'Tis the Season

Hello everyone,
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

Bazaar Event

Hello Everyone,
Good to be writing you all again. The time has been really flying lately. It seems like just yesterday that the fall semester of Shine Kids began, and now we have reached the last week of this semester. Our last class is today.

It has been a great semester with a lot of new faces and new relationships started. After the explosion of the first week, almost everybody stayed in the program with a few adding along the way. We are finishing this week with 24 students all together, a really great group of kids. As a way to top off the semester, we invited all of the shine kids to come to the International Bazaar, a community outreach event that we had last Sunday to perform "Father Abraham" which they have been practicing all semester. It was a good time. Six of the kids came, with there Moms and Dads. The performance went great, and the families seemed to have a good time. One of the members of the church is a masseuse who was giving away free foot massages at the Bazaar and a few of the dads had a foot massage and were able to talk a while with him. Also there is a christian hula group here at the church that performed and a couple of the shine kids really liked it and wanted to get in contact with the teacher for lesson's. The next shine kids class, one of the shine kids came up to me and asked if there were some other events coming up because his dad said he could go.  So praise God for that.  It was good to see the shine kids and parents just talking and having a good time with the church members. The goal of shine kids has always been to bridge the gap between the church and the surrounding community. And I think little by little, the families of Machida are being more and more exposed to Christians and the church through shine kids, and there are more and more opportunities to talk and share with them than we have had before., so praise God for that. Please pray for me as I plan out the next semester and plan for the Shine Kids Christmas party. Along with the other children there are some special needs kids that have been attending the class and I feel very lacking in experience as to how best to teach them. So please pray for wisdom and guidance in understanding the best way to serve every child who comes to Shine Kids.

Also, this month was the HLS language school Masquerade party, a event for the students of the language school that is run out of the church. It is a dinner with games, but also members of the church come and a short bible message is given. We have recently moved from our old apartment in Yokohama to a apartment in Machida which is closer to the church so we can be more accessible and be able to invite more people from the church and outreaches to our house. But before we left, we invited our downstairs neighbor to come. We have been been sharing with her since we moved in and kept inviting her to church, but she never has. But this last time, she came! And we were able to talk with her and share a lot during that time. She comes to Machida a lot and talked with my wife about continuing to meet with her here. So please pray for the continued relationship, even though we live farther away.

Thank you also for praying for the new cafe that we were starting is Setagaya. There have been a couple name changes since I wrote you all last, but I am happy to announce that the Cafe Salem, is now into its 3rd week since opening. I am helping out with the cafe three days a week now, waiting tables, cooking, baking, etc. We have had a good amount of customers everyday and things seem to be going well. Please pray that God would use the cafe to build relationships and that he would continue to give us opportunity to minister to the people in Setagaya.
Made a blog for the cafe as well. Please give it a look when you have the time. http://thecafesalem.blogspot.jp/

Thank you for praying for the Wednesday night fellowship as well. There continue to be blessings both during the English time at the cafe as well as the bible study. People from other churches have been coming and people even bringing unsaved friends from work. Please pray for the seeds that are being planted there, and that people would continue to come and hear about God during that time.

Please be praying for the Sunday School of the Japanese Service. I have been teaching at the Sunday School for about two years now, and it has been a really blessed. However, lately, for various reasons, with new babies and people graduating and schedules changing, we have been loosing a lot of the teachers. I remember when I started, there were five teachers on staff for the elementary school class alone. Now, we are down to two people including me. I feel that there has been a bit of discouragement among the staff, and I ask that you would please pray for us. Please pray for encouragement, for direction, and for new workers to help out with this ministry.

Thank you as always for your prayers and support. We love you and are grateful to you all.

Alex, Tomoko, and Daisy Robinson

P.S. Daisy went to an aquarium for the first time. She enjoyed it very much ^_^.


