Our Journey to South Korea

March 25, 2011

Greetings from Seoul, Korea! We arrived safely and are doing well.  It has been a long journey but we are thankful that God led our way.

After leaving Sakata, we took a train to Niigata.  Luke slept the whole time and we were  able to get some rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Monday, we flew to Okinawa from Niigata.  It was Luke’s first flight and once again, he did great!  He was smiling at everyone around him.  Our suitcases were overweight (we packed everything that would fit in two suitcases, yet we had to leave so much stuff that we needed), but the airline staff didn’t charge us any fee since they knew that we had evacuated from Sendai.  Thank you, God!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we arrived in Okinawa, we rented a car and drove to our friend’s apartment.  She is our friend from DBU who became a believer while studying there.  She is teaching at Okinawa Christian School.  We are thankful for her hospitality.  We talked a lot and were able to encourage each other.  We also attended the chapel service at her school.  We had an awesome time of worship and God reminded us how great He is.  When we sang “Our God”, our hearts were filled with our prayers for the people of Japan.  We want them to know our God who is greater, stronger, and higher than any other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we were in Okinawa, we went to the US Consulate to apply for Luke’s emergency passport.  They closed the regular services due to the recent earthquake, but they were willing to help us after we told them our situation.  We applied and waited for a few hours.  Thanks to God’s provision and your prayers, we were able to get his emergency passport!  Praise the Lord.

After we got his passport, we were able to visit some of the famous places in Okinawa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we saw the beautiful ocean, we could not help but think of the same ocean that took so many lives.  There are so many that are still missing.  “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” This verse means so much to us right now.  We pray that we can praise God no matter what the situation is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our flight to Seoul was smooth and Luke even had his own bed!  We were welcomed by the staff of Dr. Billy Kim’s Broadcasting Company and he brought us to the church where we are staying.  The guest room is beautiful and we are so grateful that they are letting us stay here.  The church staff are very kind and we are enjoying our fellowship with them.  The pastor even brought rice, kimchi, and delicious dumplings for us!!! We are extremely blessed and thankful.

The director of GCPN (our sending organization) and our amazing friend are coming to visit us from Arlington this Sunday.  Words cannot express how thankful we are for their willingness to come help us.  Please pray for them as they travel this weekend.

As we stay in Korea until it is safe to go back to Japan, we pray God will use us in many ways.  Right now, we are planning to visit local churches and schools to share the needs of Japan and to ask them to pray for Japanese people, especially for their salvation.  We also want to find out if there are any Japanese people who evacuated to Seoul.  If so, we want to meet them and encourage them.

We will write more updates on the situations in Japan.  As we close this post, we will share one more photo (if you are wondering why we are taking a picture of him with Pluto, we take this every month to see how much he has grown).  His smile kept us going during our journey.  When we were overwhelmed and tired, we looked at our precious son and were reminded that our responsibility is to protect him even as our hearts remained in Japan.  We know God brought us here for a reason and His plans give us hope and future.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  We love you…

Categories: Hope for Japan News.

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Update on March 20th

March 20, 2011

We have had a wonderful weekend.  Yesterday,we went to the grocery store to buy LOTS of food for the people in Sendai.  We have never bought that much food!  Since the government advised people not to hoard food and buy only as needed, we had to tell others that we were buying them for the people who were affected by the earthquake and tsunami.  Some people gave us food which was a blessing.  We have been amazed by the generosity of the people of Japan.  When we came home, the pastor’s kids helped us to box them up.  We all wrote messages and prayers on the boxes to encourage the recipients.  We used some of the money that you have donated.  THANK YOU!  We are sure they will be used to bless the people who have been hungry.  In partnership with the local churches in Sendai, we will continue to buy food and supplies for those in need.

My dad rode a bus to Sakata to see us and also to pick up my brother’s car which was filled with food that we bought for those in need.  We had a very special time together.  We laughed, prayed, and cried a lot together.  Seeing my dad hold Luke makes me smile and cry at the same time.  We are thankful for the time that we had together.  Before my dad left, the pastor led the devotional time.  He read Psalms 121 and it comforted and encouraged us so much.  As my dad drove off, he told me to be strong like my mom.  I have been crying a lot but I know I have to be strong for my baby boy.  Please continue to pray for God’s strength as we continue this journey.

