Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009 at ICCS

We had a wonderful Easter celebration on Sunday here at ICCS. It was so enjoyable to see God working through various people within the congregation.

Stan had gotten back from his trip to the US on Thursday, and has been fighting jet lag--waking at 4 a.m. Perhaps it made it easier for him to get up and going to the SonRise service at 7:30. He was joined by six others, including Ken, our intern, who shared a short message in Japanese. Following the early service, they headed over to the church, got the coffee going, and set up a great continental breakfast spread.

It was a full house for the morning service. We had almost everyone there who usually attends, and a few guests as well. In the front row is a new couple from Madagascar who found us on the web and started coming three weeks ago! They are studying in graduate schools here in the Tokyo area.

We enjoyed worshipping lead by a full worship team.

It is a joy to be able to sing in Japanese -- and for those who don't read it, the romanized pronunciation is provided below the Japanese.

One of the highlights of this Sunday was the baptism of three young people, each of whom had put their faith in Christ at around 4 years old.

J was the first one to give his testimony.

Then C shared how he wanted to be baptized in obedience to Christ's commands.

Finally A got up and emotionally moved by the experience, shared a very precious testimony of her desire to be baptized. A is from Singapore, but attended Japanese elementary school for a while, so she asked if she could also give her testimony in Japanese--and even though she was struggling she plowed on to give it in Japanese too.

After their testimonies they each went and changed for their baptisms.

Stan is immersing J. in a tub we use for baptisms of "small people."

There is actual video of the baptism at the end of this blog.

Following the baptisms, Stan gave a clear presentation of the Gospel in his sermon. We have several non-believing husbands of believing wives in the congregation who we earnestly pray will take the step of faith. There is nothing quite like coming back from a believing family member's funeral to "power up" the gospel presentation.

When the service was over we had our traditional coffee time "Higher Grounds" and then we pulled the families together for photos.

A's family is here from Singapore working with Campus Crusade for Christ. They have been wonderful partners in the ministry at ICCS, as well.

J's family recently started attending ICCS. They met and married in the US, and J's father has worked for various multinational companies. J's mom is always the epitome of southern graciousness! And his sister is a new darling of the church.

C's family attended our church for a number of years before they left for a seven year interlude while working in the States and then at Faith Academy in the Philippines. His dad has returned to teach band at the Christian Academy and his mom also teaches in the elementary school. (Two sisters had left by the time we got to the photo op!)

This group represents a cross section of those who have made ICCS their home. And we all had a blast celebrating Easter with these young people's baptisms.

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
The baptism is recorded on the video below--if you have time, please celebrate with us!


Melissa said...

How wonderful to see these baptisms and remember my own.
I hope to see you all at ICCS again someday.
~Melissa McLeod

Jeff Iversen said...

Stan, Thank you for sharing this powerful moment. It brought back memories of my own baptism at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago (1971) at a large Jesus Rally.