International Ministries

A Country Wedding!

May 11, 2010 Journal
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Our family drove up to the northern part of Japan for a special wedding last week.  It was a 16 hour drive up to the Nishikiyori Baptist Church where the pastor, Soichi Fujioka, was getting married to Sachiko Kimoto.

Soichi was a member of the Nishi Okamoto Church when we came to work with the church about 12 years ago. A few years ago when he told us he felt called to ministry we knew we would miss him. Just a year ago Soichi graduated from seminary and accepted the position as pastor of the Nishikiyori Church.  It is a great challenge since the church was without a pastor for 15 years and has about 5 or 6 members who attend on Sunday morning.  The church also runs a pre-school/day-care for about 90 children, so there is a great opportunity to meet the young families in the small rural community.

Sachiko was also a member of the Nishi Okamoto Church, and they asked if I would perform the marriage ceremony.  It turned out to be a beautiful day, and the wedding was a wonderful testimony to their faith. Judging by crowd, around 200, it was also a testimony to their winning personalities.  That’s right, a little country church where about 200 guests showed up for the wedding.  It was standing room only inside, and even with two overflow rooms, about 50 folks stood outside and watched through the sliding side doors.

I am guessing about half of the folks were from the village. People that Pastor Fujioka has come to know in his year of living and ministering in the community. Please pray for this couple, their marriage, their ministry and their support. As you might imagine a church with 6 members doesn’t pay a large salary.

Friends Friday

I am sorry we missed writing to you last month.  April is the beginning of the new school and church year in Japan.  Along with Pastor Takahashi, we started a group on Friday evening we are calling “Friends Friday” at Nishi Okamoto Church.  It is kind of an informal time, speaking English if you like but Japanese is okay, singing and Bible study time.  It was on the calendar to start the second Friday in April.  That week Mr. and Mrs. A, who live in the neighborhood, stopped by during our “Open Church” to look at the new church building.   Mr. A had studied in the US during college, and when he heard of “Friends Friday” he said he wanted to come.  A couple weeks later they both came on Sunday morning. Now we look forward to seeing Mr. A every Friday evening and both of them on Sunday mornings.  They are not Christians but always have good insights and questions to share.  They really have become two of our friends on Friday and Sunday. 

Pray for “Friends Friday” and especially for Mr. and Mrs. A as the gospel is shared in their lives.  Thank you always for remembering us in pray and with your support. The Lord continues to do amazing and wonderful things here.

Grace and Peace,

John