Today was such an amazing day.  We were able to be a part of the worship service in Sakata.  It is a small house church, but they all have big hearts for God.  I played the piano and Michael shared his testimony.  Praise God for using us in the midst of difficult times.  We shared that many of you are praying for Japan and Japanese people.  We spent some time to pray for the people of Japan.  It has been a very difficult week for many of us.  Earthquake, tsunami, and now radiation… But we still believe God is in control and He will use these situations to open the hearts of the Japanese people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Aid for Japan.

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Update on March 17th

March 17, 2011

We are sorry we could not update yesterday.  It has been a very difficult few days.  As we monitored the threat of radiation, we realized that it was getting worse.  After much prayer and counsel with our sending church and organization, we decided to evacuate.  As much as we want to help the people of Japan, God has entrusted us to take care of our son.  And we have to be healthy and well to be able to continue our ministry in Japan.

At first, we didn’t have enough gas and all the buses were full so we didn’t think we could get out of  the city.  However, my brother waited in line for 6 hours to get enough gas to get to the west coast of Japan.  He also waited in line to buy enough food for us to eat.  As much as he needed a car and food, he said our job is to take care of our son.

Another concern we had was my 81 years old grandmother who needed help.  She has been so gracious to provide a place to live and everything else we needed.   We told her that we would be leaving and asked her if she wanted to come with us, but she said no.  She told us that she would be praying for us all the time and waiting for us to come back when everything is safe. We could tell that she had tears in her eyes.

Before we left the city, we stopped at my dad’s office.  My dad has been so supportive from the beginning, and he kept reminding us that God would take care of us.  We know our son has brought so much joy into his lonely life without my mom.  It broke our heart to take away his joy.  We had a short farewell in front of his office.  He wanted to pray for us, and he cried as he asked our Father to protect us.  He reminded us of I Corinthians 10:13, “And God is faithful; he will not let you be temptedbeyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  He held our baby boy one more time and we left with such a heavy heart.

We drove to Sakata city which is on a west coast.  We are about 230 miles from the power plant, and since the wind is blowing to the south, we believe we are safe for now.  There is a mission church that our church has been supporting for a long time, and my dad asked their pastor if we could stay with them.  His family welcomed us warmly and it has been such a blessing to spend time with them.  They have treated us like their family and told us that we could stay as long as they need to.  Their three children take such good care of our baby.  We have been having meaningful conversations about the ministries in Japan, and it has been such an encouragement for all of us.  Once again, God is faithful.

So what’s next? We are working on getting Luke’s passport to evacuate to South Korea.  Our pastor and his wife have good friends there and they will be taking care of us.  We also have Korean friends that we met at DBU and we know we can rely on them as well.

As of now, we are hoping to come back to Japan when it is safe enough.  We don’t know when, but we pray that God will bring us back here to make Him known in this darkest place.  Even though this situation is devastating and hopeless, we believe he will use this time of challenges to bring a revival to Japan.

We know so many of you are praying for us.  We apologize for not being able to write/call you back, but please know we feel your love and prayers all the time.  Our church and sending organization have been so supportive and helpful.  We know they are not getting enough sleep because they have so much to do to help us evacuate.  We are blessed to have such a strong and wise leadership.  We know they are praying for God’s wisdom as they help us to make important decisions.  THANK YOU!

We are leaving soon to apply for an emergency passport for Luke.  Please pray that they will be understanding and helpful.  Also, pray for our baby boy as we take a train for 2 hours.  He has been such a trooper and we can’t ask for more.

Before I close, I want to ask you to spend the next few minutes to pray for the people of Japan.  Many people are still fighting to survive.  Many people are still crying because their family members are gone or missing.  Many people are still trying to get enough fuel to evacuate. And there are others like my dad and brother who are staying in the dangerous areas to ensure the safety of other Japanese people.  Please keep praying.

