How quickly the new year began and a month disappeared. It has been a long time since we have written on our blog and we trust to be able to keep up much better this year. The month of February is also disappearing: short month, month filled with furlough planning and preparation, full schedule as usual all go together to mean one month will seem to disappear beneath our feet! Our schedule is set in place for this furlough now and that is one step completed. Still to finish: the power-point presentation, home made gifts, and preparing rooms for the brother-sister intern team we will have in June and July. Exciting times! Here is the month of January for you!
Dear Praying Friends,
Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom:and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7
Our ministry in a small town in northern Japan has many facets. We hold Bible studies, Sunday and Wednesday services, tract distribution and other evangelistic outreaches. One of the most productive ways to get to know people is through the teaching of English. It is through this means that we as foreigners can also contribute to the community and not just be seen as outsiders. As we go into the local schools and help with community activities, we have the opportunity to inject Biblical wisdom into the activity. By doing so, we have seen that those around us are more open to the source of that wisdom. We always declare that the Lord Jesus is the source of all wisdom and grace. May each of us in our daily lives and activities show the wisdom of the eternal God, who alone is Truth.
Greetings from the first of the year! How quickly the first month has gone by! We begin by saying THANK YOU to each and every one who gave special love gifts over the Christmas season and then this month for all the wonderful responses in cards, notes and emails for Ken’s 65th birthday celebration! It truly made for a wonderful week!! We never know what one day will bring let along another year, but our goal always is to finish each day, each year ‘well’!
The first part of January is always filled with special fellowship with other missionaries as we gather during the Japanese vacation season when they are busy with their families and for the first week of January many business and all government places are also closed. This year was extra special because fellow laborers in Japan, Pastor Bill Lyons (to the military in Kanagawa-ken) and his wife Lisa joined us. They were able to attend our Hokkaido missionary gathering while they were here. We were challenged from the Word by Brother Lyons and they both just stepped right out to taking part in all we did together that day. God blessed with good traveling weather for the most part; at least we all made it home safely.
We enjoyed our extended time with the Lyons as they stayed with us for a week. We had never been to the northern point before in the middle of winter!! Cold for sure, but with clearer cold air we could actually see the tip of the snow-clad mountains of Sakhalin Island north of Hokkaido.
Mrs. Kuroda came back into Teshio from her winter vacation on the 15th of the month so we started her Bible study that week. By the 31st we came to the end of the Christianity Explained Course we had been using for her introduction into the Bible and Christianity. While she did not receive Christ as her Savior that day when invited to, she said she did understand more about who God is and that if she died that day she would not go to heaven. She said she wanted to continue to study with us, though. We began a new format of study and beings she also was quite interested in the Creator God and Adam and Eve, she is also reading in Genesis and keeping notes for questions. She is gone every weekend so we continue to have our study with her on Wednesday evening. Thank you for prayers for her.
Mrs. Kawabata continues to have comments and questions after our Sunday morning service with her in attendance. She openly tells us of challenges and joys through the week when she sees God is working. She finds some of the new subjects she is being introduced to challenging but wants to learn and we are thankful. Mrs. Sonoda also desires to be here and hopes warmer weather will also help her be able to be out more.
We are in the last stages of finalizing our spring furlough. Usually we are gone for just a couple months but this time it will be March-May. We are concentrating on churches in the MN/WI area as two different needs have us in that area. We are moving Vicki’s Mother from northern WI to southern Iowa (near our daughter and family) and attending two weddings of daughters of fellow missionary Randy Smith. We have known this family since before they came to Japan so are excited to be able to witness these two wonderful events during our time there. We appreciate your prayers as we prepare song, presentation and messages that they are all what God would want US to be challenged with first of all, and then be able to encourage and challenge those that we are with during this trip.
- Sonoda’s health to improve so she can attend regularly.
- Kawabata’s continuing growth as she has returned to attending services.
- Open hearts to receive the Word: Tuesday evening English Bible study. For Mrs. Kuroda’s study
- For us to find new avenues to reach the lost around us.
- For the year of 2018 to be a year of salvation for someone around us.
Serving Christ Together,
Ken & Vicki Mansell
Night – Your evening is our daytime!