but of God. John 1:13
Following the great salvation truth of verse 12 that “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”, God gives us an insight concerning the manner and limitations by which people believe unto salvation. As much as we would like to think or hope that those around us who are lost and headed for an eternity of just recompense for their sins, we cannot make that decision for them. Those who believe do not do so because of who they are related to by blood. Our physical strength, no matter how hard one tries, cannot produce saving faith in those we are concerned about. And we cannot just by the sheer force of our will and determination see a person born into the kingdom of God. God is the one whom we must implore to work in men’s hearts unto salvation. As we continue to give the gospel to the people of Japan and you to those whom God has placed you near, we need to continue to labor in word and deed to show the Lord Jesus Christ to a lost world. We need to abound in prayer for their salvation. Only God can convince a person of sin and salvation. Let us continue to labor with our Lord to that glorious end.
Driving: One of the biggest steps in the list of things for the Marks to accomplish in the first year was thankfully completed this month. They have been driving using their International driver’s license which will expire in June. Beings the process of getting a Japanese driver’s license includes several steps and several needed forms and information, we started them earlier on through the beginning process. It was also recommended by the main issuing office that they go to Wakkanai to do a practice run on the driver’s course before actually doing the driving test. Japan uses an actual ‘course’ set up with stops, turns, curves, intersections, etc., that you drive through with the test instructor. This test run went well with Ken helping them understand what the instructor was saying. Ken went with them to the closest application process/test center in Asahikawa (3.5 hours south) for their final application. The test run was very beneficial and both Jonathan and Heather passed both the written and the driving tests the first time, which can be unusual for foreigners it is said. We are thankful that this time sensitive step is completed.
Teaching: Japanese school year ends in March and begins in April. Ken began a new teaching schedule in the schools this month. One of the praises for this schedule is more hours per semester at the junior high. The team teacher there struggled to fit Ken into his plans. The new principal insisted that Ken be involved so he is now regularly in the classroom at that level as well. Ken truly desires to reach this teacher through team teaching, respect, and try to find an open door for the Gospel as well. Ken also continues to give invitations with lesson outlines for the Sunday evening English language service to all the teachers he is involved with as well as adult English students. While there has only been one to actual visit since he started doing that, several have said they would like to come. Patience and perseverance are attributes that have to be applied continuously in this country.
Sunday School: All across this country children are involved in events, family time, and electronics in their free time. Much of this free time is only on Sunday. Over the years it has become increasingly difficult to reach grade school children. We use special Christian events to present the Gospel to the children but also desire to have them come to S.S. Now that children are again able to be outside playing, more invitations can be given outside of our classes but also had a special question from a neighboring daughter recently—“we hear the Marks children singing on Sunday mornings. What are they doing?” After explaining that we have Sunday School and what it entails including that it was free, we told her she could come any time. We pray the parents will let her come and this might be a start to seeing children hear the Gospel through the stories and studies on Sundays.
Prayer Requests: – thank you for your intercession on our behalf
- Physical, Emotional and Spiritual strength from day to day.
- Christian wives’ whose husbands and families need to be saved.
- Weekly Adult English and Bible studies. (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings)
- Weekly Bible study with Dr. Urayama (growth and strengthening in his Christian life)
- Japanese language and culture study with the Marks
- Believers-Mrs. Sonoda’s health continues to be a daily battle with nothing that can be fully diagnosed. She has only been able to be in the services a couple times in the past two months. Praise-Mrs. Hashimoto’s health has returned almost 100%. Mr. Inagaki’s job keeps him away on Sundays at times but he continues to faithfully attend when he can. Mrs. Kawabata’s job and other factors keep her away; three secret Christians who we rarely get to see and encourage.
Serving Christ Together,
Ken & Vicki Mansell
Just A Prayer At Night – Your evening is our daytime!