“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Luke 14:34-35
August has been very busy getting ready for classes and meeting with some former students. I have been blessed with safety in my travels, especially back and forth to Toyota City (about an hour’s drive now) where I’ve been going to physio for my knees. I went to see Sugiura sensei (the surgeon who performed both knee replacements) at Yoshida Orthopaedic Hospital. He said to give them 3 months and if nothing changes, we will go from there. It’s good to see how much he cares and wants to help me (the surgeon in Canada just brushed me off and said there is nothing they can do), so I’m praying that I’ll have results here in Japan. A wonderful blessing is that there is a new Yoshida Orthopaedic clinic about 5 minutes by car from my home, so I will transfer here in September for further treatment…praise the Lord!
Since I was in Toyota City twice a week, I was able to connect with a few former students as well. It was great to see these amazing ladies and hear what has been happening in their lives the past couple of years. For most of them, it was about staying close to home and spending lots of time with their families. Others have gone through serious health issues, and I ask you to pray for Toyoko, Yoko, and Rikako. During one lunch, a huge blessing was that one of the ladies asked me to pray for Rikako and her husband (who has cancer) so we did. Rikako was crying and said she was so grateful to hear me praying for them.
One Toyota church student, Sala Ishikawa, was blessed to have spent time in Australia studying during her last year of high school. After I settled into my apartment she came to visit me and I showed her how to bake muffins. We had a great time talking and sharing, and when I drove her home, her family invited me in for a visit there. It was great to have a time of sharing with them (4 family members were former students of mine at Toyota, including one of Sala’s grandmothers).
As most of you know, I like studying dinosaurs as one of my hobbies. It was so good to see the last of the Jurassic World movies, which was filmed quite extensively in the BC interior. I really enjoyed watching the movie with Nagisa (a former student from my first 7 years in Japan) and seeing so much of the BC interior throughout the movie! If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch the Jurassic movies, at least check out this one! I actually applied last year when they were going to film it to be in the movie as ‘dinosaur food’ but wasn’t selected…yes, please go ahead and laugh!! 😊
Keeping busy includes attending the OneVoice gospel choir again. I’ve joined the Nagakute group on Wednesday evenings as it’s much closer to my home. However, I wanted to see many of my friends from the Okazaki group which I used to attend on Friday afternoons. When I went there on Aug. 19th, another former member was also there. “Ayupon” now lives in Hiroshima but comes back to Okazaki every two months. It was really wonderful to see her and to sing with my friends again. I will try to attend this practice once a month (it’s about 90 minutes from my home). Please pray that I will be able to find opportunities to share about Jesus. From the Okazaki choir, 3 ladies started attending classes in Toyota over 6 years ago and heard the gospel each week. I had lunch with those ladies in July and will meet with them again in September. Next Wednesday (Aug. 31st) I have permission to hand out flyers in the choir practice for the ESL classes in Fujigaoka. Please pray some of the members will attend class and through chapel time they will hear about Jesus, whom they sing praises to at choir!
Japan continues to see a severe rise in the number of Covid cases, averaging over 100,000/day, with at least 100 deaths. It has had the highest number of cases in the world for 5 weeks straight…not a good record to hold! Masks are still mandatory in all public spaces, including restaurants and trains/buses, etc. Tourism is still restricted and any foreigner entering must have a specialized visa, or come in a tour group. I praise the Lord that I was able to return in June before the spike in cases. Domestic travel is very open and during the recent “Obon holiday” (where people travel back to their hometowns to pay respect to their ancestors), cases increased dramatically. Please pray for Japan and please pray that I will be able to stay healthy as classes start soon.
Some praise items:
- Praise the Lord for wisdom as I meet with former students and invite them to return to classes next month. I’m so grateful for the many connections I have made in July and August!
- Praise God that the Giesbrechts have returned and are back into their ministry roles. Pray for Cory as he takes members of the Roses Park Church on a missions trip the first weekend of September.
- Praise God for good health…thank you Lord!
Some prayer requests:
- Pray for me as classes begin on Sept. 1st at Fujigaoka Christ Church and on Sept. 6th at Komaki Hope Chapel. We have had a number of calls already from all the flyers we handed out the latter part of August. Pray for many new students to come and that we will plant a new harvest!
- Pray for Rikako’s husband “T” who has had part of a tumour removed from the base of his skull. The doctor was not able to remove it completely so it will grow back. Please pray for complete healing and for Rikako and her husband to feel God’ peace.
- Some former students have lost family members in the past year. God knows their names, and I ask you to lift up the families in prayer so that they would have peace and comfort.
- Pray for the Hieberts who will be coming to Toyota City in September to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Toyota Higashi Christ Church, which they founded. Pray for safety in their travels and that many of their former students will come to see them (and hopefully return to classes that Mark Kane will start in September).
Thank you so much for your support and prayers. If there is anything I can pray about for you, please let me know.
Blessings & love,