Japan has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world, and it is the leading cause of death among those aged 15-39. September 1st is the worst day for teen suicides in Japan. (Click here to read more.) Please pray for the lost and hopeless in Japan. They need the gospel yet gospel messengers are so few.

Bad news first: Since we’ve been asked many times, yes, we heard the tragic news about the Pals, a young family of five who were killed in a car accident on their way to final missionary training for Japan. And yes, though we do not know them we are deeply grieved. In reading their blog here, we both share their church planting vision for Japan and feel their heartaches in seeking financial partners. We would have enjoyed working with them for the sake of the gospel in Japan.

We want to share a tiny part (you can listen to the entire prayer here) of John Piper’s prayer at their funeral: “Lord, in the name of Jesus, and by the blood of these five, I ask, raise up — raise up! — a legion of replacements for the global glory of his imperial Majesty, Jesus Christ. Forbid that any of your children would hear of this news, and waste their lives on trifles.”

Yes, Lord! Japan needs — the world needs — more dedicated Christians both in sending and going! Those willing to sacrifice to go to a dark and difficult strange foreign country for your glory, Lord, and those willing to sacrifice by giving so others may go. Work in the hearts of your children to give and to go so that the millions who have never heard your message, more than 100 million Japanese, may hear and believe and glorify your name across the earth.

We also pray along with our brother, John, “that the great idols of gold and silver and material success would fall before the blood of this family — that these five, even these three little ones, who have now grown to the fullness of their glory and the perfection of beauty, not through the trials of three score and ten, but in the twinkling of an eye — that these all — all five — might be found among the champions of the victory of the gospel in Japan.” May your name be glorified even in the dark country of Japan and throughout the world, to the praise of your glorious grace, Amen!

Please join with us in mourning for the loss of this young family of five and praying for the lost in Japan who do not have the great Hope the Pals were planning to share with them.

And as we mourn and pray because of the loss of this family of co-laborers we also rejoice in how God is working to answer our prayers.

Here is the good news: Because God arranged some providential meetings a few days ago, we have some exciting partner projects in the works. We’ll share more in our next update as some of the details are worked out.

We want to say thanks to your loving response for help. Our goal to be at 40% by the end of August has not changed. With new financial partners added this past month, we are now just over 25% of our needed $6600/month to leave for Japan. However, many friends and family in Japan have also committed to partnering with us financially. We are working on adapting our mission board’s support system to accommodate the Japanese support which will raise our support levels significantly.

If you still want to help us reach our monthly support goal:

First, join our monthly support team. Paul might have been a tent-maker, but he had a support team of individuals and churches. If you haven’t already, click here and sign up with a monthly pledge amount of $200, $100, $50 or $20. (Email us if you have trouble with this so we can help set it up.)

Second, introduce us to someone you know who may be interested in partnering with us as well. Talk to your friends or family who may be interested in reaching the millions of lost in Japan. Talk to business owners looking for tax write-offs. Ask them to watch our video on our website. Help us get connected to them.

And above all continue to pray! We believe, if you are praying, God will lead you to help us in one of the ways above. We believe the more you are made aware of the spiritually destitute state of Japan and the more you pray for the needs there and for the worship of our King there, the more you will be lead to action.

Thank you for your interest in our ministry. We appreciate your love and care for us. We are excited and humbled to be working together with you to take the gospel to the many lost in Japan.

Nozomi and I believe that together with you, through His power, we can reach the millions of lost in Japan and see God transform the country from the 2nd largest unreached people group to a reached and reaching people group. God can do this and we have the honor of being used by Him to be part of the miracle by giving and going.

If you have any questions please email (vanningjapan@me.com) and communicate with us. We look forward to sharing more of our burden and vision with you.

We’re really going to miss my family when we leave for Japan. We loved spending time with my cousins on the Vanning side and their families. Hadn’t seen one cousin in almost 20 years.

The kids enjoyed dressing up like cows for free chicken with their friend from the nearby Japanese school.

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