February 2014 - Update

Jo Beth enjoying Tokyo's record-breaking snowfall!
Dear Family & Friends,

During February, our first full month in Japan, we experienced some of the deepest snowfalls Tokyo has seen for several decades!  To be honest, it felt kind of homey (though nowhere near as cold as Iowa!).  We were so glad for the opportunity to show the love of Christ and get to know our neighbors, as everyone went out to shovel the sidewalks and streets with every type of tool imaginable (we personally repurposed a garden shovel, dustpan and a Weber grill lid).  The stores were sold out of snow shovels by the time we got there!

Jo Beth & Yuri-san
Our time so far has been rich with opportunities for learning, ministry and networking.  In addition to praying regularly for Tokyo, language learning, conferences, and regular team meetings, we’ve also taken the opportunity to reconnect with one of my (Jo Beth’s) good Japanese friends from my college-days.  Yuri was one of the friends who reached out and befriended me when I had just moved away from home for the first time.  Now, we have the blessing of being here to hold out the love of Christ and share life together during a tough time of transition for her.  Please pray that her heart might be drawn to see her need for our precious Savior!  Please don’t discount how God might use you through prayer!

John, Rob & Shige at an EFCJ Regional Conference
On a broader ministry level, John has had the chance to join the men on our team for some meetings with the EFCJ (Evangelical Free Church of Japan).  They were asked to present our team’s vision and goals—this was slightly nerve-wracking, as the recent history between the EFCJ and ReachGlobal holds some brokenness and tension.  Though the hot-seat began to sizzle at times, the feedback we received was mostly optimistic and even tinged, dare I say, with excitement!  We are praying for clear communication and understanding between organizations, and listening for the Lord’s leading if this should lead to partnership in ministry.

Jo Beth's Birthday Extravaganza!
We are feeling more settled and at-home here all the time, though often we ache for our dear friends and family at home.  It’s great to see God opening doors for ministry and we are so glad to be His ‘jars of clay’ among this dear people group.  Let the peoples praise Him!
With much love,

John & Jo Beth

Prayer:  Our visas have gone through!  Praise God, we are all set and were able to get residency cards and phones.

Please pray for Yuri and all those who don’t yet know our dear Lord—that He will draw them to Himself.  Pray also for discernment for our team as we seek out ministry partners for church planting. 

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