ALIVE comes alive!

Dear friends,
It is good to be writing you all again. A lot has been happening since the last time that I wrote to you after the EPIC team left that I would like to share with you all.

The biggest thing I wanted to share about was ALIVE. Thank you all for praying for the new bilingual service that we were about to start the last time that I wrote to you. By the grace of God, we were able to start this new service from the first saturday of September. At Horizon we have many different services that meet at different times throughout the week. In this way, Horizon is able to minister to many different types of people. We are able to serve English speakers and Internationals, Japanese people, and we even have a Filipino service that during the week. However, because they all meet at separate times and are in separate languages,  there is very little crossover between the services. So we started Alive, a completely bilingual service where many different kinds of people can meet in one place and one time, and through exposure and interaction with many kinds of christians, can grow and learn. Also because we are a bilingual service, we are able to reach out to to unsaved Japanese people that are trying to learn English.

As this service has been forming, God has blessed us with many different amazing servants who have come alongside me as we have been starting out in this new direction. My friend Fumitaka has blessed us by taking on the role of worship leader for this service. And God has brought together an awesome worship team (seen practicing here) that come from many different services and even different church campuses at Horizon.

From the beginning, one of the biggest issues we had in starting this new service and our biggest
prayer request was finding translators. Without them, we would not be able to have this kind of service. But God is good. And He brought together a team of translators from some of the most unlikely places. As of now, we are blessed to have 8 translators on weekly rotation for this service. As for me, I have been blessed with being able to share from the Word weekly at the ALIVE service. We have been working our way through the book of James, and are starting chapter 4 this week.

As for our fellowship time, we have been trying to mix it up a bit. Of course we have coffee time on the first floor of our church two weeks out of the month. But also once a month we all go out to eat together and one Saturday of each month we have been having some sort of activity night. Last Saturday we all went out to Karaoke and are planning out different activities for the future. Please pray for this new fellowship that it would be used as a blessing in the church as well as a tool to reach outside of the church.

Thank you also for praying for the Shine kids program. Machida Shine kids continues to be blessed with more students. We are up to eight students per class for our beginners and advanced classes. Setagaya continues to have around 25 kids a week coming to learn English. Our adult English school continues to be blessed with new students as well as time goes on. Last Saturday we had another pancake breakfast and it was really a blessed time, with people coming not only from our English classes, but outside as well. Even some people from the hair salon my
wife goes to came as well. Please pray that God would continue to expand these ministries and used them to build relationships. Also please pray that those studying English would come to the Alive service and hear the Word of God.

Coming up in november is our Horizon Cafe, a little fall festival that we put on to reach out to the people that live around the church. Please pray that many would come into the church and for blessed conversations.  Also keep us in prayer as we head into the Christmas season and all the outreaches that are to come. Pray for our wisdom and for God to work through Horizon to minister to the people of Machida.

I think that is it for now. Thank you all for your ongoing prayers and support. You are in our prayers.

Because He lives,
Alex, Tomoko, Daisy, and Caleb Robinson

P.S. Daisy and Caleb are doing great. Caleb as always, rarely stops smiling and is starting to speak some Japanese and English words. Daisy never stops talking all day long and will be starting Kindergarten from next year (they start early here). We have a interview coming up for her Kindergarten, so please pray that it goes well.

Epic Team and Something New

Hi Everyone,
It is good to be writing you all again.

I wanted to start out by thanking you all for sending us the EPIC team last month. Their time hear was a huge blessing to us. From start to finish, this was one of the best teams that I have ever had the privilege of working.  I remember setting up decorations for the VBS program on their first day here, and even though they should have been jet-lagged and out of it, they were ready to go for everything that I had for them to do. Honestly, they were like that for the whole trip, always ready to go, ready to jump on every opportunity that was given to them.

The next day was the VBS. It was a great
program. This year we were able to have the VBS in two locations, our Machida and Setagaya branch, simultaneously. It was something that we had never tried before, but by the grace of God it went really well. Last year we had struggled to get kids to come, but this year God blessed the sign ups at both locations. All of the kids involved had a great time and all the staff were blessed to be involved. Please keep praying for the doors that have been opened through the VBS to be used by God to reach to the local kids and their parents.

That night (like the day hadn't been long enough already), we had a concert with the members of our church as well as the Epic worship team with a message by Justin. Though the whole team was exhausted by that point, they always were smiling and so enthusiastic. They were a huge encouragement to all involved that night and I was able to see such joy on the faces of the Japanese members. The spirit moved and God spoke powerfully through Justin as well that night. It was honestly one of the most powerful worship concerts I have experienced at Horizon.

The next day the team split again to help in the church sunday schools at both Setagaya and Machida,  helping out at both the Japanese and English Services. That night, they were able to home stay with members of the church in addition to Shine Kids families who are not christian. In the Japanese culture, being invited to someone's house is a very big deal. Honestly it does not happen much. But God made a way and the team was able to go and minister in the homes of people where even I have never been allowed in. It was huge. And I am so grateful to the team for coming and being used by God to minister in ways that I have not been able to. Pray that God would bless the seeds they have planted in these difficult to reach places, in the homes that they stayed in.

