Our concert went great. At first, we were hesitant to hold an event after the recent typhoon and its effects on the community. We sensed that it helped with the process of recovery for the people in our area, so we were glad we went ahead and did the concert. We had thirty-eight people in total, and twenty-seven of them were new individuals. We received donations from the attendees that we sent to the disaster relief center. We also allowed the volunteers to use our minitruck to assist in the relief efforts of clearing mud from the local community homes that had been caused by the flooding.
- Pray for the relief efforts to go smoothly and for people to come to know Christ.
We had quite a few elderly people who attended the concert. It was an excellent opportunity for our church to make a positive impression among the local people in the community. I will mention a few names so you can pray for them. It was the second time for Kimiko to come inside our church; she is in her early sixties, and we have a positive neighboring relationship. Takehiko is in his sixties, and Michiko is also in her sixties, they live on the same block.
- Pray for these people, Kimiko, Takehiko, and Michiko, that we would get to know each other better and to establish friendships with them.
Tadayoshi is one of our church members and a university professor of the Social Welfare Department. He is getting married, and the schedule has been set for the engagement ceremony next month and the wedding ceremony a few months after. Tadayoshi is a faithful attendee to our church, including the worship service, prayer group, and after-worship fellowship. He is also a committee member of the school’s establishment of a new graduate school.
- Pray that God will sustain Tadayoshi in his academic and professional field as well as his faith walk.
- Pray for his upcoming marriage and for his future wife.
Miwa came to the student’s fellowship we held as a follow-up after the concert. She is also attending the bible study conducted by Professor Tadayoshi on campus.
- Pray for Miwa’s salvation.
Masaru is in the process of recovering and regaining his health. We are hoping to start an individual Bible study with Masaru once he gets better.
Two of the Vietnamese trainees, Hi (twenty-five) and Cuong (eighteen), live in the east side neighboring company dorm. We invited them, but they were unable to come to the French Horn concert. However, our partner seminary student is keeping in touch with them, and we have invited them to another event.
The neighboring household and family of Ms. Aono came to the concert and brought their friend who is a doctor. Ms. Aono kindly informed us that the doctor enjoyed the show. Still, according to her, he was hesitant to come to church. We are hoping to get to know this doctor and are praying that he connects with Ms. Aono and attends the church.
My wife Sayoko had surgery on her hip joint recently, and the operation went well. She is doing rehab every day, and the pain is gradually decreasing. My wife says that rehab is tough, but she is hopeful that it will help her walk freely in a few weeks. Please remember me in your prayers at this time. I have taken over my wife’s responsibilities at church, including the prep for lunch fellowship and cleaning the worship hall in addition to my regular duties.
- Pray for healing for Sayoko.
- Pray for Pastor Suzuki as he balances multiples roles.
The number of international students from Korea has decreased so there has been some discussion regarding housing. The decision was made that instead of renting and living in the same dorm in a large building, there will be two students who are moving into the pastors’ residence. They are both aiming to enter graduate school.
We are praying for the Nagano Typhoon Aftershock Task Force to have a smooth handover of some activities to the local government offices. This group was initiated by a coalition of the local Christian churches.
- Pray for this transition and for the community to continue recovering from this natural disaster.
- Pray for the upcoming baptism of Ken, who is in his fifties.
The typhoon a couple of months ago affected our area. The local train service was suspended, and many of the surrounding major roads were closed due to water damage. The Chikuma River flooded, and this affected a vast area of Nagano city. Three of the people were not able to come to church services.
Our church building was used as a base for the volunteers to help with recovery activities. I am one of the committee members of the Kita-Shinshu (Northern Nagano area) Christ Churches Disaster Relief Task for the team. We received volunteers from all over Japan.
Ishizaka recently started coming to our church service. He was affected by the typhoon. He appreciated that I helped him clear the mud and do house cleaning.
- Pray for salvation for Ishizaka.
- Pray for the disaster relief team efforts and for financial needs to be met.
Chie is a professor at Nagano University of Health and Medicine. She is a new professor at this school and moved from another city. Chie saw our web page when she was searching for a church. We encouraged her to continue to come to the services.
- Pray for Chie as she adapts to this new town and job.
- Pray for her to become a part of the church.
We are planning our first classical concern at our new church building. Shiro Miyata will be playing the French Horn, and we have distributed many tracts and flyers for the concert as well as putting an ad in the local news publication. We are praying that the two Vietnamese trainees, Hi and Cuong, will be able to come to the horn concert. We also invited the doctor’s family, who are our west neighbors.
Tadayoshi is a university professor and a member of our church. He is getting married next year. We are very excited as this will be the first couple at our church. Professor Tadayoshi is leading a Bible study. Two junior students of Nagano University, Hina and Miwa, are attending his group. They are also planning to come to our horn concert.
