1Peter 5:5 …” be clothed with humility.” Flushed red cheeks of embarrassment are a weekly, if not daily, accessory for someone living in another culture and learning a new language. No matter how capable a man may be in his birth country, once he steps into the realm of another, he is reduced to infancy. Our family celebrated 2 years of God’s goodness in our lives in Japan. We feel like there are many things we can rejoice in, but there are still a great many that puzzle and humiliate us. The Lord has been teaching us to turn that humiliation into an avenue of humility. It’s not necessarily natural for us to react in a spiritual manner when we miss a school event for our kids because we struggle to read the newsletter. It’s not second nature to rise above rude comments about why we are even here if we aren’t completely fluent in the language. The temptation to get frustrated at the culture and the language creeps in every now and then. But God is always interested in our hearts, above all else. He wants to use the humiliation we experience, and He invites us to humble ourselves through it. Your prayers are being used by the Holy Spirit in our hearts to turn the humiliation into humility.
Our summer has been off to a busy start! We began June with an island-wide pastors’/missionary fellowship, hosted at Suzuran. It is always a tremendous blessing to see these men and women of God who serve Him so faithfully. Later in June, we enjoyed a great Father’s Day outreach at a local park. Suzuran is a diverse church, with a good mix of Japanese and foreigners. We loved seeing the church engage as a body, regardless of birthplace. Four visitors attended this event as well as many families in the church. We are also rejoicing that one lady who has been visiting the church since Easter recently trusted Christ.
The Lord has blessed us with a wonderful new ministry opportunity that takes place at the church during a children’s English hour which is held on the second floor. We meet with parents who are waiting for their children’s class to begin or end, and we engage them in conversation as a bridge to invite them to the church. Many Japanese view Christianity as a cult and are wary of religious groups. Our mission during this time is to decrease their level of caution with regard to Christianity and to increase their level of curiosity toward the gospel. We began in April and have seen good interest so far. Some of the moms invited Heather and our two youngest over for lunch and play date in July, which went very well. Please pray with us that these families will visit the church soon. This ministry also provided a good opportunity for us to work with several of the church members who take turns coming to help us host.
July’s main highlights were the Boys’ Camp and Girls’ Camp. The men and boys planned an overnight campout and canoe trip. The special devotional teaching was on giving your testimony. We were each challenged to prepare a 5-minute testimony to give before the church. This is such an important part of being a Christian witness! The girl’s event was for teen girls up through university age. They met for lunch, games, a devotion, and craft time. The Lord blessed both events, and we trust He will use them both to further His kingdom. Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support for our family as we serve in Japan.