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By the grace of God, I finished my Th.M. at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary last December. As a family, we thank you very much for the continued generous support and prayer.
In this newsletter, we would like to share how God blessed us during our seminary life as well as our next steps.
I finished my Th.M. study in December 2016. I praise God for His mercy and grace since I started the program in September 2015. I also want to sincerely thank each one of you for your words of encouragement, prayers, and financial support!
Needless to say, seminary was very challenging. No course was easy at all, especially for someone like me whose English is a second language. Assignments took at least triple the amount of time to complete compared to others whose English was their primary language. Staying in the library from morning till night-time became a part of my normal life. Because of the balance between studying and spending time with family, I reduced my class load which extended my timeline by one more semester. Those 18 months were not beautiful. In fact, it was rather messy.
However, God’s love and grace towards us never changed. His grace not only sustained my seminary life, but he supplied more than enough to allow me to thrive! Each seminary course deepened my understanding of the Word of God and the people of the world. Each preaching assignments let me confirm the privilege and responsibility of being a preacher. Most of all, God always reminded me of the tremendous need for the solid gospel-centered, and grace-based preaching in Japan.
So again, I thank all of you who prayed, encouraged, rebuked, taught, loved, and supported us! All of my achievements could not have been accomplished without you.
Next Destination… “JAPAN”
After a long period of prayer and discussion, God showed us a clear path for the next step—JAPAN!
The last three months were a very challenging time for Sawako and I. While we were seeking God’s direction, we also had our own desires and hopes. Sometimes we talked and prayed, but sometimes our discussions turned into arguments. We prayed and waited. However, during those couple months, God was indeed still working. He closed many doors, but then opened one door. Finally, last week, God clearly showed us a path.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” —Proverbs 16:9
We will go back to Japan and live in Chiba City (a suburb of Tokyo to the East). I will join Mission To the World (MTW)/Australian Presbyterian World Mission (APWM) Japan team, and will be starting a new church plant in Chiba City Center as an associate pastor. Also, I will have an opportunity to teach Preaching courses at the seminary.
Japan has always been our ministry focus and our calling, which is why we are very excited to return to Japan and start a new phase of our life!
Start from April, 2017!
We will fly back to Japan at the end of March. In the meantime, as we prepare to move, I will travel to several cities in the US to raise support for the church plant. Please pray for our remaining time in Boston and for the Lord to bless all of the fundraising efforts.
- Please pray for the move and for a smooth transition:
We came here with 12 suitcases, and we will go back to Japan with 12 suitcases. We will get rid of many furniture and belongings. We also need to find a house or apartment to live in Chiba. Please pray for the process of moving and for it to be a smooth transition.
- Please pray for our kids: John, Jay, Yuzuri, and Joe.
The kids will say good-bye to their school teachers and friends in the middle of the semester. They will then start a new school year in Japan. It is never an easy process for kids, so they will need special care during this season of transition. Please pray for our children, especially for their mental and spiritual health.
- Please pray for Shohei’s and Sawako’s health:
Sawako has not had her post-cancer follow-up appointments since last July. We will need to make an appointment immediately upon arriving in Japan. Please pray for Sawako’s health and her follow-up appointment. Also, please pray for Shohei’s mental health as he travels and connects with several people to raise support these next two months. Please pray for God’s peace and conviction on him.
- Please pray for the ministry in Chiba.
Many of you know, Japan is one of the most challenging mission fields. According to the Joshua Project, the Japanese are the second largest unreached people group in the world — making up 0.3% of evangelical Christians. We are going to a spiritually dark place. It is true that we are thrilled to return to our home country. However, the transition from life in the US to ministry life in Japan will be challenging for us. So please pray for our life in Japan and ministry in Chiba.
- Please pray for our financial situation:
As we move back to Japan and start a ministry, we will need financial support. Currently, we are at 55% of the goal. To reach 100%, we need $2,500 in monthly donations and a one-time donation of $12,500. Please pray for our financial needs and please prayerfully consider supporting us.