And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
This month a thought from our son Richard who is a pastor in Virginia. “In Luke 14:23 the master in the parable told his servants to invite people to the feast from even the highways and hedges. Highways are easy places to reach people due to the open conditions and numerous people. Hedges though are not an easy place to reach people. I thought immediately about you and Mom. In some ways God has called you to the “hedges” of Japan! Although not as “easy” as the “highways,” God wants someone to minister in the hedges. Thank you for your faithfulness there.”
July—while later in the month of beginning for summer vacation here in Japan, it is also the end of another session of various scheduled events each year. One of these is our mini-VBS event with or English kids. We do this right before they begin summer vacation when so many go away during that time. Outside games-weather permitting-a Bible story, and cupcakes are given out. We also had our interns prepare and give two different Bible stories using placards and simpler English with Vicki translating for these stories. Many churches across this land are finding it more and more challenging to get children to come to S.S. so we brought S.S. to them. While it is a smaller group this year, we are thankful for the students that come and glad to have this opportunity to not only tell them of the God of the Bible, but also help them improve their English which is needed in their English study in schools as early as grade school in recent years.
An unexpected opportunity this month was a city arranged cultural/tourism exchange with a group of 12 university students from Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. All except a couple of the students stayed in homes while here for 4 days, the 14-17th. We had 5 young ladies here. We fed them for breakfast each morning and short devotional. The Lord opened up the opportunity to also give them supper Sunday night which allowed them to be with us for our English Sunday evening service! As far as we know, this may have been the first time any of them, except one, had been in church. God opened one young lady’s heart to seek us out, while everyone else was getting ready for bed and talking downstairs, to ask some more questions. We eventually were even able to give her the whole plan of salvation. While she did not get saved that night, she told us that she had much to think about and would be seeking more of the truth when she got back to Australia. Please pray for “Mel” to be able find Christ as her Savior. This group was in several other towns for just one day visits….this was the only place they spent several days and we were here to be ready to give the Gospel to the ‘weary’! Praise God and thank you for upholding us even in these one-time events that may lead to eternal values!
Interns Isaac and Abigail Royalty were kept busy with these various events and ministry enjoying the interaction during each one. It was a blessing to us to have their special music each week and appreciate their extra effort in bringing the trumpet as well as music with them. Their language lessons continued right through until the week before they left. They have worked very hard at this all through the internship and used words as they could including introducing themselves to others. They had one more opportunity to interact with the missionary young people through our annual July picnic in Nayoro. We prayed for warm weather and it definitely was that and just right for all the children from young to older to enjoy being outside, especially since it had been so cold the first part of July this year. We pray God blesses the both of them as they have returned and continue with what the Lord has in mind for their lives as they serve Him through their jobs and with their parents at Broadview Heights Baptist Church with Pastor Joel and Deena Royalty.
Another special opportunity, for which we were blessed by, was to have a fellow laborer from the opposite end of Japan, Pastor Mike and Becky Winters (Fukuoka City, Kyushu) call and ask if they could spend a couple nights with us as they were flying to see a bit of Hokkaido since they had recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. We had conversed by email, phone and texting over the last couple years but had not yet met so this was special to us all. We took them to the northern most point of Japan just an hour and half away from here, for that is what you do when you get this far north! Due to a sudden onset of very high humidity and unreal high temperatures for us, we were all glad to be able to be in and out of the air conditioned car as well that day. We had a blessed time of fellowship with them and are thankful the Lord provided this time together.
Speaking of hot weather, the southern part of Japan continues to have record highs anywhere from 100-105 or so and many have died from heat stroke. The elderly are the most affected as they don’t know how to cope with it, keep hydrated or even if they have an air conditioner, think they should turn it off at night and close all the windows. Please pray for Christians especially to be able to help those around them and for all those trying to deal with this. The others that are affected are the little ones walking with their mother close to the hot pavement or asphalt. The news showed the temperature one day on top of the sidewalk to be close to 122F!! Thank you!
Prayer requests and Praise:
- Kawabata & Mrs. Sonoda; salvation for their husbands and Mrs. Sonoda’s health
- New contacts have already been made in various ways
- Continued open doors for God to work in witnessing opportunities
- New Bible studies to open up.
Serving Christ Together,
Ken & Vicki Mansell
Just A Prayer At Night – Your evening is our daytime!
Photos from July:
afternoon outside event with English students
There is always good food!And the guys always cook! The ladies enjoy visiting of all sorts of thingsAnd the young people, well you know young people! They are all best of friends!This year we added a Corn Hole game to the events! Ken enjoyed making the equipment!
Pastor Mike and Becky Winters from Fukuoka
Murdoch University visitors