Japan Newsletter June 26, 2012

Hello friends, Good to be writing you all again. This month has been going by very quickly as the clock is counting down to my wedding day on July 7th ^_^. There is still much to do and some potholes in the road along the way, but over all, many blessings have been coming of all of it. All the stress and difficulty is being used by God to bring Tomoko and I together and I praise God for it. Please keep us in your prayers as we are less than two weeks away from being husband and wife ^_^! Another huge blessing this month was the chance to teach the Word both in Machida and in Fuchu. Zach Ruiz, the director of the college, returned home to America with his family for some much deserved R and R. During the time he was gone he gave me the opportunity to teach at the campus during the evening services that were held there. We were going through the end of 1 Timothy, talking about contentment and taking hold of eternal life in our life of ministry. Honestly, God spoke to me a lot through the sections that he asked me to give. I am just starting to learn what it means to have godly contentment in my life. I am learning how much my focus is key to it as well. I have always had the tendancy to have my eyes set on the here and now, on what is going on in my life, trials I might be having, mistakes, and disappointments. And honestly, thinking about these things all the time, I didn't have much contentment. I had a lot of unrestfulness in my heart. But I think God has been training my eyes recently. Helping me to focus on the things that are eternal. Teaching me to train my eyes on him and the eternal life that I have in him. If my hope lies in the temporary things, whether it be finances, or in my relationship with my future wife, or even in the "success" of my ministry; when any of these things fail, my hope is gone. But if my hope lies in the eternal God, and the eternal life that he has given me, my hope will be eternal as well. And no matter what the problems of difficulties that stand in my way now, I can still have hope, because my God eternal, and my reward is not here. The time teaching in 1 Timothy, the night services over at Fuchu, were great times and I praise God for his work there. Please pray that God would continue to develope my ability to preach in Japanese and in english, that I might continually correctly handle the Word of truth. Thank you all for praying for the preparations for Shine Kids. Things have been coming along in getting ready for the start of Shine Kids on July 10. God has been blessing me with many chance meetings. I have been running into a lot of people I know, parents from the shine kids class, I have been able to talk with them about the upcoming semester and they all have been showing great interest and were excited to hear that I was starting up the program again. Please keep lifting up the kids that will be attending the Shine Kids program. Pray that God would draw families to the ministry and that He would use the time for His Glory. God has been also blessing in the areas of helpers. A women from the military base who recently arrived in Japan is interested in helping out at the club as well as some others who have helped before. We are even praying about getting some of the bible college students involved, but this is all not sure yet. Please pray that God would lead us in these areas and that he would lead me as I lead this ministry. But I think the highlight of this month was the missions team from San Diego and the subsequent trip to the tohoku region. We were blessed to have a team from Pastor Rich's sending church, Calvary Chapel San Diego. They consisted of two families, fathers, mothers, and children, whom God had lead to come. I was able to help pastor Rich in guiding them in the first half of their visit in the Tohoku Region. It is very interesting that every time I go up to the Tohoku region, I am brought to a new area and a new way of ministry. Last time, I was up in the fukushima area, ministering to refugees of the nuclear disasters, and this time I was taken up to the Iwate prefecture, above fukushima, to minister in the fishing villages there. And the time there was awesome. While the women and children served in the Heart care division of CRASH that I mentioned in my last letter, the men, with me as their translator, served over at Samaritan's Purse. An unexpected blessing was to work with the Japanese Christians that were serving there. In our group, we had Japanese Christians from many areas of Japan. Their were some from okinawa, some from Osaka, some from Tokyo, all from different churches and denominations. But to hear them talk, I started to realize that similar things are happening in the churches in Japan. Many talked about the need for Japanese churches to step out from the church body and outreach and the movements that were happening in their churches to do so. Others spoke about members of their churches the were wanting to become missionaries to other countries, which has become a growing trend that I have seen even in my own church of Horizon. And all of them were speaking with such passion, just on fire for sharing the gospel. It was such a encouragmentment to me to see how God is building up his body here all over this country. Being able to hear words coming from the mouth of Japanese Christians that I have never heard before and to see passions for ministry grow. I recieved so much hope from that and look forward to what will happen in the future in Japan before the end comes. Continue to pray for revival. I feel it coming. Another huge blessing of the trip was to be able to work with the owners of the house were rebuilding on the trip. It was goog to eat with them, talk with them, and laugh with them a lot. I heard from a christian survivor recently that the ministry of Tohoku is changing, and that now is the time for encouragment and smiles in ministering to the people here. And I think that I agree. For some comfort is stil needed and many are still going through flashbacks, and to those we must be gentle and tender. But also, there are some that just want to get life started again and would be blessed by laughter and a hearty friendship. I think this was what happened on this last trip. We worked hard, shoulder to shoulder. We talked a lot, talking about where we had come from and our lives, were able to share some testimony, able to laugh, and over all, I know that God was using the time. You really never know what kind of ministry you are going to do when you go to the Tohoku region. Whether it is to be a listener, or a builder, or a encourager, or a comforter, or a clown, or a preacher, or a counselor. But you always know that God will bless it and give you what you need to do what He has for you. Please keep praying for the ministry to Tohoku and the christian brothers and sisters still working there. Thank you for reading and I look forward to writing you all next month, hopfully with some wedding pictures ^_^!! Because He lives, Alex