though she had been silent the whole time, I realized she had probably heard every word I had exchanged with the older woman…including the good news of Jesus birth and his love for people.  The young woman exited right after that, so I never got the chance to talk with her.  But my heart, I felt God's hand at work.  Could this whole, unusual situation have been for her—this young woman—to hear of Christ?  I'll likely never know the outcome on this side of Heaven, but I took the opportunity to pray for both women, young and old, and basked in God's greatness. 

Just wanted to share this snapshot of God at work in the lives of people in Tokyo.  Thank you for walking with us side by side for the sake of the Gospel!

-John, Jo Beth & Brooke Lee


 
Recent Events & Prayer Requests 
  • Last month we shared with you some of our current financial needs.  Thank you for lifting us up!  Though we still have needs, we have been greatly encouraged by your generous one-time gifts that have helped us break even these last couple months. Please give thanks with us and continue to pray.
     
  • We have both enrolled for another term of language school. Our lives continue to be a balancing act, wanting to study hard and not wanting miss ministry opportunities. Please pray for wisdom and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. 
     
  • Please lift up our team in unity and encouragement.  We continue to work through plans and pray over the idea of house-church multiplication in Tokyo.  These are exciting times in ministry, yet we are also vulnerable to attack at every corner!  Please pray for loving hearts toward one another and for our spiritual protection.
 
Celebrating Brooke's second birthday!

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 905 Birch St. 
Atlantic, IA 50022 

 
 John.Lee@efca.org
 JoBeth.Lee@efca.org

 
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