Our God, Eager to Save

Posted January 10, 2010

Tomohisa had reached a coveted status in Japan’s vertically-ordered society: medical doctor. Along with the status came wealth, which he used to buy the affection of women…and lots of booze. His selfishness blinded... [Read More]

The Humbled Tsunami

Posted December 2, 2011

When the warning sirens went off, residents in a south Sendai neighborhood fled to the local school. Together with panicked children still in class they climbed to the rooftop. Some 600 altogether... [Read More]

Japanese Get "Bach" Hope

Posted September 21, 2011

Who would have thought Bach would be involved in 21st century mission work in Japan? I have frequently read with interest of the strong connection between classical music (particularly J.S. Bach) and Japanese interest... [Read More]

Tsunami Ground Zero

Posted April 7, 2011

I still haven't returned from tsunami ground zero. That is to say, although I've been back several days already, the reality of the scene is still with me. The incredible amounts of mud in once beautiful homes... [Read More]

"Nice Try, Kevin" File

Posted February 9, 2011

This one goes into the "Nice try, Kevin" file. I just thought it was a nice-looking bunch of flowers in the storefront and, on the spur of the moment, decided Kaori deserved to enjoy them. Chrysanthemums, however, are... [Read More]

The Gulliver Complex

Posted November 9, 2007

I'm a giant again. Well, not really. But it sure feels like it again since returning from the States. The first sign was bumping my head in the shuttle bus from the airport. By habit, I normally duck my head through any... [Read More]

Foreigners Don't Get the Point

Posted January 31, 2010

I'm standing in line at a drugstore with other shoppers. The woman in front of me has just pulled out a business card file. Hurriedly she flips through at least a hundred or more cards searching for the right one. It's a... [Read More]

More Powerful than Bombs

Posted July 5, 2008

Fuchida grew up loving his native Japan and hating the United States, which treated Asian immigrants harshly in the first half of the twentieth century. Fuchida attended a military academy, joined Japan's... [Read More]

Ready?

Posted September 14, 2010

I'd been putting it off. Although I knew it was important, taking inventory of our earthquake and disaster gear just wasn't getting done. Japan rests along the "ring of fire" in the Pacific ocean, a stretch of area that is... [Read More]

150 Years Later

Posted March 17, 2009

This spring marks the 150th anniversary of Protestant Christianity in Japan. The first protestant missionaries set foot in the port of Yokohama back in 1859. Now they were real church planters -- overcoming all... [Read More]

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I for Japan. Japan for the World. The World for Christ. And All for the Glory of God.

— Kanzo Uchimura, Japanese Evangelist

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Rambling Notes from Japan

Here are some blog posts that we hope will make you feel a part of things, and help you understand how to pray better for us and Japan. Please see our external blog in Blogger, if this page does not display correctly.

Seasons of a Church Planter

The cherry blossoms are long gone. Scorching temperatures came in May. And now June begins the rainy season in Japan. Rain poncho and umbrella sales are booming. Seasons change. Even in the life of a church planter. 

Although there's still much finishing work to do at Denen Grace Chapel, we've started to look toward to our next church planting work in the area. It won't be easy. But we're praying as a couple. We're communicating vision to Denen church members. We're trusting our Season Changer's guidance and provision. Would you pray with us, too, for the changes ahead?Even as seasons change for us in church work, sometimes we get a slice of several "seasons of church planting" at once (that happens in weather, too). Here's a snapshot of four seasons in the last few months.


PRAYING

How long and hard we've prayed and agonized over our church plant, Denen Grace Chapel! Yet Japanese Christians have prayed and agonized much longer and harder! I was reminded of this at our "Teamwork Meeting" in northern Japan. That's a gathering of our church association pastors and missionaries.

I was challenged anew by our early morning prayer time together. We prayed for Japan. I sat between a pastor weeping and another prostrate on the floor. For hundreds of years, in spite of the sweat of many workers and the blood of many marytrs, the Japanese have only responded in small numbers to the gospel. But we pray and wait. God is working under the surface.

SOWING

The gospel plant grows best in native soil. So, over the years we've tried to incorporate Japanese culture into our church activities (while being careful to not compromise the gospel message). In this photo, our group of ladies are practicing the art of Japanese writing using Scripture verses. (see photos)

For many in this group, it's their first interaction with the Bible! Toward the end of class, our church member (standing in photo) shared a familiar Japanese rhyme used in writing exercises. Few Japanese know that it was created by the underground church (see website) during the martyrdom of the 17th century. The last letters of each line form the hidden acrostic: "Jesus died for me." That discovery brought some startled response from the ladies! Keep praying!


GROWING

Recently while preaching at my wife's home church in Yamagata, I was struck by this photo on display there. It shows a tiny group of early church members (including my circled in-laws) surrounding the planting missionary, Joe Meeko. Fifty years later this church has multiplied many times over. It's won to Christ, discipled and sent out many, some even to foreign mission fields! And my life story intersects here, too. Without that missionary's evangelistic work, I might not be married to a Chrisitian woman named Kaori!

Mr. Meeko's faith and dedication was huge, but ultimately it was the work of God that brought my Yamagata family to Christ. I pray Denen Grace Chapel will be the same kind of dynamic, multiplying church here in Kawasaki in the years to come. If God chooses bring much fruit from this work, it won't be because of my ability. Make no mistake: "God gives the growth." (1 Cor 3:6)


REJOICING

Recently on Easter Sunday 2014, I did again what I sometimes do in church. I got out of my front seat and stood in the back. The view from the back is special. Seeing new Christians standing together and worshipping God draws me into deeper worship and thanks, too.

When the week of church planting has been hard, when setbacks seem to outnumber forward motion, when the cultural stress builds up, I like to remind myself of why I'm here. So I go to the back on a Sunday and take a good look.  And God tells me, "Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord [Kevin], because you know that your labor is not in vain." (1 Cor 15:58)



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We serve with WorldVenture, an evangelical faith mission. Our sending/home church is Cornerstone Church of Lansing, Illinois.
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