Thank you so much for your patience in waiting on my letter to you all. Midterms and the many reports that followed finally finished. But all in all this has been an exciting time for me here at the school.
My involvement in the translation ministry has been going strong. I have been given the opportunity to translate for devotions, messages, and have been able to continue in translating the men's discipleship every week. I was given the opportunity recently to share my testimony in Japanese in several churches that I have been sent to serve at since I wrote last. God has really blessed those times and it has been a great encouragement. I will be able to share my testimony in Japanese again next week at the youth event after church, so please pray for this as well. Also, last sunday, I was given the opportunity to teach the youth bible study. Usually it is given in English and translated into Japanese. But on the that day there was no one to translate, so I ended up translating myself into Japanese. I got a little tongue tied sometimes, but it was a lot of fun ^_^. Tonight I have the opportunity to translate again. But tonight will be the first time that I will be translating a message from Japanese to English, so I am really excited about it. But please continue to pray for my Japanese abilities, and also for my heart during translation. There have been a lot of blessed times during translation by the grace of God, but there has also been a lot of discouraging times that I have crashed and burned. Mostly they have been times when my flesh got in the way. Maybe 3 weeks ago I was given the opportunity to translate a message for the evening service. I prepared for many hours and thought that I had the material down, but looking back on it, it was really a work of my flesh, me trying to do things on my own. Little did I know that God would use it to teach me about my utter need of Him in all I do. I remember when I finally got up there, it was like all the Japanese was sucked out of my head. God gave me grace in letting me communicate a bare minimum of the message, but it was a horrible time. After I was done, I headed out to some backstreet and just cried. But the reason God tears us down sometimes is to rebuild us again with Him at the center. The Spirit ministered to me a lot during that time about humility, reminding me again that the gifts that God has given me are for His glory and not my own. God continues to teach me a lot about humility in translation, and I know that He still has a long way to take me. Like it says in Philippians 3:3 we are those who "worship by the spirit of God, who glory in Jesus Christ, and who put no confidence in the flesh..." But I am very excited for what lies ahead and have been blessed by being able to be used in this way so far. So again, please pray for my speaking abilities, that I man translate the words of God humbly, by His power, for the Japanese people here at CC Ginowan.
Also, there has been interesting developments in the children's outreach on Saturday's. The Kindergarten class has been blessed with students every week, however there has only been one regular student in the elementary outreach class, and that is the pastor's son. At first, this was a bit frustrating to me, but again, God was working in my heart to submit to what He wants to do. I started shifting the class over whenever it was just him from an English class to a Japanese class. He is at around the same level in Japanese as the kids I usually teach are in English, so it is really easy to shift it back and forth depending on who comes. And it has been a really great time. It is a lot of fun to teach him the Japanese and be able to support the Pastor of this church and his family in this way. We will keep praying and being patient on the Lord to bless us with other students, but until that time comes, we keep building up our little brother in this way.
Like I said, the end of the semester is only four weeks away, and I have begun to make plans for ministry during the winter break. I felt lead to return to Tokyo during the winter break to continue serving in the Tohoku disaster area and to serve in Tokyo Horizon Chapel as much as I can. I have been in contact with Pastor Rich, the new pastor of the English fellowship there as well as Pastor Watanabe and Pastor Jeremiah who is making preparations for his move to Kagoshima and the church planting he has been lead to do there. They are thinking and praying about how I can serve in the Church. It is very exciting to me. Another exciting door that has opened up for my time there is opportunity to spend time with my girlfriend Tomoko's co-workers. The company she works with is a tight knit office that do a lot of activities together and though they have not met me yet, I have already been invited to several activities. Everyone in the office knows that she is a christian and that I am a missionary, but praise God that they have been very accepting and welcoming. They have even invited us both to one of the co-workers weddings. Please pray for us both for the time we spend with them, that we would be lead by God in all these things.
But, there has been a new development in the college here. A new Calvary Chapel Bible College is starting up in Tokyo, a sister to this one. They have decided to make new arrangements for study this coming semester. The plan now is the half of the semester is going to be taught at the Tokyo campus and half here in the Okinawa campus. Since I am in going to be in the Tokyo during the time that the semester begins, I will be going straight from Machida to the Tokyo Campus in Fuchu. Please be praying for me in this new location, that God would continue to grow me and work through me in this new area. There are many exciting aspect to this new Campus, including being involved in a huge English School For Kids there which is very exciting for me.
I pray that you are all doing well and seeing the work God is doing in your lives daily. I thank you always for lifting my needs up in prayer.
Because He lives,