Hi Friends,
Praying this letter finds you all well. I want to thank all of those involved in taking care of the team that recently came from Toyko Horizon Chapel. They got back from their trip to America this week and I have been able to see some of the pictures they took while they were in Sonora. They were grateful for the time they spent there and the pictures they took made me miss you all a lot. Still in prayer about hopefully coming back to Sonora next year and introducing you all to my daughter Daisy.

Things here have been blessed. Yesterday marked the first day of the Fall Semester and it came with its share of surprises. A couple hours before the program, I received a email from one of the shine kids moms that there would be 8 new kids coming that day. As I frantically cut up construction paper to have enough crafts for them all, I praised God for growing the seeds planted at the VBS last month. In the end we had 14 kids come. The program went great and all the new kids had a great time. One of the kids even came up to me and said, "It was my first time and I didn't know any of the songs, but this was so fun." I thank God for how he has been working in this ministry. Still looking forward to friday's class as well. As I was sweeping in front of the church yesterday, one of the kids who came to the VBS who was walking to school stopped and said hi and told me that she would be coming with her friend on Friday. Again, wow God!

Now this would usually be the point when I would ask you all to pray for helpers, as my wife is busy with the baby and our other helper graduated bible college and became a baker. But God always equips us to do the ministry to which He has called us. My friend Shane, who runs the Gospel cafe that I have written about in the past, took his motorbike in to be fixed one day and struck up a conversation with his mechanic. Turned out that mechanic's wife was also a christian and was teaching English and had been having difficulty teaching young children English. And Shane referred her to me. So she is going to be helping out this semester of shine kids for the experience. Also, when I was talking to the bible college students about all the new kids that were coming yesterday, one of the bible college students volunteered and another is praying about it. And with the one helper that was helping out already, I find myself in the position of being very well... helped. haha ^_^!  So much so that with the present staff, I think we will have the opportunity to grow even more, if the Lord is willing.

Please continue to pray for Kids Brown in Setagaya.  We continue to maintain the same group we have had for the Thursday and Friday classes. Please pray for patience for me and pray that God's love would be poured out on me that I can love on the kids there in all situations. I really want to always be the best picture of Jesus that I can be to the kids, and for that I need a lot of grace and power from the Holy Spirit.

Also, from next month, the church wants to start a cafe on the first floor of the Setagaya Church. We have been painting and renovating, making our plans right now. We hope for it to be like the Gospel Cafe, a open place where people of the community can come and have a cup of coffee and strike up conversations with the christian staff. I mean, just like it was at the Gospel Cafe, when you see a big, bald, white guy like me waiting tables at a cafe in the heart of Tokyo, there are going to be some questions that follow ^_^. God has used these questions before to lead to opportunities to share testimonies and the gospel and we are praying for the same at the... "Health Nuts" Cafe.

Thank you again for your prayers and support. Sorry I cannot be at CC Sonora for the Ministry Fair that is coming up. But hope you guys enjoy the video from the VBS last month.

Your brother,

VBS and American Team

Hello Everyone,

Good to be writing you all again. This summer has has been bustling time filled with many of God's blessings and I can't wait to tell you all what has been happening.

Firstly, we were blessed to have a team of college students from Anaheim Free Methodist Church come and visit us this summer. They were a team of 10 and almost all of them were 100% Japanese Americans. Many were 3rd and forth generation Japanese, and though most of them weren't able to speak much Japanese, they threw themselves into talking with people and serving at the church which was a real encouragement to me. Even reminded me of the first time that I came to Japan with the team from the Calvary Chapel Sonora back in 2005, and helped to give me a bit of perspective on the ministry I am doing now. The time I spent with them stoked up my fire and God used them to start some fires up in the church members here as well. They spent two weeks with us here and working with them, by the grace of God and his powerful hand, we were able to put on some events that blew the roof off anyone's expectations. 

