2018 - April/May Update

Dear Beloved in Christ and Partner in the Gospel,

How are you doing? Sorry it’s been a while since our last update, but our hearts are filled with gladness to celebrate with you much joyful news!  

Being commissioned as a new small church

For many months we have been praying about hosting a church group in our home, a natural step forward in our team’s vision for planting a small-church network. Though this seemed to be God’s leading, we also had to take some blind steps of faith in trusting that this was God’s will.  We tentatively made plans with our teammates Kevin and Michiyo to start a group together, but tried to trust that God would bring just the right people committed to fellowship and study together.   

At the same time, we were also enjoying walking through life with our friend ‘Larry’ (whom we’ve shared about in a previous update).  He showed real interest and growth as we studied weekly from the book of Genesis together.  On Good Friday we took a detour from our regular study to watch The Jesus Film.  We did this especially so Larry would have an idea of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection before we celebrated Easter Sunday.  It was late in the evening when the Jesus Film finished, and no one had much energy for discussion before going home that night.  Two days later, Larry came for the Easter Celebration where we enjoyed teaching, prayer and communion.  As the facilitator noted that those who don't yet follow Christ should not partake, our teammate Michiyo checked with Larry to make sure he understood the reasons. Larry looked at Michiyo and said, “Yes, I understand.  And I believe!”  Larry proceeded to take his first communion as a follower of Christ!  He shared later that he chose to believe as he watched Jesus hang on the cross, saying, “Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do!” Since then, Larry has continued to faithfully join our group as we study the Bible together.  

"Larry's" first communion!

This step in Larry’s walk with the Lord has also given great peace and confirmation that, yes, the Lord has called us to become a small-church group together!  At the beginning of May we were ‘sent out’ with a time of prayer by the Nakazawa’s church group and have been holding weekly worship meetings in our home since then.  All glory to God!

Thank you for walking beside us in this journey of life and ministry!  More than ever, we are grateful for your partnership and prayers.

-John, Jo Beth & Brooke Lee

Recent Events & Prayer 

By God’s grace, we have begun meeting as a small-church in our home.  Right now we are a community of six regular members with occasional visitors.  Please pray for God’s protection and blessing over our little group, and prayer that He will bring others in His time. 

Please pray for the Outreach Dinner on June 13th!  Once a month, our team hosts a dinner where we invite friends to connect with our church community.  The next one is coming up soon.  Please pray that we would be bold to invite those God is planning to bring!

Both Jo Beth and Baby #2 have made it safely to the 3rdtrimester!  Please continue to lift up our family in prayer as we prepare to welcome a new family member at the end of the summer. As the baby quickly grows, Jo Beth’s energy level is quickly diminishing.  Please also pray for wisdom we adjust our pace accordingly

We are still going to language class 2-3 times weekly.  Please pray for focus and commitment to continue learning even as we phase out of our designated language-learning season.  By God's empowerment, John was able to deliver his first short sermon in Japanese two weeks ago.  We thank God for the progress we've made and plan to continue our studies at a lighter class load indefinitely.

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more information at Jo-John.com