2019 Spring Update

Dear Beloved in Christ and Partner in the Gospel,

The year 2019 seems to be slipping past already!  I am in shock to find summer has already arrived, and glad for the chance to sit down and reflect on the past couple of months.  We’ve experienced many highs and lows, including a barrage of illnesses which have taken a hit on our family off and on since February.  Brooke has begun preschool, opening up a whole new world of community in our neighborhood, and our small church group continues to meet weekly in our home. 

The small church has already passed the one-year mile mark of meeting together!  The original hope for these groups was to be small and intimate, with room for deep relationships and rich discipleship opportunities.  The long-term idea is for these groups to continue to multiply as the Holy Spirit raises up new leaders.  We are excited and blessed to see God’s hand working in each member, and already bearing fruit for His kingdom as they begin to share the gospel with others!   

Ken's Farewell

Just last month, one of the young men in the group, Ken, announced a job change that would move him to a different city in Japan.  We were all saddened by this news, as he has become a dear brother!  Yet right around the same time, Ken shared with John his growing burden to reach out to others with the Gospel and possibly even start a Bible study!  So, a sad departure became a joyful one, as we prayed over Ken and blessed him to follow the Holy Spirit as He opens doors to spread the Gospel through his move to Nagoya.  

Anita (Left) and Michiyo (Right)

Also, in the past months, our Japanese teammate Michiyo has invested time and care into discipling another member of the group, a young lady named Anita.  Anita’s growing passion for Christ is contagious, and, with Michiyo’s help, she has begun a girls’ Bible study in order to reach out to her friends through God’s Word.  We love hearing their updates each week and watching her learn and grow through the process!  

Anita's Bible Study Group

Other church members are also growing, each at their own pace, and delighting us with their fellowship, walking together with God in our everyday lives.  As for us, we are honored to be a part of the group, and at the same time looking for opportunities each day to share the Gospel with the families God has placed in our own lives as well.  Thank you for your prayers as we strive together for the sake of Christ!

Recent Events & Prayer Requests

Family Life  
As mentioned above, Brooke has started Japanese preschool!  She comes home each day with a few new Japanese words added to her vocabulary. She seems to enjoy the structure of her daily life and time with other kids.  Exciting news! Brooke has also recently confessed her sin and need for Christ’s sacrifice!  Around Easter time a teammate told us she was able to clearly explain the Gospel in their small group and she also understands why we take communion.  Though she is young, we are trusting that God is working profoundly in her heart.  Please pray for her spiritual growth day after day.

Bonnie is also growing by leaps and bounds!  She is crawling fast, climbing, and standing.  She loves to be with family and is also starting to give others her sweet smiles and snuggles too!  

Team Life  
As the Nakazawas left on home-assignment for the summer, our team began a another long season of transition.  In August, Michiyo will be Stateside raising support. Then in October, Kevin, Adam, and our family will all be Stateside for various periods of time.  Also, we are looking forward to welcoming a new teammate in the near future, Sarah Roberts! While these transitions are for positive reasons, it is still challenging to think of so much time spent apart.  Please pray for unity for the team, encouragement for each team member, and health for ongoing ministries on the field.  

Celebrating Team Birthdays

Community Life
God is providing many opportunities to get to know families in our neighborhood.  He is pressing on our hearts for both humility in letting others help with our needs as immigrants, and also serving the people in the community as He reveals to us people in need.  In particular, please pray for our relationships with a couple of single mother friends, building relationships with dads from Brooke’s school and caring for a family whose son recently had emergency surgery to remove a tumor.

In His love,

John, Jo Beth, Brooke & Bonnie

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Find past updates, additional photos and more information at Jo-John.com