When we found out there was a team coming from America, we decided that we wanted to put on a VBS. For this VBS, we wanted to invite kids from the Japanese and English Sunday schools as well as inviting the non christian kids from Shine Kids and Kids Brown. From the start, this program was a full of firsts. First time that I have seen the Japanese and English services plan a VBS together, having the Japanese Sunday school team heavily involved in the preparations. First big event to have the Japanese and English services working and serving together. First time for me to go about planning and preparing for a event like this without Pastor Jeremiah here. First time to invite this group of Shine kids and Kids Brown to a event were the bible would be taught without a focus on English. Honestly, there was a lot of opportunity for miscommunication and problems.

And we didn't expect too many kids. Our hopes were that, Lord willing, 30 kids would come. So we started praying, and started doing our preparations. But it is always amazing the way that Lord could answer our prayers at times. 
 "Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20)  3 weeks before the event, we started to get calls from kids who wanted to come. Not only Sunday school kids, but their friends. And not only did all the Shine Kids come but they brought their friends, and friends of friends. In the end, we ended up with over 60 kids signed up for both days of the program. It got to the point were we almost had to turn some kids away because we just didn't have the space to fit them all. But It ended up being just enough to fit. But of course this lead us to a knew problem of staff. With so many children, we did not have enough people to take care of all of them. So we started praying again, and started talking with the Japanese and English services about the need to serve. And God blessed us with so many workers. In the end, including the team from Anaheim, we had 43 staff members that volunteered. In the end it was a amazing and blessed time. A time when seeds could be planted and relationships made.And what was wonderful too was the interaction between the Japanese and English speaking Christians. The fellowship that happened through serving was a beautiful thing to see. And hearing the meeting of the staff we had after the program was over, The renewed passion I heard in the voices of the Japanese people, passion to serve, it was like music.

The next week we had the family camp, where all the different church plants of Horizon got together. I was able to lead the kids program there along with the Anaheim team and it was a great time. Now that we have finished with these two events and the team has gone home, We are going to be planning next a overnight for the Sunday School Kids and a international festival to continue in the outreach to families that have already been started. Please pray for us in this. Also, our next semester of Shine kids will be starting from next month, so please pray for this as well. Though many of my helpers have been moving on to other things. A new helper from another church will be getting involved with the program, so praise God for that. Please pray for additional helpers as the program continues to grow.

Thank you all for praying for my little girl, Daisy Grace Robinson. She is a month and a half old now and has been eating and sleeping well. She has already gained 4.2 pounds since she was born and her one month check up went well. Unfortunately, from last week, she developed a cough and a runny nose. Going to the hospital, we found out that she had contracted the RS virus, which can be serious if not treated, especially in a child so young. She is in the hospital now and we ask you to pray for her quick recovery. She has been getting better little by little, but she is not out of the forest yet. 

Thank you again for you love, prayers and support. We are working on the video from the VBS and hope to send it to you soon.


Alex, Tomoko, and Daisy Robinson

Comment Problems

Hey Everyone,
I know that some of you have been trying to write comments on my blog and they have not been going through. I don't know the reason exactly, but none of the Comments from regions outside Japan seem to stay. If you would like to get in contact me or comment about the blog, please send me a email at aj.robinson214@yahoo.com.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement,

New blog is below.

New Doors

Dear friends,
I pray that this letter would find you well. Thank you all for your prayers concerning the last letter. God has started to open different doors concerning the next step of my ministry here in Japan and we have been seeing many blessings.

Firstly, there was the beginning of multiple classes each week for shine kids. The children that have been coming to shine kids have now been divided between the Tuesday classes and the Friday classes. This has made each class a smaller of course and we are now praying for the growth of each individual class. However the smaller classes has allowed us more time to talk with the parents and the kids. It seems like each class is allowing us to learn more about those coming and also to develop a deeper relationships with all. God has especially given my wife a lot of opportunity to speak with the mothers of the shine kids and for this we are very grateful. Please pray for God's will to be done in these classes and for them to continue to give us opportunity to share and love on the people coming.

