This next month, I am thinking about taking my family and the church staff out for a cook-at-table style BBQ restaurant. All of us have been busy this summer, so we are planning to have this gathering as a token of our appreciation for members’ hard work.
We plan to start a praise time at our Sunday school since we currently only have time for the sharing and hearing of the Word of God.
Thank you for your continued prayers. During this summer, I have been serving at various youth camps. I am a little bit strained from summer fatigue. However, overall, my physical condition has been protected. I am now able to get over the intense schedule I had for a while, and although the lingering summer heat is still continuing, I will continue to work while taking more frequent time off. The people at the church are concerned about my busy schedule and are praying for me. I am thankful for that, one the other hand, I realized that I should try not to make them worry about me. I am also trying to manage my schedule better in order to maintain my whole health as well.
My wife has quit her part-time job and it seems that she has been spending her time in a more liberated way, doing household chores with ease, thinking and spending more time on church ministry matters, and praying more. Thus, my wife seems to be able to spend more meaningful time lately. Her being able to quit her job just when I was in a busy period makes me feel that God’s timing is amazing. Our children are on summer vacation from school and are happy to attend the child day service from morning to evening every day. We are thankful.
Pray that I will be able to share my vision with the church: “A church where the Lord’s light shines brightly.” I pray for clarity in sharing, and that the vision can be more concrete and real in daily lives among members. I have been meditating on this vision statement and defining it myself, so I hope the Lord will give me wisdom and help the church move toward that vision. Pray that those who agree with our vision will be added to the church and that Christ’s church will be built. Thank you for your prayers and support. Pay the Lord bless you richly.
Pastor Yuta Nakayama & his family
Pastor Yuta Nakayama Testimony
I was born and raised as a pastor’s kid. At the age of six, I was baptized, really wanting to believe in Jesus. However, because I did not truly understand that I was a sinner, I also did not understand the cross of Christ. That was the start of my ‘religious life.’ In other words, my faith was not really my own, and my relationship with God was weak throughout my childhood. That kind of faith made a living as a Christian painful. Worship service each Sunday, prayer meetings, evangelism with my family in front of the train stations, helping with church activities, etc., was such a burden. It seemed that those who did not believe in God lived freely, happily, and full of joy.
I was envious of my friends who fell in love and dated and had fun just fooling around on Sundays. Because I knew the Word, I felt guilty about my own sin. I would think, “What a rotten family I was born into!”
Despite all these internal conflicts, I attended church meetings and never missed a Sunday service. And that made me proud, and I started judging other people! And so on Sundays, I lived as a Christian, and the rest of the week, I lived like a man of the world. I became a nominal Christian and started making lots of mistakes that I was uncomfortable admitting to the people at church.
When I was 20, we were given time to pray in response to the sermon at a meeting. For the first time, I was given the desire to respond to Jesus’ words, “Follow Me.” The Cross appeared in front of me, and I knew that Jesus was in front of me. I experienced His presence for the first time. Surrounded by the love of Jesus, I could only shed tears. When illuminated by the light of Jesus’ love, it also brought my dirty heart into the light, and for the first time, I realized what a ridiculous sinner I was. In my heart, I asked Jesus, “Do you love me even though I am so dirty?” He said, “I love you and was crucified for you.” He spoke so kindly. With that one moment, I understood the meaning of the cross, that Jesus did give up his life for such a ridiculous sinner. This was the moment when my faith became my own, true, genuine faith. Then Jesus told me something else. “You will be happiest working for me for your entire life.” It was an invitation to dedicate myself to Him. I was surprised at this sudden development, but I confessed to Him that I would obey. So my encounter with the cross and my call to ministry happened at the same time.
More than 15 years have passed since then, and I can say what the Lord said was true. There are many hardships in working for the Lord, and it is a good reminder of my weaknesses. But it is the best way to know and rely on the Lord. And now I can confess that there is no happier path that being one with the Lord and serving him with my life.