God provided a cheap vacation rental in Yugawara (only about 2 hours driving from us), a place with beautiful mountains and beaches that display His glory. It was a refreshing time together as a family.

I waited until now to write this update because now we have been in Japan for one year. We’ve had a wonderful year of blessing here in Japan. It’s such a blessing being a Christian in general. God has welcomed us into fellowship with Him even though there is nothing in us deserving such kindness. Even in the difficult times, which we’ve already been facing here, we know God is using those times to build our faith and to draw us into deeper love and appreciation for Him.

We have a number of praises in which our God has worked incredibly, just in the last few weeks. I’d like to share two. First, Nozomi and I both failed the ridiculously nitpicky driving test to get our Japanese licenses. Our international driving permits are no longer usable in Japan after one year of living here. So that means we can no longer drive in Japan until we pass the test. How is this a praise? Well, the evening we failed the test I asked for prayer on Facebook. A fellow missionary mentioned if we had an old expired Japanese driving license we might be able to use it to get a new license without a test. Nozomi never drove in Japan, but I did about 15 years ago. We searched through the house and found my old license. Then we went to the DMV with lots of prayers and the slight hope that somehow at least I might be able to continue driving. To make a long story short, after about 4 hours waiting, I was able to use my old, 12-years-expired license to get a new one! Please pray for Nozomi as she still needs to pass her retest on October 22nd. If she doesn’t pass this second attempt it will cost us thousands of dollars for her to get licensed.

Second, I also had to renew my visa to stay here. To make another long story short, I was accused of lying on my application to extend my visa because I misunderstood a question. The worker publicly yelled at me and said I should be deported. We, of course, were very worried about this the last few days. However, apparently, the worker still turned in my application, because we just received a notice to come to pick up my renewed visa. God is good! Please pray we have no more “scares” when we go to pick up my new resident card. 

Please continue to pray for my Japanese studies. I thought I knew so much Japanese until I started taking classes. Now I see how much I do not know! Despite that, God is helping me learn Japanese. My goal for the end of this year is to memorize the meanings of each of the 2100 common Japanese kanji (word symbols). I believe this will greatly help me with my vocabulary retention. Continue to pray for me as I work toward the ultimate goal of preparing and preaching sermons in Japanese. (Not writing in English and then translating it into Japanese, but actually writing the whole sermon in Japanese and then speaking in Japanese.)

Keep praying for the kids. Their greatest need is for God to use the Gospel in their hearts. They need a relationship with God. I can see God working a tenderness to spiritual things in their lives. However, I also can see moralistic/legalistic attitudes in their hearts as they constantly and gracelessly try to get each other in trouble by exposing each other’s mistakes and sins.

Kensei and I both had to get new glasses. We are taking Kensei to a larger eye hospital in a week. The doctors here still seem to think the only option for him is surgery. However, our doctor in the US did not believe surgery would help his particular case. I’ve heard of exercises (that were developed in Japan) that can be done to help Kensei control his eyes, but so far have not been able to find a doctor here who knows about this. Pray that we can find a good second opinion who knows of this particular training technique.

We are still praying for Gospel-centered Christian friends and fellowship. Every Christian needs a Christian community who loves and encourages, prays and cares for one another. It is so important for any Christian to effectively grow and mature in their faith. Pray for us as we pray about where God would have us begin planting a church. We are still praying about possibly planting an international church here in the West Makuhari area. Pray for God to give us wisdom as we seek His guidance for next steps to take once my full-time Japanese language studies are finished.

Please pray the Christians here will understand the importance of the Gospel, which brings unity and power in living our everyday lives and the importance of the church as a community (not a building or meeting) of believers who are working together with the various gifts God has given each person to make Jesus famous. This is so very important.

Here’s a link to our video about the need in Japan and here’s a link to our website. You can become a support partner on our website by clicking on the “support” button (or just click hereand signing up with a monthly pledge. If you would like to increase your monthly pledge amount, the easiest way is to call our mission board at 603-821-5232 so they can adjust your pledge amount over the phone. Let your friends know about our ministry by sharing our video or website on Facebook.

In Japan, all the kids wear these leather backpacks called, “randoseru.” They’re expensive, but they are supposed to last all 6 years of elementary. This bag is a gift from Nozomi’s parents.

Everywhere you go in Japan you will see little shrines and worship spots where people make offerings to spirits of rocks or trees or statues. But the God we worship didn’t just make the rocks and trees, He made the spirits too. There is no god beside Him.