Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back in time for Gotcha Day

Eleven years ago Stan and I were in Moscow after having picked up two young boys from a "baby-house" in Kazan. We celebrated "Gotcha Day" tonight with J-h (left) and J-n. We love theses guys! Please keep praying for them as they are wading into the challenges of middle school.

The Scriptures have some things to say about adoption. I have been reading Ephesians, and in chapter 1 it says
" Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will--to the praise of His glorious grace which He has freely given us in the One He loves." Ephesians 1:3-6

We praise God for His blessings on our family, for His great love, and that He has adopted us into His family. We are also grateful for the privilege of serving Him here in Japan to share this message of the Gospel to others. We long to see others adopted into His family!

(We also celebrated being back together again after my 12 day trip to the US.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What A Great Job!

I willingly and openly take my hat off to the Single Parent!

Wow, is it NOT easy. There is the Dad sort of thing to do and then there are the Mom sorts of things to do and then there are the Pastor things to do and the Missionary and the adult and the...what is that? 10:45 PM? Yeah, better start heading to bed because I am SO tired.

For me, the single parent thing comes and goes. Lord willing, Faith will be back on Wed evening and we can share this 'job' of parenting it was and is and, I trust, ever more shall be. (Amen!) Having a wife around is more than nice. It is wonderful! And to have Faith around is well beyond wonderful. Words can not express how much I love that dear lady. She is all that and she loves me!

I don't want to make this long but, I know that I married well. The Lord had lead us together back in the early 80's when I was going to Japan as a single missionary. He moved our steps and we got married and now I am still amazed how much love I have for her.

Thanks Dad. You and Mom did a good thing in her. And the Lord moved her to keep her eyes on Him. I thank God for that.

Better go now. I have dishes to wash and the whites to fold. Busy day today: teaching at CAJ as a substitute, went to the Laundromat, shopping, cooking dinner (which they liked very much thank you!), fell asleep at the table for a few minutes after dinner(!) and put the Twins to bed to have Anna come out and hug me.

I am a blessed man. Thank Your Father!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Somewhere Out There...

B looks over the skyline at the area where she hopes to live.

Today I got to spend time with B. We are in the stage of life now where we have an adult child living in her passport country while we live on the other side of the Pacific. This is one of those "costs" of being a missionary. Finding adequate and appropriate housing has been one of her greatest challenges -- and she is again facing the need. How we wish we could afford to rent her an apartment a reasonable distance to the studios where she works. God, we know that somewhere out there you have a place for her. Help us to keep on trusting You!

I head back to Japan three days from now. I'm missing the four back there, but its going to be hard to say goodbye to this one!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Special Reunion

I (Faith) have been in the States since last Friday, when I flew to Dallas to rendezvous with my sister, Joyce, and brother, Brent. It was a very special time of being together. We are a total of 9 years apart--which means my brother was still quite young when I left home. I have enjoyed getting to know him as an adult over the past years--and we especially were grateful for a time when he and his family were stationed in Japan for work.
Brent has a delightful family--six children and lots of yellow Labrador retrievers that they breed. Joyce gets to spend Christmases with this fun pack--but its been a long time since I hung out with them.
The kids would often call me the wrong I look like her? (We were stopped at a restaurant today by someone asking if we were twins...) The answer is NO. I'm the "older" one--she's the "wiser" one. Joyce and I are in California now--this is where she lives, and where my meetings are for Asian Access this week.
I thank God for this opportunity to touch base with my siblings.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Where We Have Been... Acts 13:4-12

This is last week's sermon at the International Community Chapel of Saitama (ICCS), the church where Stan serves as Pastor. We have been studying the book of Acts (for a LONG time...some might say) and after the holiday break Stan gave a synopsis of --

Where we have been… Acts 13:4-12

The following is an outline of what we have been looking at since last September. This may look a little short this week, but if you follow the outline with your open Bible, you will see how, over the course of time during those early years of the Growing Church, how the early Believers held up under good times and hard times. They followed the Message with a heart that was open.

