Japan Newsletter Nov 17, 2009

Dear Friends,
I apologies for my tardiness in writing this letter. My return to this place has been full of blessing, encouragement, new developements, difficulties, battling, failure, and countless diplays of God's love towards me. And in the midst of all that has been happening, putting pen to paper or fingures to keyboard has been an issue. To be truthful to you I am feeling a bit road weary. Like I am covered with traveling dirt. But I thank you for your time, that you care enough to spend it on reading this. So I will try my best to relate to you my experiences as clearly as I possibley can.

Firstly, the gospel cafe is being blessed. I don't remember how much I told you about it. But it is a small cafe not far from here that was started by members of this church. As the name suggests, the purpose of the cafe is to be a point of outreach, serving people, talking with people, etc. There are alot of lonely people in Japan, looking for somewhere safe to go and kind people offering good company. I think that is what they find at the cafe. My time there has always been amazing, but even more so lately. It seems like not a day goes by when I serve there that I don't have a two to three hour conversation with someone. Naturally, this is something I crave when I am here. Just being able to talk and love on the people God has made so dear to me. Also, Akari (who runs the cafe with her husband), has made alot of good friendships with the owners of shops close to us. And she dicovered that most of the shops needed one kind of help or another but could not afford it. So lately, along with volunteering at the cafe, I have been working shoulder to shoulder with these local shop owners, offering them whatever service I can offer for free. It has been an amazing time for me and spending time with them has been wonderful. But also, there are needs at the cafe. Even though ministry is strong, the buisness side of the cafe isn't going so well. Please pray that God will provide what we need. It is going to be the only way we we will make it.

The Shine Kids Program that I run in Setagaya has been blessed as well. I thought that maybe their would be difficulties in restarting the classes, but their were none. Everyone who came in the first place returned and then even more came. So many that we are seeking better ways of running the classes so that we can best teach the kids and not loose them in the crowd. But it is really a great problem to have. And the relationships are being blessed as well. There is a closeness and a trust that just wasn't there before. And it was made very evident to me when we invited the children and their families to a church festival we had last Saturday. We had invited them to such things before, however the response was minimal. But on Saturday, six of my children came, along with their mothers, their fathers (whom I had never met before), and their brothers and sisters. The church is becoming a place of love and safety to them, and I and the church family, their family. Though their is a long way to go and many obstacles in the way, God is leading in the right direction, gently. Unfortunately, I really don't feel the same way about Machida's shine kids. But maybe it's a personal thing. I don't know, it just seems like in Setagaya, the relationships where built up between me and the families, and that it where it started from. In Machida, these where all people Jeremiah knew through his children's schooling, and I came in long after. So it seems like I am always playing catch up, and it is difficult. Pray for me in this. With Jeremiah leaving so soon, and me taking over the ministry in his place, I need God's help greatly...

...Recently God has been speaking to me alot. I don't know why, but we have been a lot closer lately, I have been able to hear His voice more clearly and He has been speaking to me alot. About the right now, but also he has been speaking to me alot about my future. No dates or anything, but He has been talking to me about what's coming down the line. Truthfully, I don't think I have ever experienced this kind of thing before. He has spoken to me alot about what I should do, but He only revealed to me a little at a time. Maybe because that was all I could handle. And then to have so much revealed to me... It was amazing and wonderous and I am still in awe of what He has done... but... I am scared to death. Not so much because He is speaking to me, but because of what He wants me to become. And in fact, what I struggled with was as to why He revealed it to me now, at this time. I am still not exactly sure, but I believe it's because He wants me to know that I still have a long way to go before I am a man that is ready for what He has for me. That I should begin to persue Him now with fervor that He would grow me into something more.

I have to go. I am sorry if this has been a bit unclear. But I am still a bit confused. Please pray for me. I love you. I miss you.