“Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
These verses from Matthew apply to me wherever I go. I’m slowly getting settled in my apartment and as I continue to go through boxes, I’m ‘decluttering’ once again over here (just as I did in Abbotsford before leaving). I like to hang on to ‘stuff’ that truly isn’t necessary and the hardest part for me is parting with hundreds of cards and letters that I have saved for 16 years. Going through each one brought back wonderful memories for me, but I realize that I can’t keep everything for ever. So I took mental pictures of all of them and kept a few (especially from people who have passed away now) and will keep working on this ‘project’ until all my boxes are unpacked. Matthew 6 reminds us “For where your treasure is, there are truly in Heaven! I’m saving the Christmas stuff for October/November as I can take a lot of decorations and such to the recycle shops where other people might be able to enjoy them in their homes for a few years.
As you have all heard by now, on July 8th former Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was assassinated. It was such a devastating and shocking blow to the country, especially as any form of gun violence is so rare here. It sent the country into deep mourning. Please pray for his wife, Akie and that God will give her comfort and peace. There will be a state funeral for Mr. Abe in the autumn. Please pray too for the man who shot Mr. Abe. His mother was a member of a ‘church’ in Japan and had sold off all their property and homes and donated the money to this church. This left the family bankrupt and without any financial means of supporting themselves. The son could not cope with this and held a grudge against Mr. Abe. Pray that the Japanese people would come to know what the true church is and that God is the head of the church, not a person or group of people, but God himself. Please pray for me to find ways to communicate this to the students so that they will not associate cult groups with the true church!
It’s been wonderful reconnecting with many friends and church members in the past couple weeks. As summer goes on, I’ll keep meeting with a number of people before classes begin on Sept. 1st. Catching up hasn’t been difficult as it feels like I haven’t really left. With Covid, people didn’t travel or go out much so we are sort of still in the same place we were when I went back to Canada at the end of November in 2019. Praise the Lord for these relationships and please pray they will continue to grow. Pray that as I share the ‘miracle’ of my return to Japan that their hearts will be open to receiving Jesus!
We have has a very hot, humid, and wet July so far. Our rainy season isn’t over yet, and there has been severe flooding in several parts of Japan. Although we’ve had huge dumps of rain off and on, we have been fortunate in the Nagoya area and haven’t had the flooding and land/mud slides that many other prefectures have suffered. Please pray that the rains will end soon and waters will recede. It brings back lots of memories of last November in Abbotsford & Chilliwack where the valley flooded and people had to be evacuated.
This past weekend, several church members and kids from Fujigaoka Christ Church attended a retreat for the Children’s Sunday School. Because my knees have been giving me lots of problems, I chose to stay home. Pray that through the event, many children came to Christ and that lives will be changed! As well, we were supposed to have a kids summer event on July 29th & 30th but due to the continued increase of Covid cases in Japan, it has been cancelled. Please pray that we will have an opportunity in August to have an event for the kids so they can experience the joy of Jesus.
Although I live about 1 km away from Fujigaoka Station, I have been able to walk there a couple of times. It gives me the opportunity to meet with some former students, as well as to travel into Sakae (city hub of Nagoya). Usually by the time I get to the station I’m soaked from the humidity, but it is so worthwhile to be able to see my friends and to get around a bit. Please pray for the opportunity to purchase a small used car. It would make things a little easier, especially for carrying heavy groceries home! I was able to renew my Japanese driver’s license for another 3 years, and my apartment rent includes a parking spot (which is usually very expensive).
Thank you once again for your support, prayers, and love. It is such a joy to be back and reconnect with so many people. I’m looking forward to when the classes begin so that I can continue sharing God’s love with the student during chapel time.
Some praise items:
- Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and guidance as I continue to unpack and settle in.
- Praise God for the opportunity to meet with former students and choir members.
- Praise God for continued good health, even though my knees are not liking all the rain!
Some prayer requests;
- Pray for the church ESL program and that more students will join in September. Pray for Marl Kane as he wraps up 8 years of teaching at Fujaoka and Komaki. Pray that as he starts up classes once more at Toyota Church that many of the former students will return.
- Pray for Akie Abe, and the country of Japan, as we all mourn the loss of Shinzo Abe.
- Pray for the Giesbrechts as they wrap up their MINA in Canada and prepare to return to Japan.
I pray that you will all continue to enjoy your summer and may God bless you!
With love and hugs,