Acts 1 The Command and the Promise
Acts 2 The Day of Power
Acts 3 What I Have I give To You
Acts 4 On Trial Powerful Prayer (4:25-26)
Acts 5 Share or Horde Ananias & Sapphina
Acts 6 Seven Chosen To Serve Stephen
Acts 7 Stephen Speaks Dies
Acts 8 Intro to Saul Church Scattered “Can't Buy It!”
Acts 9 Saul's Fall…To Rise
Acts 10 Cornelius Called
Acts 11 Peter Explains His Actions Antioch Sends Out Two
Acts 12 Prayers That Really Worked Herod Dies
Not By Lots But By Holy Spirit God Speaks
proclaimed The Word of God
What elements? … (see below) *
Helper in John Mark
He had seen God Work (chapter 12) Now he is growing/learning Meet a man named Elymas, the sorcerer (Bar-Jesus)
Meet a man named Sergius Paulus
Wanted to hear the Word of God.
God deals with Elymas -into a cloud of darkness!
He believed when he saw what happened to Bar-Jesus!
Amazed at the teaching about the Lord. (Be more than amazed at the Work of Jesus in a life--be open to it for a change in your life.)
WHAT ELEMENTS?* … Same things as before.
The Gospel is the Message… And that means a changed life is a wonderful example of such a good news in a person. The Message is that Jesus is alive and living in the hearts of those who have turned to Him. He is alive and has been offering His forgiveness for our sins. That is the Gospel.

“The Gospel is the Message and the Message is the Lord”
Get to know the Lord by listening to the Message

Be in a place where that can happen-location- attend a Bible believing fellowship and be under authority of a Bible believing group. Have an open heart to the 'things of God.'
Who'd you want to be? Bar-Jesus or Sergius Paulus?
Both were in the dark. One stayed there and the darkness was increased!
Both saw the Light Both heard the Message! One remained in the dark
One believed in the Light! Be more than Amazed! Get to know the Lord by taken action on the Message.
Read the Bible and let it capture your heart. Let lust go and fill your heart with His Word so you will not fall from His Grace / heart. Flee youthful lust.

1 John 2:16 (NIV) For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world.

2 Timothy 2:22 (NIV) Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.This message is not just for the young men in our midst but for all people.

We are to be a Holy people. And we need each other to get there.

You can follow this sermon series weekly on

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A New Year in Japan

Happy New Year to all of you blog-readers!

All over Japan people spend the last few days of the year cleaning out their houses--windows washed, broken things replaced, scrubbing from top to bottom. Its similar to what we grew up with as spring and fall cleaning. This is the Japanese tradition of osoji, that is, big cleaning. On Friday, December 29, I spent time cleaning the church kitchen with one of our church members. We had a blast going through cabinets and throwing things out--old, mismatched dishes that had been donated years ago, soy sauce with a date of 1994, things like that. The kitchen looks great, there is room in the cabinets, and we have it organized in a way that will be more utilitarian.

We welcomed in the New Year with friends from our church. It was a special time of games, food (and more food!), singing, sharing and prayer. It was also a little bitter-sweet as we looked around the room and realized that three of the families would be gone by the summer. Who will this new year bring to ICCS?

January 1-3 have been really quiet here. We have enjoyed sleeping late. Even our boys, who used to beat the sun have been sleeping in...could they be almost teens? One day the boys started on making models they had received as Christmas gifts--Stan ended up working on them while the boys headed off to do something else. Yesterday we bought a puzzle so Anna would have something to keep her in the living room with us, rather than have her hibernate in her room with a good book!

It is quiet in our neighborhood, too. Most stores are closed until the 4th--except for the major department stores and 24 hour groceries. There is one place that is receiving a steady stream of visitors, however...

About two blocks from our house is the local shrine, and people are going there for their New Year's visit. The tradition is that from the 1st through the 3rd, people visit a shrine--many go to Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, but local shrines also get a fair amount of traffic.

After throwing a few coins into the large box in front of the shrine, they pull the cord attached to the bell, clap their hands and pause to pray for a good year, then move on to the sales desk (below the red and white banner) to buy good luck charms for the year. They will put the charms on their cars, key chains, etc. with hopes to be protected from harm during 2007.

Having offered their prayers, many people will pay to randomly draw their fortune. After reading the fortune, many people tie it on a branch of a tree near the shrine. I noticed that there was a small fire going (its in front of the people standing near the square) where people were throwing last year's charms, or fortunes that weren't so welcome.

Tomorrow it will be business as usual at most places here. The shrine will be closed and appear unattended until the next major holiday.

As I was walking around the shrine taking the photos on the 1st, I was reminded of these verses from 1 Peter1:17-21

Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

May we see many redeemed by the blood of Christ this year!