Also, we were blessed to have our very first Kids Brown Saturday trial day program over in Setagaya. Five kids came and they all seemed to have blast and the parents kept laughing and smiling and clapping throughout the lesson, so I think they enjoyed themselves as well. It is Wednesday now and we haven't heard back yet about kids who want to sign up for the program. We have one more trial day this Saturday and then will be starting classes next month. Please be praying for this ministry as we are just starting out. In Japan, it takes a long time to build foundations with people and as such usually it makes us have to be patient when starting a new ministry.  But please pray that more kids would come this Saturday and those kids that have come already would sign up for classes.

In addition, Pastor Rich has asked me to start leading the International Wednesday night bible study instead of only translating. God has been bringing a lot of different people to this bible study including internationals, Japanese, English speakers, non English speakers, people for other churches and people who haven't been to church in a while. It is exciting to see what God will do through this bible study. We have already started working our way through the book of Deuteronomy. It has been a while since I have studied through this book, so please be praying that God would give me wisdom and knowledge as I lead the bible study and that God would continue to work through this time. Also please be praying for a new translator for Wednesday nights as well to replace me.

I also ask that you would keep praying about, inter service events here at the church. We have tried several times to have events that include the Japanese and English fellowships in the past few months. But every single time they have been canceled by rain or some other problem. I am not really sure were to go from here in this area, but God knows. So please be praying that God would help us understand in what ways we can bring the two services together and the timing of everything.

Despite this, the international service retreat was really blessed. It used to be that the international service would have a retreat every year to have a special time of fellowship. But with Pastor Jeremiah moving on and the shift over to Pastor Rich, it has been a few years since we have been able to have it. But this year we were able to and it turned into a great time of fellowship with a lot of great conversation. Praises for that.

Well, I think that is all for now. Thank you for your prayers and support. Praying that you all are  doing good and going strong in the work God has given you.

Because he lives,

Surprises and Redirection

Dear friends,
It has been almost a month now since my wife and I left you all to return to Japan. My wife and I were so very grateful for the time that we spent in California. It was a huge encouragement for the both of us, so much so that I find it difficult to put in words. When we originally were making our plans to go to the United States, my wife had been a bit worried about meeting so many new people and even feeling out of place. But you all were so kind to my wife and I. Though it had been a long time since I had last visited the church and though it was your first time meeting her, you took us both in with open arms, treated us both like family, and just shared the love of Jesus with us. The fellowship that we had with you all was a beautiful thing and it left us both grateful to God for His mercy and grace. I think for both of us, our time in the States was a mountain top experience of God building us up and leaving us in wonder.

However, as so often is the case when we have these mountain top experiences, eventually we have to come back down from the mountain... and at the bottom waits, well... battle. Upon returning to Japan, we were greeted with the news that the students who had signed up for the preschool that we had talked with you all about had all pulled out last minute. There were no students for the preschool, which meant we could not start this school year.

For me, this was like a splash of cold water in the face. I really didn't know what to do. The door was closed.... And it left me with a lot of questions about what God wanted me to do now.

But it can be amazing how God can use our wives to speak to us. Upon hearing the news, I was very discouraged. Honestly my heart sank in my chest. But I looked over at my wife, and she was smiling a really excited smile. When I asked her why she was smiling, she said to me that God was going to be starting something new very soon. I puzzled as I thought about the words she spoke to me, and then I started to smile too.

It brings to mind the apostle Paul as he made his missions trips. So often, he would have a passion for preaching the word, and he would want go into regions he hadn't been before and sometimes God would stop him. I think about Acts 16 were Paul had been traveling around with his companions preaching the gospel and wanted to go into Asia, but the Holy Spirit would not let them go. They tried multiple times, but it says that "the spirit of Jesus would not allow them to". Why? Was is because they were trying to do something wrong? No. And further down the road, God would take the gospel into that region. But at that time, God had a different work that he wanted to start. Paul went here and there for a while, and then finally, God gave him the vision of the man from Macedonia. So Paul goes down to macedonia and starts to minister there and God starts a amazing work there. The time that Paul wanted to go into Asia was the time that God wanted to start a work in Macedonia, starting the church at Philippi.