The next day we were off to the Tohoku region where we volunteered helping out fisherman whose businesses are still struggling after the tsunami. The people who have been working with these men and women have often had difficulty sharing with them. They have been reluctant to hear the gospel and even to be prayed for. But God brought a lot of those walls down, and members of the team were able to share their faith and to pray for the fishermen that were there. Many seeds were planted and we were blessed to see God doing the impossible things through the team.

Then a few quick sightseeing days after that it was sunday again. And before I knew it I was seeing them off in front of the security at the airport. It just went by so quick and I really didn't want to let them go, but I am grateful for them and to all that made their trip to Japan possible. I was so blessed to have been able to work with the EPIC team and hope they will return to us soon.  

Soon after they left, we were back into the swing of things and we had our Shine pancake breakfast again for all of our English students. It was a great time of conversation and food. We were also blessed to meet some Dads of our Shine kids that we have not had the opportunity to meet and talk with before. Please pray for these mornings and for other activities to do with our English students.

Finally, I have one last prayer request. Since I arrived in Japan, I have been attending the Japanese Saturday night worship service. The teaching and fellowship there have always been a blessing to me. Recently, the pastors have decided that they are going to be changing the service to a bilingual format and they have asked me to lead the service. We are going to be starting this new fellowship from next month. Please pray for the planning and blessed preparation for us as we are getting ready for this big change. Pray that this new service would be used to minister to people and that more and more people would come. We will be calling this new fellowship "Alive".

Thank you all for you prayers and support. We remember you in our prayers and look forward to when we can see you all again. 

Because He lives,
Alex, Tomoko, Daisy, and Caleb Robinson

P.S. Daisy and Caleb are doing great and growing up fast. Daisy is talking up a storm in English and
Japanese and Caleb is standing up (holding on to things) and is starting to stand up on his own.

Fall Fun and Christmas Events

Hi Everyone,
I hope you all had a great Christmas season and a very happy new year. The time here has been a lot of fun.

We finished up our Fall semester of Shine Kids on the 8th of December. This semester marked our tenth semester since we restarted Shine Kids after after I returned from Okinawa. And we were blessed to have all our old students with us this semester plus a few new faces. Above we see the kids learning their new song for this semester which they would perform at the Horizon Cafe and Bazaar the week after this picture was taken. All the kids had a great time this Semester and are looking forward to the winter semester of Shine Kids starting on the 19th of this month. Please pray that God would open up hearts more and more through this program and especially that the relationships we build through the program would lead to a deeper and deeper connection to God and his people.

Thank you for praying for the Shine English Language School as well. We have been blessed to have 24 students regularly attending classes on a weekly or bi weekly basis during this fall and winter season. God has been blessing the ministry so much that we thought it would be good make special events and times to get together with all of our students from this ministry and bless them by cooking a meal for them all. We keep it very casual and have the students come whenever they like between our starting and ending time, eat as much as they like, and leave whenever they want. We then started inviting members our church to help out with the cooking and serving as well as having some come just as guests to hang out and talk with our students. All of our students really like the events and we see this as a new opportunity to get people from our community to hang out with people in the church in a casual setting. The conversations I have overheard and taken part in during these event are awesome and God is at work in it. Seen here are pictures from our last Pancake Breakfast we had last month. Please pray for us as we continue this new form of outreach.

In addition, we were able to have our Horizon picnic during this fall as well. We invited the Japanese and English services from both Setagaya and Machida as well as the Shine Kids to come and have a picnic with games and even a pinata that I scraped together myself. It was a great time of
fellowship and even though we were unable to get the Shine Kids Members to come out with us this time, we are going to continue to do outdoor events this coming year. Lord willing, the more of these events we do, the more our Shine Kids and Shine ELS students will come out to join us and hang out with members of the church. Please pray for us as we plan for having new sporting events this year and other activities to get everyone together.

This Christmas season was also a blast with many opportunities. We started off the month with our Kids Christmas parties in both Machida and Setagaya with games , cake, crafts, and of course the Christmas message. Here you see the kids making their craft. We were blessed to have a lot of helpers from our college group. We also had our annual Christmas program and Candle Light Christmas eve service. Like last year we were able to hit the streets of Machida before the event to hand out flyers. We also went around asking people what they think about Christmas and what Christmas means to them, and sharing about what it really means. It was a blessed time and blessed events, and in everything we got to share the hope to be found in Christmas.

We are looking forward to seeing you all at the end of March of this year when our family comes back to visit Sonora and we look forward to having the Epic Japan Team this Summer. We are praying that you would have a very blessed new year.

Alex, Tomoko, Daisy, and Caleb Robinson

P.S. Our son, Caleb Alexander Robinson was born on September 9, 2015. He is a very happy baby and smiles a lot. Please pray for his blessing and our wisdom as we start out life as a family of four.