We are heartbroken to leave the people we love so much.  God has called us to love and minister to the Japanese people, and we still believe it is His calling for us.  We trust that He will bring us back here so that the people of Japan will know that He is the only God and He loves them so very much.

Many of you have already donated, and we want to thank you.  Please be assured that it will be used to rebuild this country.  The country that needs Jesus.  Please pray that He will bring us back here soon.  We love you…

Categories: Aid for Japan.

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Update on March 15th

March 15, 2011

We have received more messages and calls from many of you! We realized so many people that we don’t even know are praying for us and supporting us.  Words can’t express how thankful we are!  Your prayers and encouragement mean the world to us!

Many people prayed for my grandparents.  God answered our prayers, and my grandparents and aunts are safe.  They were staying at my grandparent’s house which is  on a hill and everything around them was flooded.  They saw the tsunami washing the city away and my aunt said she can’t even describe what she had seen.  My grandfather requires dialysis so he had to go to the hospital.  Since they could not take him there, my aunt went down the hill to ask for help.  She walked in water to get to the nearest hospital.  Thankfully, they were able to send a truck to get him.  The phone service in the entire city is down so my aunt decided to come back to our city to let us know that they are all safe.  She was able to find a person who was willing to give her an one hour ride home (most of the way, Japanese people have been very helpful and polite).  She is taking my cousin to go back to my grandparents’ place in a few days to bring them to our city.  We will be asking them to take some food and water so that they can give them to the people in that area who don’t have anything.  Please pray that the roads to go up the hill will be open by then.

Power was restored last night so we were able to stay in a warm house.  We are very thankful for this, but still heartbroken for those who don’t have anything.  Many temporary shelters do not have power so people there are still staying in a cold place.  We were up most of the night watching the news, and we are very concerned about the explosions of the nuclear power plants.  They are located in Fukushima prefecture (like a state) which is south of us.  The Japanese government is telling people in that area to evacuate.  As of now, we have not been told to evacuate.  We also called the US Embassy in Tokyo and they said they are not telling Americans in this area to evacuate as of now.  However, it is obvious that threat of radiation contamination is very serious and we are doing everything we can do to protect ourselves and help others to understand the seriousness of this situation.  Many people are panicked and they don’t know what to do.

Since we can’t evacuate to the south or north without a car or public transportation, we are staying home today and tomorrow (or until we know it is safe).  Our car is almost out of gasoline.  We went to all the gas stations around here but none of them had gas.  Their workers didn’t even know when they would have some.   Major highways are closed to the public and only emergency vehicles are allowed to use them.  Most of the train systems in northern Japan are shut down.  At this point, we have no way to get out of this city.  So we will do our best to help others in need while we do what we can do to take care of our health.

Since we have been advised to stay home today, we are trying to make it productive.  Our house is still a mess since we haven’t had a chance to clean without power.  The boxes that were stacked up are everywhere in one of the rooms.  We have some plants, picture frames, books, and decorations that fell from the shelves, and there are also some broken glasses.  We are also trying to clean water damage in the house.

My friend in Canada asked me to help her friend who supervises English teachers from other countries.  She has not been able to make sure if all of them are okay.  Since I have internet and cell phone service, I hope to help her locate these teachers.  I can’t even imagine how terrified they are without knowing enough Japanese to understand what is going on.  I know many of them want to evacuate or fly home but they can’t go to the international airport at this point.  Please pray I can minister to them during this time.  If you know anyone from other countries who are still missing, please e-mail us.  I will do our best to contact the local government officials/schools/shelters to find out if they have any information.

While the Japanese army, aid from other countries (we are SO thankful), and volunteers work very hard to take care of the people on the coastline (they are working nonstop- please pray for them), we will do our best take care of the people here who need help.  There are still so many people at the temporary shelters.  I saw an old man on a street who was on his way home from the shelter.  I tried to comfort him and encourage him, but what he said really encouraged me.  He said, “What I went through is nothing compared to those who lost family and everything else.”