I really don't know what God wants to do right now in the ministry here. But I don't think the preschool did not start because it was a bad thing. And there may yet be a time when God will want the preschool to begin here. But all I know is that time is not now.

So for now, I want to faithfully tend to the ministries that God has given me. I have been praying and thinking about what to be done now, and I think God is leading in the direction of expanding some of the ministries that are underway. One ministry that needs growth is Shine Kids. We have been holding the shine kids every Tuesday and currently we have about 11 to 13 kids coming regularly. Though I love this ministry, the preparation for the preschool kind of made me move it to the back burner. But now I feel leading to grow this ministry. We start classes from next week. And in addition to the Tuesday class, we will be starting a Friday class as well. Please pray for this ministry, That it would grow and that God would use it.

Also, the Kids Brown program in Setagaya will be expanding as well. I have been assisting in the class on Thursdays, but we will be starting another class on Saturday that I will be leading. It will mix the Kids Brown curriculum with the shine kids games, crafts, and songs.  Lord willing, after a time of building reputation among the community, perhaps we will be able to begin the preschool in a years time.

We thank you so much for your prayers for us. We can feel God leading and are so grateful for your support in reaching the people of Japan.

Because He lives,
Alex and Tomoko Robinson

Picking Up Speed

Dear Family,
Wonderful to be writing you all again. Sorry for the delay, but I did not want to write you all until things were confirmed. We now have reserved our tickets, and the date says March 20, 2013. It's official, the Robinson family is going to be coming to America to visit you all on March 20th, 2013. I am very excited to see you all again and to introduce you all to my wife after all the delays that we experienced here. Thinking on it now, it has been almost 2 years since I have been back in Sonora. Think it is about time to put my feet on American soil again.

Thank you all for your prayers for my wife and baby. Both are doing just fine. Tomoko is now 17 weeks along in the pregnancy now. Her baby bump seems to be growing a little every day now and she is about at that period when lots of rest is essential. She has started to wrap up things at her job and soon will switch over to maternity leave. Please pray for us as we decide the next steps for my wife and I, whether she is to go back to work again or instead if she will be a full time mommy and be a part of the ministry at the church. oh, and for those of you who are asking, we are not sure if it is a boy or a girl yet ^_^

Things here have been moving quickly. It has been a little over a month since my graduation, but many opportunities are opening up. The biggest opportunity being that Horizon is wanting to start a all English preschool as a outreach to the community in Setagaya. And they have asked me to be the lead teacher. At first I was a little bit worried as I have not had any experience leading a preschool, but the more I pray about it, the more I feel like this is the next thing that He has for me. We are going to be starting from April, a little after I return from America. Please be praying for our preparations. We need more teachers as I am the only one so far. Also, please be praying about making your own trip out to visit. No Japanese ability needed, just teaching and playing with kids in English.  You can check out the preschool on the web at www.shineip.jp.

From this next Tuesday, the next Semester of Shine Kids will be starting. God has been blessing us with more and more children, I think for this next semester, we will be getting about 15 children to start with, maybe more as the semester goes on. Please be praying for helpers for me. Things are starting to get so big that I cannot manage the entire Shine Kids program by myself anymore. God has blessed me with some really wonderful helpers, but I need more actual teachers, people that can help me plan out lessons and help lead the program. Please be praying for more workers here as God continues to bless the work that He started here.

Also please be praying for the Sunday school here at Horizon. I have been put in charge of the International children's program here. Also, as I am teaching at the Japanese service as well, I have been trying to work together with the Japanese teachers to make joint events for the children of both services. Again, mostly just a prayer for workers. There is a lot that we are hoping to do, including a VBS this summer, and a youth group for older children that is badly needed, but not enough people to do it all. Pray that God would be leading people to serve in these areas and that God would open the doors to the directions he wants us to go.

That is about all from here for now. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I can't wait to see you all in March!!

Because He lives,