In memory of my father and father-in-love
and in honor of my husband
A recent letter from our home church pastor set me to thinking about my father and a special letter and memory came to mind. It was waiting for us here in Japan when we arrived on October 7th, 1983. With your indulgence I would like to share a greater portion of it because I have carried it around in my Bible ever since that day. When I have been discouraged through the early years of learning the language and the culture and later when the day is challenging or the work never seems to change with great advances, I again bring out this precious gift of wisdom from a father who gave his children to the Lord and to His calling, no matter where it would take them.
“Welcome to Wakkanai City, Northern Hokkaido, Japan! YOU MADE IT!! Praise the Lord. I wish I was there with you. What a thrill it must be to have the prospect of taking the blessed gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who have never heard. God bless you.
…”I am made all things to all men that I might by all means save some.” (Read all of I Cor. 9:19-27.) You have set your hearts to serve the Lord in Japan. Going across the ocean never made anyone a missionary but seeing the needs of people has made many into missionaries. Let your hearts and souls see the lost condition and sense the total lack of any gospel message (in contrast to the daily opportunities for the lost here in the USA.) Then let God make you to be like the Apostle Paul in this passage. If the Japanese in Northern Hokkaido are ‘neat as a pin”, begin immediately to build your habits and the children’s habits to be that so that your home will always be a testimony to them. Where they have a cultureal grace and graciousness, let God build you to have more for the gospel’s sake. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you so that ye always having all sufficiency in all things may abound unto every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8) Live daily in the strength of this promise. Set daily goals for progress in each area where your lives must be molded to fit the culture there. Daily tell the Lord, “Thou are the potter, I am the clay.”
On the other hand, remember, you can only give the Lord what you are now. No doubt you will have moments when you will think that you just don’t have enough to give. I feel the same way here. (He was a Baptist pastor for 40 years) The only way that I keep going is by remembering that I can only give what I am and have; the rest is not my responsiblity but His–the Great God and Savior, the Almight One. He can and will use you if you will truly, fully give yourself to Him daily, unreservedly,to let Him make you what He wants you to be. This is why daily time alone with Him is so vital to survival. The devil will TAKE his time with you; be sure you give your Lord the time He needs to pour His strength and blessing into your lives…
If this sounds too much like I am preaching…let me assure you that is not my intention. A new chapter, indeed a whole new division, in the book of your lives is just starting. This is a great time to start many new things (not so many that you can’t really make them fruitful) that will make you better, more efficient, more effective, servants for the Lord. When you came to Prior Lake (PL, Minnesota where he was pastoring at that time) from Portland you proved that you could make adjustments as needed and now they are needed in a greater way than they were then. And you have a God who can and will make them as you need them.
This is a new chapter in our lives as well. We have always prayed for you but never as we are now. And we know that we must pray as never before! We must hold the ropes as you climb the steeps. And by God’s grace we will. We love Him and we love you and love finds a way. Praise God we can pray without ceasing….
God bless you all. How thankful we are that you are His, doing His will, in the center of His care, and qualified for His blessing.
Lovingly yours, Dad Coats
Both of our parents supported us in our decisions to follow the Lord’s leading to Japan; encouraged us along the way, and supported us in diligent prayer. What a blessing to have fathers who gave not only themselves but also their children to God. And praise God for my husband who also by my side, has given our children to God and only asked that they would be used by God; kept by God and always in the center of His will! This has been no easier because we are on a foreign field–in actuality it has been harder at times because we knew God might not call them back to work here in Japan. And He didn’t. So we labor on, with thankfulness that as we work here, our children also work in the States and may we always be faithful to pray much and diligently as the parents who so willingly gave us!
A song that we are preparing for our next reporting trip to the States tells of parents giving their children to the fields of need–are you holding your children back? Are you encouraging them to be ALL that God might want them to be? God bless you if you are and God help you if you aren’t!
in much thankfulness,