We met a family who evacuated from Arahama town that was washed away by the tsunami.  They have some relatives in our neighborhood.  Their house was destroyed and they lost everything.  The only clothes that two girls have are their school uniforms.  We offered clothes that we have.  We are trying to find out what else they need.

We are also trying to help people around our church.  Our church is located in the suburb of Sendai and most of the houses are okay.  However, they still don’t have power (it means no heat!) and water.  When we went to church on Sunday, we saw our dear friend who came with her four kids.  Her husband is in the Japanese army and has not come home since last Friday.  She can’t stay in line to buy food because she can’t leave her kids at her house due to severe aftershocks.  They have been staying in a house without heat and the kids don’t even have water to drink.  She was very optimistic and said they would be okay, but we have been thinking of them and praying for them all the time.  We haven’t been able to reach them by phone since Sunday.  As soon as we get gas, we are going to deliver food and water, and we will invite them to stay with us until power and water are back.

There are some of the situations locally.  There are so many others in need, but we are starting with what we can.  All the stores around here have nothing, but we will be in line as soon as they have something.

We just heard from Cindy, Director of GCPN (our sending organization).  She called us to let us know that they would do anything to help us (we are working on the emergency evacuation plan with them).  Our pastor sent a special message to all the church members asking them to pray for us.  We are SO thankful for FBCA and GCPN, and also for all the other churches and organizations that are helping us and praying for us.  There is so much to be done and we can’t do this alone.   Let’s partner together and let His light shine in this dark place.

 

Categories: Aid for Japan.

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Earthquake

March 14, 2011

Many of you already know this, but we had a massive earthquake in Japan on Friday.  We live in Sendai, which is about 80 miles from the epicenter.  We were at our house and it shook for a while.  I ran to get our sleeping baby and Michael went to help my grandmother who could not move because she was so scared.  It seemed like it would last forever.  We lost our power and water immediately, and then we completely lost our phone service.  My dad was 4 hours away and didn’t know how he could come home.   It was snowing outside so we tried to stay warm inside while we kept having aftershocks.

We thought we would have to evacuate but community leaders decided only old people who lived alone would go to the nearby elementary school because there would not be enough room for everyone.

We were up all night long praying.  At that point, we didn’t even know what was happening.  Only source of information was a radio and we could tell that the news reporters were in shock as they saw the damage from the helicopter.  We heard a crying mom and a baby because she could not feed her baby.  There was a small child who was left at his school and he had no idea if his parents would ever pick him up.  An old man was just crying and asking “why, why???”  The news said many towns on the coast were completely washed away by tsunami.  We couldn’t even believe what we were hearing.  Only thing we could do was to pray.

We started to have water again on Saturday which was a huge blessing.  Since many people still didn’t have any, we delivered to those in need.  We also waited in line for several hours at 3 different stores to get food.  At this point, we should have enough for a week and we are sharing what we have with our neighbors who don’t have anything.

On Sunday, we headed to our church without knowing if the church building was okay and if anyone would show up.  Thankfully, the church was okay and about 12 members showed up.  Since we didn’t have power, we had a worship service outside of the church and had a special prayer time.  We cried out to God for His strength and protection for those who were still waiting to be rescued and also for His comfort and peace for those who lost their loved ones.

It is Monday morning here and we still don’t have power at our house.  We came to my dad’s house to charge our laptop and phones.  We were so encouraged by all the messages and phone calls that we have received from you all.  Because of limited internet access, we are not able to write you back individually.  We sincerely apologize.  But please know that we truly appreciate your prayers and support.  Just knowing so many people are praying for us and Japanese people comforts us.

Damage in Sendai is minimal compared to the coastline.  We have some cracks and water damage, but we are thankful to have a place to live.  In our neighborhood, there are broken walls, windows, roofs, water pipes, and pavement and foundations are uneven.    There are a few people who have minor injuries but they are okay.