- Pray for Tadayoshi and his finance as they prepare to get married.
- Pray for Tadayoshi as he leads the Bible study and specifically for Hina and Miwa to be saved.
My wife Sayoko is having surgery on her hip joint and is expecting to be in the hospital for several weeks. Pray for her surgery to go well. Others will be covering the preparations for the lunch fellowship. Pray for the logistics and resources.
Some of our upcoming events include the Christmas event for Children and the Celebration Christmas Worship. Pray for these events to go smoothly and for the love of God to be shown. We also have a baptism coming up, Mr. Igarashi will be the first one to be baptized at our group. Praise the Lord.
We had an outing to the zoo on a recent Sunday afternoon. Seven people attended, mostly college students and international students. Miwa, a Nagano University student, also joined us for this event.
Hina and Miwa are both students at Nagano University and came to our special summer outdoor worship. They also attend a Bible study held by Professor Tadayoshi Suzuki in his office.
- Pray for them to continue to go to this Bible study and other on-campus Christian activities.
- Pray for Hina and Miwa to come to know Jesus Christ.
Tadahiro is a man in his eighties. He was brought to church by Masaru during the summer. They together attended the Introductory Bible study. However, Masaru has not been feeling well lately, so our meetings have been postponed until he gets better.
- Pray for the health of Masaru to improve so we will be able to resume the introductory Bible study. Masaru’s wife is a Christian, but Masaru is not.
We were blessed with a volunteer team from the West Kanto region Evangelical Free Church group that came for the fourth year in a row. Fifty-seven people from thirteen churches passed out tracts to four-thousand, eight-hundred and sixty-four households in the area. Each year we always have new people who come to church after seeing one of these flyers. We are praying for some new people to come this year as well.
- Pray for a positive response to the flyer dispersed by the volunteer team.
- Pray for the Japanese people to come to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Two women were led to our church through the flyers. Yaeko is in her seventies, and Yui is in her twenties. Unfortunately, they are irregular attendees and tend to be absent from services frequently. I am sensing they need appropriate teaching and discipleship.
- Pray for Yaeko and Yui to be faithful in serving the Lord.
Our seminary students have become friends with two of the Vietnamese trainees. Hi is twenty-five and Cuong is eighteen. As I had mentioned in previous reports, on the east side of our neighborhood, a company built a dorm to house their employees in training. We passed our Vietnamese Bibles and a novel by a Christian author, Ayako.
- Pray for these young trainees to be led to a church and come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
We are planning our first Classical Concert at our new church building for this month. Brother Shiro will be playing the French horn accompanied by a pianist, Yumi.
- Pray for Shiro and Yumi.
- Pray for this outreach opportunity and for the local people to be willing to step inside the church building.
My wife Sayoko will be having surgery on her hip joint. Pray for God to sustain her before the surgery as she prepares lunch for fifteen people after church every Sunday. She will be hospitalized for several days before the surgery. Pray for her recovery.
- Pray for our future Christmas events. We are planning an event for the children and a Celebration Christian Worship service for the Sunday before Christmas.
- Pray for Mr. Igarashi; he is the first one to be baptized in our group.
- Pray for strength and courage to publicly proclaim his faith.
We had a special summer event, an outdoor worship service at Obuse local park. Preaching was done by Mr. Kim, a seminary student. After the service, we had a barbecue. Two students from Nagano University, Miwa and Hina, joined us at this event; they are both in their Junior year.
- Pray for Miwa and Hina to seek for the truth. We pray for them to be led to an on-campus Bible group, join a local church, and come to faith in Christ.
Ishizak has surrendered his life to Christ. We have been speaking with him and sharing the gospel for the last three years.
Praise the Lord for Ishizak coming to salvation.
- Pray for him to grow in his knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.
We held an outreach worship service. Our guest preacher was Pastor Masatoshi Hamaoka, chairman of the Evangelical Free Church of Japan. His wife, Norika, led a gospel concert. A new family joined us for this event, the father’s name is Masaru and he has three children. His daughter Yuri was very emotional during the gospel concert. He has two sons; Kento is in seventh grade and Kouki is in sixth. After the event, Masaru inquired about our Bible study option and we decided to do an introductory Bible study course with him every Tuesday. Masaru’s wife is a Christian already and is a member of another church, but she recommended a friend to join the Bible study with Masaru.
- Pray for this family to come to know the Lord.
- Pray for Masaru to attend the introductory Bible study and learn from God’s Word.
Naoto is a believer from another Evangelical Free Church in Kansai, the west-central part of Japan. He was recently transferred to the Nagano area. Naoto drives from the city of Matsumoto, for an hour on the highway, to come to our church. He has various concerns about his work environment and situation; we are always delighted to listen and spend time with him.
