2016 - December Update

Dear Family, Friends, and Partners in the Gospel,

Merry Christmas!

We are celebrating with you from the other side of the ocean, in awe of God’s grace and love given freely through the birth of dear Baby Jesus.  Some of our teammates gave us a precious little Nativity playset for Brooke; when you press the button on top, it plays the tune “Away in a Manger.”  More than just another toy, we have enjoyed playacting the story of Jesus’ birth to her again and again.  It’s easy to overlook these moments feeling “that was sweet but we’re just trying to get through the day,” but we often need reminding of the privilege God has given us to share and live the gospel to one another within our family.  We hope you all will treasure with us the coming of Immanuel by celebrating the good news with your families this Christmas!

Enjoying the fruits of winter!

Since our return to Japan in October, we have been working toward finding an apartment in Waseda, Tokyo to be nearer to language school and our team’s growing church planting activities in the area.  The search has been slow and sometimes discouraging, but we have received from the Lord a much-needed reminder that He has brought us here for His purposes and will accomplish them in His timing.  In the midst of the waiting, we’ve been asking for faith that trusts in who He is and not in the ways we can try to control the situation around us—this is not an attitude we can take for granted, so would you pray with us in this daily battle for faith?

Our team’s work in ministry is moving forward as we have begun holding worship services in the Waseda neighborhood.  Church-planting has always been our goal, and it is exciting to watch the Lord lead us forward, together.  As a team, we’ve decided to explore a house-church model to see if it might be an effective way to minister in such a big city as Tokyo where the high cost of renting large meeting spaces may become an obstacle to multiplying gospel-ministries.

So, every two weeks we’ve been meeting, just our team so far, in the home of our teammates, the Nakazawas. At these meetings we worship the Lord in song, pray for one another, study the Bible, spur one another on toward living and sharing the gospel, and share a meal together.  If God leads us to continue with this model, we would eventually break into several groups spread across different homes, reaching out in our neighborhoods and walking with Christians and not-yet Christians in knowing Jesus more.  Occasionally, these small groups would come together on a less frequent regular basis for a large worship celebration.

Gathering for worship in Waseda, Tokyo

As for our family, we have been richly blessed by these worship services so far.  The model is engaging and hopeful, but, in the end, it’s about knowing Jesus, sharing His gospel, and walking in His plans to glorify Himself in Tokyo. Please pray for our team as we continue exploring possibilities for church-planting.  May Jesus always be at the center of our hearts and motives, and may we have ears to hear the will of God together.

Thank you for your loving prayers and support!  We are so encouraged by you, astounded by God’s grace through you and praying you will have a Christ-full Christmas!

In Him, John, Jo Beth & Brooke

Prayer Needs

  • Our visas came through!  This enables us to stay in Japan for another three years as well as commit to contracts like rental agreements.  Praise God with us!
  • We have submitted an application for an apartment only 10 minutes from the Nakazawas (our teammates)!  May the Lord lead us to the place He is calling us.Pray for growing faith in the midst of searching for an apartment in the Waseda area.
  • John has had the privilege to of reconnecting with some of the young men he has been working with during the last term.  Please pray for Taku, one of these dear brothers, who has recently lost his job and experienced some trauma from the stressful work environment.  Taku has expressed a desire to be in full-time ministry someday; pray with us that God will lead him to His next step, according to His will.
  • Praise God for godly council and wisdom in discerning plans for childcare when we begin language school.  We have decided to not pursue childcare and attempt taking turns caring for Brooke while attending language school daily.
  • Please continue to pray for our team as we discern together God's will for His work in Waseda.  Please lift up our discussions as our team continues to reach out in the neighborhood.  

Sick Together: Sweetness in Suffering
We all got a stomach bug, it was rough!

Another day in Japan: Mascots and baby carriers everywhere 

prayYamanote Facebook Group

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