Damage on the coastline is devastating.  In a few seconds, all the houses were washed away.  Many people didn’t have enough time to evacuate even though they had left their home right after the earthquake.  We still don’t know how many lost their lives and how many are missing.  As I write this, we still don’t know if my grandparents and aunts are safe.  My grandparents live in a city by the ocean and both of my aunts were visiting them on Friday.  Thankfully, they live on a hill but all the surrounding areas have been flooded.  The city officials said the area my grandparents lived look okay from the sky, but they haven’t had a chance to send a helicopter to rescue people.  We are praying for everyone’s safety in that town.  Since the phones are not working, my cousins tried to go there to rescue them, but the roads were closed.

The power plants in another prefecture are having so many problems and some are exploding.  It is scary.  Government is telling everyone in that area to evacuate immediately.

We are thankful for God’s protection, but we are heartbroken for those who have lost their lives, loved ones, homes, and everything else they had.  We are trying our best to help those in need.  At this point, we are delivering food and water to people in Sendai.  We are not allowed to go to the coastline right now but we hope to find out what they need the most so that we can buy and bring them to those people.

Many of you have asked how you can help.  Words can’t express how thankful we are for your willingness to help Japan and Japanese people.  Some of you have offered to send supplies, but we don’t know how long it will take for us to receive them.  So we are asking for monetary donation so that we can buy what people need the most and deliver those items.  You can go to “Our Story” page on our blog and learn how to give.  We can promise you that your gift will be used to minister to those who are in need.  Our prayer is that God will use us in mighty ways during this difficult time.  Our hearts hurt so badly knowing many people died without hearing about Jesus.  As we help others who are hopeless, we want them to know God’s love and hope.

Please continue to pray.  We believe in the power of prayer and we know God will answer our prayers.  We know God is in control and we will continue to trust in Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Aid for Japan.

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Luke Kai is 2 months old!

March 14, 2011

(I wrote this before the earthquake but saved it so that  Michael could read it before posting it.  Sorry I am posting this late.)

Our baby boy is two months old! Time goes by so fast! It has been the best two months of our lives!  He has been such a good baby and we can’t ask for more!  God is opening many doors for us through Luke.  I have met many moms and I am enjoying getting to know them.  I had lunch with two of them and we are hoping to meet more often.  I am so thankful that God is giving me many opportunities to share the gospel with them. I was also asked to be a part of “Mom’s Time” at our church.  It is a weekly ministry for moms at church that my mom had started years ago.  I am so thankful to be a part of this wonderful ministry and I pray that God will use me to touch many lives.  Many moms are lonely and hurting because their husbands work all the time and they don’t get to spend much time with them. Please pray that many of them will come to know the Lord.

Enjoy the pictures of our precious son!

Categories: Family.

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A Life Well Lived

March 14, 2011

Last Thursday, we received an e-mail from Cindy, our pastor’s wife and the director of GCPN, our sending organization.  She shared a shocking news.  The pastor of our mission church in Arlington, Clint Dobson, was murdered in his church.  His assistant was badly beaten.  We didn’t know him personally, but have heard so many great things about him. We have many good friends who were really close to him.  Since we could not fly back to comfort them, we have been praying every day for his family, friends, and our church families.   You can read more about his story at http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/03/09/2909796/slain-arlington-pastor-is-laid.html

In the e-mail, Cindy shared Romans 8:28 that says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

It reminded me of my mom who passed away last June.  God welcomed her to heaven after a year long battle with cancer.  Losing my mom was the hardest thing in my life.  She was the best mom to me and my brother, and the best wife to my dad.  I have asked “why” countless times and I still cry because I miss her so very much.

But God has taught me the meaning of Romans 8:28 repeatedly since we came to Japan.  So many people have told me that my mom’s life and passing had helped them to get closer to God.  Several believers that my mom was mentoring became more involved at church.  Some young moms that my mom was ministering to at the weekly mom’s time started to read Bible and visit church.  Her college friends who had never visited church came to the worship service for the first time.  Her father (my grandfather), who is a strong Buddhist, started to ask me questions about God and church.  Her niece (my cousin), whom my mom was always concerned about, decided to enroll her son in a Christian kindergarten and started to attend church regularly.  The list goes on and on.

