Merry Christmas! Things here have been a little crazy here with the Christmas season in full swing, but the blessings have been many and I look forward to the events yet to come this month.
I thank you all very much for praying for the Shine Kids Christmas party. 20 Kids were able to come to the event this year. At first, I had been a little worried, because the day of the event came and two of my helpers called in sick. But God blessed the time and even with only three people to run the event, everything went very well. We played games, did crafts, sang carols, decorated cupcakes, and read the christmas story. The kids had a really good time. Even with the reading of the christmas story, they were very curious and interactive when the story was told. So praise God for the natural curiosity of children. But even though kids had a good time, I could still tell some of the moms were uncomfortable with the christmas story being read. So please continue to pray for softening of hearts in the ministry and also for wisdom in how best to minister and share with the families that come to shine kids in the future. We are praying about offering one on one classes next year and also English classes for the mothers. We are still praying about the timing of all this. My hope and prayer is that we will be able to continue, through the grace of God, to expand this ministry and build the reputation of Shine Kids in the community, that more and more people can come in contact with the church and with God's people and that many seeds could be planted in the city of Machida. The more I talk with the staff here, the more I understand how much time and patience this ministry is going to take, but I am learning to trust God more and more about the timing of everything.
Thank you for praying for the Sunday School here at Horizon. We have been having a lot of fun here preparing skits and songs for the kids to preform at the various events. Last sunday we had the International service's christmas event. And the kids were able to perform a small skit before the service started. Next week is going to be a combined service and christmas program. We have been teaching both the Japanese and English service kids the song "Silent Night" with hand motions, and they are going to be performing it together on stage. I am greatly looking forward to these events as it will be a chance for the Japanese and International services to fellowship together and celebrate christmas as one body. Please pray for blessed conversations and fellowship. And please pray for those who will be bringing their friends and coworkers, that seeds would be planted in hearts through these events as well.
Thank you also for praying for the Cafe Salem. Many customers have been coming and I am learning more and more about how to serve in the cafe. And honestly, God has been using the cafe a lot to help me grow as well. Working at the cafe was something for me that was very difficult to get used to. In addition to the having to learn the basics needed to work in the cafe, there were also cultural issues of etiquette, procedure, and formality of language when it came to serving tables here in Japan that I had to be learned as well. Unfortunately, often the way that I learned these cultural rules was by breaking them in one way or another and then being told about it afterwards. These mistakes in addition to the mistakes I was naturally making just learning how to work there was a little discouraging for me. Truthfully, for a while working in the cafe became a bit of a struggle. But God is good. And when I was struggling, He brought me back to the understanding of how much I needed Him in my work in the cafe. He convicted me about trying to do things at the cafe by my own effort and not by the power of His Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 2:10-15 ). And he also convicted me about this cafe being a worship to Him. And through His work in my heart, the nature of the work in the cafe has changed a lot. Of course I am still making mistakes here and there, but I have a lot more peace and joy working there, praises be to God. Please continue to pray for the ministry in the cafe, that God would continue to make his appointments there and that He would work through the cafe to minister to the community in Setagaya.
Recently, we were able to move out of our old apartment in Yokohama that was close to my wife previous work place and move to Machida to be closer to the church here and to make ourselves more accessible to the people we have been ministering to. Since we have moved in, God has been giving a lot of ministry opportunities to my wife as well. Soon after we moved in, my wife got to meet one of our neighbors who is a single mom and strike up a friendship with her. They have able to talk with each other quite a bit lately and Tomoko has started inviting her to our house and to church. Please pray for this new relationship with our neighbor and that God would use it for his glory. Also, because we live so close tot he church now, my wife has been able to start up a small prayer group with the other new moms from the church which has been meeting once a week (we have had six babies born in the last year in the Machida fellowship alone). This time of fellowship and prayer seems to be a real blessing to all those involved and all the moms including my wife have been very encouraged by it. Please pray for this ministry and other ministries to moms that we are praying about starting soon.
Please be praying for the New Year's service here at Horizon and the church retreat coming up at the beginning of January
May God bless you and keep you all during this season of celebration of our Lord Jesus. We are praying for you all.
Because He lives,
Alex, Tomoko, and Daisy Robinson.
P.S. Daisy is growing big and strong, weighing in at almost 17 pounds. She will be 6 months next week and has started eating solid foods. Praise God