Friday, January 29, 2010

The Facts -- What it will take for us to return to Japan

What Do We Need To Go?
There is no substitute for people devoted to prayer for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as we serve in ministry, and for those who are hearing the message and responding to the call to follow Jesus. If God has called you to pray, please be sure you are on our e-mail update mailing list. The subscription form is in the right margin of this blog.

There are specific financial requirements we must reach in order to return to Japan in July. If God leads you to be a part of this, please send your support gift along with a note indicating it is for the De La Cour Ministry to Asian Access, P.O. Box 200, San Dimas, CA 91773. (Gifts in Yen can be sent to the address at the bottom of this posting).

~Over the next three months we need to raise an additional $5,000 in special gifts to be used for travel here in the US as we visit our supporting constituency around the country. (We would also welcome airline miles—contact us for more details).

~By June we will need to have increased our monthly support by $2,000.

~By July we will need an additional $15,000 in special gifts for start up expenses and returning to Japan. This would include funds for rental deposits (usually equal to 5 months rent), moving costs, and our return flight.

If you are interested in giving electronically please check out Options for Giving

Japanese Yen Support gifts can be sent via Postal Furikae to Postal Bank Account # 001004-463960 , Account Name アジアンアクセス (Please contact us if you choose to do this, so we can notify our Japan office to be designating the support gift to our ministry account.)

Tokorozawa Community Care Center

We've mentioned before that there is such a problem of depression in Japan, and how we have had to adjust our travel time expectations due to the high probability of a suicide on the tracks somewhere along our route.

Andy Meeko, a psychologist who works with Campus Crusade in Japan, and a key leader at the International Community Chapel of Saitama is starting a lay training program to teach people to work with depressed people. The announcement came out on a web posting today:

Suicides caused more than half the 40,600 train service delays across the Tokyo metropolitan area in 2008, and things are getting worse. Meanwhile, suicide hotlines are jammed —- it can take days and dozens of calls to get an emergency call through...For that matter, 80% suffering depression get no help at all.

Want to touch lives? Become the Difference!Depression-Care Counseling Training starts in February in Tokorozawa. Get vital answers, background, techniques, and plenty of hands-on experience for this critical need.

Access more information at:

A ministry of Tokorozawa Community Care Center.

Please be praying as this gets under way. We see it as an important way that Christian Japanese can positively impact the lives of the families and friends.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Memories over 30 years...

When Stan first went to Japan in 1979, he stayed with Pastor and Mrs. Kondo at Unoki Church in Otaku, Tokyo. He was part of a one-year program called CORE (Church Out Reach Evangelism). When I met Stan in 1982, I heard lots of stories about life at the Kondo's church, about "ojiisan" (grandfather), about the three daughters, and about the ministry of this church. Mrs. Kondo's reputation wasn't for her cooking--but she could pray! Pastor Kondo died a few years ago, and now a son-in-law is pastoring the church.

On Stan's days off, he would go for walks in the neighborhood--taking random turns left and right, and then would turn around and start asking people, Unoki kyokai doko desu ka...Where is Unoki Church? This was his way of making people aware of the presence of the church in the community.

One day, a young police officer came to the church because there were reports of this foreigner who was wandering the city looking for the church and he was asked to investigate! Mrs. Kondo brought him in, sat down and drank tea with him. His concerns were alleviated about the foreigner. He then opened up to Mrs. Kondo and talked about a suicide that he had been called on that had left him very troubled. Mrs. Kondo prayed with him.

We recently heard from a woman who now attends ICCS--after being introduced to us by the Kondos. This young woman really wanted her son to have an English education, so we introduced her to the Christian Academy in Japan. At that time her son was in preschool.

He is now in his first year of middle school (see above center). Because Unoki Church is their "home church" they travel down there on the first Sunday of every month. This month she sent photos of their visit. Mrs. Kondo looks healthy and has the same smile.

To the right is the Kondo's third daughter, Mitsuko, who is a nurse. She was just a little elementary student when Stan lived with them.

Many people have come through the doors of Unoki Church. Many people have been prayed for by Mrs. Kondo. We are thankful for her prayers for Stan, for me, and for our children.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Twenty Years Ago...

...seems like a very long time.

Twenty one years ago, we were on our first home assignment and were seeking God's direction on our next ministry when we returned to Japan. Our first term had started with two years of language school, the birth of our first child, and moving to the Tokyo area where Stan taught English as an outreach evangelism at a church that was being planted in Tokorozawa City. Stan had been invited to help begin the first Christian Cable Radio station in Japan, and so during that last year he was working nights and weekends getting and keeping "Friendship Radio" on the air. We experienced a personal tragedy right before leaving for the States on that home assignment, and left Japan wondering what we would do if/when we returned.

Towards the end of that home assignment, we got a note from our good friend Fred, who was also field leader for that term. He suggested we work with him to begin an International church that would meet in the main hall of our mission's office building. At that time, there were many foreigners working in Japan, and there seemed to be an open door to begin this ministry. This appealed to us, and the thought of working with Fred and his wife, Joy, was very exciting.

The church, which we all know as the International Community Chapel of Saitama (ICCS) began in the fall, 1990. So this will be our 20th year. We will probably post lots of "stories" from history over this next year.

Fred and Joy stayed in Japan a couple more years after we started the chapel, and then the Lord led them back to the States. We are sorry we couldn't serve together longer--it was so much fun to have partners.

On January 2, we met Fred and Joy at a restaurant here in Glendora, CA. They were visiting family members who live in the area. It was delightful to catch up with them a bit--and to reminisce about the few individuals they knew who have been at ICCS those full 20 years. God gave us a great start to this anniversary year through this visit with the other couple who shared those initial visions.