I am not trying to brag what a great woman of God she was, but I want you to know what Romans 8:28 means.  Even though I don’t understand why God called my mom and Clint home so soon, I know He will use these situations for the good of all who love Him and who have been called according to His purposes.   I am so thankful for the lives well lived.

What about us?  What are we doing for His kingdom?  We are here to share the love and hope of Christ with Japanese people so that they have the same peace we have and the hope to see Jesus someday.

Categories: Prayer Needs.

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Going Back to School

February 23, 2011

If someone told me I would be going back to school a year ago, I would have told them there was no way.  That is exactly what I did in January.  If you have had a chance to read our newsletter you are already familiar with my plait (if you want to receive our newsletter, please let us know).  We arrived in Sendai at the end of the regular semester.  The only class available for me was a review for last semester.  Yu must have felt sorry for me because she assured me that I don’t have to take the class if I didn’t want to.  Wow.  If only I had that option growing up.  Not really…  Of course, I jumped head first into class.  I admit it has been a bit hard to understand what is being said.  There is no English used.  Many of the students are from China and they do not speak any form of English.  And the homework is in Japanese too.  Imagine that?  However, Yu has been a huge help.  God has blessed me with a wonderful wife (and tutor when needed).

With the class winding down, I can say that it has been good to be around others wrestling with another language.  My prayers have gone out for them.  It has been fun to get to know them.  They are all from different religious backgrounds.  God gave me a chance to tell them why I came to Japan.  Many will move on to other parts of Japan.  Some to other parts of the world as they either go home or just move on to someplace else.  I gave my e-mail address to everyone and I have already heard from some of them.  I pray that the seeds that I was able to plant will grow and God will continue to use me for His kingdom.

Categories: Prayer Needs.

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Luke Kai is here!

February 17, 2011

Wow, we have been away from the blog world for so long… We are sorry that it took us so long to write a new post.  It has been the best month of our lives.  Our son, Luke Kai, was born on January 6th.  God provided wonderful doctors and nurses who made everything go so smoothly.  They took good care of mommy and Luke!  While we were in the hospital, we were able to share what we do in Japan and our faith in the Lord.  We praise God for this opportunity.

Luke is such a blessing from God.  We prayed and waited for this baby for a long time.  God’s timing is perfect.  We thank all our friends and families who prayed with us.  THANK YOU!

Luke makes us smile all the time.  He reminds us of God’s faithfulness every day. We are thankful that God has chosen us to be his parents and we pray that we will raise him for His glory.

Categories: Family.

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Wonderful Church

December 30, 2010

We are sorry we could not update our blog sooner.  We just got internet at our house and we will try to update it more often! We are doing great and enjoying getting to know people here.  We still have a lot to do around the house, but we are ready to welcome our baby boy anytime!

We are blessed to be a part of two wonderful churches!  One is our sending church in Arlington (we miss you all!), and the other one is in Sendai, Japan.  Yu grew up in this church after several believers including her parents planted this church.  Even though it is a small church, everyone knows everyone and it’s like having a big family!  The members of this church have been praying for us for a long time.   Their previous pastor left in the summer of 2009, and they have faced many challenges.  However, they kept serving the Lord and the community faithfully.  When the assistant pastor (who is in his 70s) handed us the letter to our church in Arlington, we were amazed because we had not shared with him about our desire to come to serve in Japan.  In his letter, he wrote that one of the biggest needs in this area is the student ministry.  Again, we were surprised because that was what we had been wanting to do in Japan.  Many Japanese young people are living without hope.  The need to reach out to them is so great. We know that it was all in God’s plan and we are excited to be a part of this!

As soon as we arrived, the members of the church welcomed us warmly.  We shared our heart and vision with them, and many people came to tell us that they had been praying for us.  Some of them said they want to help with the student ministry which is an answer to our prayers.  We know we can’t do this alone.  We know the importance of being a part of the church body and we are thankful that God has given us this church.  We are planning to visit the local churches to get to know them and to see the possibilities to partner with them.  In April, we are going to start visiting the local universities to meet students.

Thank you so much for your prayers! 

Categories: Hope for Japan News.

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