- Pray for Naoto to grow in his faith and relationship with God.
- Pray for his work situation to become more settled.
A volunteer team from the West-Kanto region Evangelical Free church will be sent to our area. Our project is to circulate tracts with our church information to three-thousand households. In the past two years we have done similar projects and have had approximately a hundred volunteers assisting with this outreach. We are thankful for their assistance. Each year, at least a couple of people are led to our church from this outreach.
- Pray for the volunteer team to have safe travels, unity, and joy as they spread the gospel tracts to the people in Nagano.
- Pray for new people to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and join the church.
Recently, a company dorm was established on the east side of our neighborhood block. About twenty Vietnamese live there and are participating in a three-year training program for the same company. Several seminary students we work with closely, have visited this residence. The occupants are male and female; the average age is twenty years old. We requested a friend to send us Vietnamese Bibles and tracts to distribute. We are hoping to make good use of these resources when they arrive.
- Pray for these young trainees to come to know God.
- Pray for good conversations and for the seminary students to have boldness and wisdom as they share the good news.
We are planning our first classical concert at our new church building in a few weeks. Brother Shiro will be playing the french horn. Each autumn we have had a music outreach like this with an average of forty people. I have observed that the people in this area enjoy music and are willing to come to a concert. In the past, we have rented a space at the community center for these special events but now we have our own building. We are praying for this concert to be a great opportunity to spread the gospel in our community.
- Pray for the concert preparations to go smoothly and for a great audience.
- Pray for those who attend to return for church and to come to know God.
Hiromi is a physician at Mitsui Memorial Hospital and the daughter of the orthopedic surgeon next door. We are praying she will be able to come to the concert.
- Pray for my son, Naoki. He is a freshman at the Japan Bible Seminary.
- Pray for my wife who will be having surgery on her hip soon.
As we begin our fourth year of this church plant, more newcomers have started to attend. We have four members of the church, our worship and prayer meetings average nine to eleven people. Every Thursday for the Introductory Bible Study, we usually have a couple of non-believers who are curious about the Bible and salvation.
Maiko is in her thirties and married. She and her husband have faced some challenges in their married. We had our first session of family focus marriage relationships class with this couple, I desire to make it a weekly meeting with them. Maiko is considering doing an individual introductory Bible class with me as well.
- Pray for Maiko and her husband to apply the Biblical principles gained through this class to their lives and relationship with each other.
- Pray for them to seek to understand, truly listen, and forgive each other.
- Pray for Maiko’s interest in learning more about the Bible.
Ken accepted the Lord in July of last year and has been attending the Bible study every week. He is in his forties and lives with his mother who has dementia, this has been affected by Ken’s daily life. Recently, it came about that Ken and his mother could start receiving appropriate care and logistical support by a local bureau. Our prayer request is for Ken to have a clear understanding of his assurance of salvation and his new life in Christ. We are praying for Ken to be ready for baptism around Christmas time.
- Pray for Ken to grow in his faith and understanding of God’s Word.
- Pray for his preparations for baptism and the public statement of faith that baptism proclaims.
- Pray for Ken’s mother to receive appropriate care and for Ken as he supports her daily.
Mr. Yoshimura runs his own business, a sports club for elderly people. I have shared in previous reports about his story and his wife Mie Kim, who is from Korea. Mr. Yoshimura is getting busier each month and sees this as a challenge since he is not able to attend the church due to his work responsibilities. We are corresponding by mail and visiting him occasionally. So far we have had dinner with this couple twice. We are thankful for the help we received from Mr. Yoshimura two years ago with our building project.
- Pray for Mr. Yoshimura and his wife to come to faith in Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the busyness of his life to not stop Mr. Yoshimura from learning more about the Bible and studying about salvation.
Katsunori started attending our group three years ago, he is single and has some gender identity disorder as I shared in previous reports. We have been showing care for him by talking with him almost every day of the past three years, and quite recently he has been consistent in attending the Sunday service every week. We are starting an introductory Bible study with him soon.
- Pray for Katsunori to find the truth and understand the gospel.
- Pray for his repentance and belief in Jesus Christ.
- Pray for wisdom for the pastor as he teaches and explains the Bible.
Yaeko found our church flyer back in September of last year. She is married and in her early seventies. Yaeko and her husband used to run a Japanese restaurant in the United States. Their son now has ownership of the restaurant, and this couple returned to Japan for retirement. Their daughter is a Christian and married to an American missionary. They serve in Iruma, Saitama Japan as church planters. Yaeko considers herself a confessed believer; however, I have observed that she might not have a proper understanding of the Bible not having done an individual Bible study with anything. We are hoping to assist her in reestablishing her faith walk. Yaeko’s husband is good friends with us but not a believer.
