A Shepherd-Friendly Christmas
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” ~ Isaiah 43:19
Perhaps it wasn’t the Christmas we were dreaming of, but God was at work in disruptive ways.
Have you ever thought about how Mary and Joseph were praying as they approached Bethlehem? Surely they must have prayed that there would be a place for them to stay and a safe place to give birth. As a father, I can only imagine how Joseph felt about not being able to provide a suitable place for Mary to give birth. Then to see how God worked through this by bringing the shepherds to worship at the manger. It must have been devastating (in a good way). This gives us perspective regarding times when our prayers seem to go unanswered. Are we willing to let God write His story upon our lives?
This Christmas, we were not able to attend Christmas Pageants or invite guests over to our home as usual, but we got to do some different things that might become new traditions. We usually like to have singles over for Christmas dinner but this year we delivered dinner to some friends instead. Usually we have Christmas day just for the family, but this year we all went downtown to sing carols with the park church. This kind of Christmas is less polished but more shepherd-friendly.
God continues to bring people to the park where we are ministering. This week while we were sharing the gospel with one man, another man strolled into the group and started talking about smoking marijuana. We shared the good news with him as well and he soon decided to receive Jesus. While we were praying with him, it turned into a session of casting out demons. It turns out that when he was young he went to a Buddhist temple and heard a groaning voice there which he took to be the voice of a god. This led him into pursuing the supernatural and soon into talking with Satan. He had been talking to Satan for ten years when we met him on Monday. Even though he had accepted Jesus it took a lot of prayer before he was willing to cut ties with Satan. He wants to be baptized on Thursday. Please pray that Maeda-san will come to be baptized and that he will become a teammate in sharing the gospel in Osaka.
By the way, the man that we were originally ministering to (Shota) also received healing. When my teammates laid hands on him to pray for his body he instead received healing in his heart. I wish you could have seen the expression on his face! It was a mixture of surprise and fear and sadness and hope. He said that when they touched him he suddenly felt like he was able to want to be a better person (Did you know that you can pass on faith and hope like this?!). After this he asked for a Bible and he said that he would keep it with him until he dies! Let’s pray that Shota will read his Bible and surrender his life to Jesus.
Thank you for praying,
Cory and Masami
Partner with God’s work in Japan in 2021
Pray – If you want to pray together with others for Japan, please click here to join Multiply House of Prayer via Zoom on Friday evening at 6PM CST.
Give – If God is calling you to give financially, please click here.
Go – I guess you cannot come to us right now, but to know God’s heart for Japan, please watch this video Why Japan.
- God has sent many people (who are ready to meet Jesus) to the park church.
- We were able to have a refreshing family time over Christmas.
- The opportunity to learn to let go of control through the fostering experience.
- New and old friends Jesus connected us with in 2020 despite COVID.
- Pray for our children who are going back to school this week.
- The English Bible Cafe (Ishibashi MB Church) is restarting on January 21st. Pray that Shunsaku encounters Jesus.
- Pray Japanese brothers and sisters to be sent out to the harvest fields. May Jesus bring people who are ready to meet Him to these brothers and sisters.
- Pray for our family as we work toward welcoming a 5-year old boy to our family through the foster care program (has been challenging).