- Pray for Yaeko to grow in her understanding of salvation and to have an assurance of her faith in Jesus Christ.
- Pray for her husband to come to realize his need for a savior and to believe in God.
We dedicated our new building to the Lord last month. Twenty churches in Japan associated with the Evangelical Free group support our church in the two-and-a-half-month-long construction process. We are asking for your prayers for our church’s growth. We will receive funding from the group for the support of our construction loan for the next seven years and personnel support for two more years.
- Pray for our evangelism to the community and for people to come to faith.
- Pray for our church to grow and become self-sustaining.
- Pray for our trust and reliance upon God to provided for our needs and support our growth.
- Pray for physical health and spiritual growth for my wife and myself.
May/ June 2019
We have been a church plant for three years. Our average attendance at worship is ten people. We have four members, and nine people attend the prayer meeting. Every Thursday, we hold an introductory Bible study and a couple of people interested in salvation come each week, but they are not yet believers. We are making an effort every year, to circulate a pamphlet with our information to the nearby five-thousand households.
Maiko was introduced to us through another church in the northern part of the prefecture, she is in her thirties. We have heard that Maiko and her husband are struggling with issues in their marriage. Maiko’s parents live near our church, and so she attended our service. The same week, on Saturday, Maiko brought her husband to the church, and we got to know them better. It was decided that I would meet with them regularly to provide marriage counseling. They live in Komoro city, which is not close, so I am thinking of introducing them to a church nearer to their house. I believe it is still good for me to counsel them for the time being, especially as Maiko will be coming to our area as her parents are here.
- Pray for wisdom for Pastor Suzuki as he counsels this couple.
- Pray for Maiko and her husband to commit to learning from God’s Word and applying His principles to their relationship.
Ken is a new Christian; he accepted the Lord last July and has been attending the Introductory Bible study every week. He speaks fluent Russian and is very gifted in language acquisition. However, we were observing some mental issues and later learned that a school nurse diagnosed him with Asperger’s syndrome. He seems to be able to interact without difficulty with particular people within his comfort zone. Ken lives with his mom and shared concerns with us about his mom having dementia.
- Pray for Ken to continue attending the Bible study and worship service each week.
- Pray for Ken to continue to have an assurance of his salvation and to grow in his faith.
We first met this couple, Yoshimura and Mie, about two years ago. Yoshimura studied abroad in New Zealand when he was younger. While in New Zealand, a thief broke into his room, and a Christian church helped him with this incident. He met his wife there, who is Korean, and they were married and later moved to Nagano city, his hometown. Yoshimura is in his thirties and owns a sports club specialized for elderly people. His father is a doctor who helped him establish this company. Nagano is a region with many ultra-traditional people, and the locals are not accepting of international marriages. As Mie is Korean, a foreign nationality, there have been times when the community did not receive her. Mie’s constant local difficulties have affected their marriage life. As Yoshimura was dealing with these issues at the company and at home, he thought it was time to get help. Then he remembered the time when he was helped by a church, so he called us. Mie seems not to have great memories of churches from her youth. Her mother is a Christian, back in Korea, and Mie is against her mother’s faith. They are going through some life issues at the moment, but we are keeping in touch with them. They are a warm and friendly couple who have given us great help and advice in the past. We build a small but new worship center last December and they introduced us to an architect and builder.
- Pray for Yoshimura and Mie to seek God for the solution to their difficulties. Pray for their salvation.
Katsunori started to come to our group, he saw our church tract about three years ago. He is single, lives alone, and is in his sixties. Katsunori used to have much trouble around town with the people in the local shops and at the social welfare office. He seems to be lonely. He used to dress like a young female, and later we learned that he has a gender identity disorder. I did my own research about this disorder to learn more general information. As a minister, I sense I need wisdom from God each time I meet with Katsunori, in talking and reaching with the truth. Fortunately, he has opened his heart and shared with me, we talk on the phone almost every day. These days, he tends to wear more male clothes when he attends church on Sunday. Pray that we would start to have an individual Bible study soon.
- Pray for the pastor to have wisdom as he teaches Katsunori about God’s Word and for guidance in his conversations.
- Pray for Katsunori to understand salvation and come to faith in Jesus Christ.
Please pray for my health and the health of my wife. Until early last year, my artificial cardiac pacemaker was not an issue. After fainting one day, I went to the local clinic where the doctor suspected I had cancer and sent me to the hospital. After thorough tests, the doctor decided I did not have cancer. I have been functioning normally since then. I still see a doctor regularly and take medication. My wife, Sayoko, was diagnosed with coxarthrosis (osteoarthritis of the hip) as a child. Lately, she has had some pain in her feet and has been seeing a therapist.
- Pray for the physical health of Pastor Suzuki.
- Pray for Sayoko’s pain to be reduced and for the therapy to offer relief.