Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A sad day in Tokyo

Not really any pictures to share today, as today was rainy day here in Tokyo. Today was our last full day here in Tokyo. We spent the morning prayer walking in Higashikoganei with the whole team and then we went to lunch with Jeff, the career missionary in charge of our team. We had our debrief time where talked about what the past month meant to us and what we are going to take away from this trip. It was a good lunch and we got some good feedback. This has been an amazing trip and God has used us in some truly amazing ways. One of the things that we learned during this trip was praying for boldness in sharing our faith means nothing if we never take that first step of sharing to begin with. God will never grant boldness to those who don't speak. We also learned of how spiritually dead Tokyo and most of Japan is. People in this city have tried to fill the emptiness that exists in every ones heart with material stuff, granted they think they're happy but its only temporary, the pain is still there.

We've also met some great missionaries here who we've become good friends with, you'll be hearing more about these folks as they are some of the very people your Lottie Moon dollars support. We've also made some great Japanese friends since we've been here, tonight we had dinner with T-san, a friend who we've met with a bunch since we've been here. It was very sad to say goodbye to her, however its comforting to know she's in good hands. We're sad to leave the country and the work behind, but at the same time we do look forward to enjoying America and our friends and family again. This trip has been amazingly quick and in the words of a former journeymen here concerning her time here, 'I blinked and it was over'. Thanks to everyone who prayed for us while we were here, God answered your prayers on an almost daily basis.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Our God is an Awesome God!

God is truly amazing!

For our last 5-minute English session today, God worked through one of the new interns to lead 2, yes TWO Japanese to Christ. He is super cool to let us be a part of that today. Wow! Please pray that R-San and S-San take hold of their new faith, that the missionaries here properly disciple them, and that they are bold in their faith.

Please pray for Matt and I as we meet with two of our contacts tomorrow for lunch and dinner. Pray that we effectively share the gospel message with A-San tomorrow and that she connects with Amanda so that Amanda can follow-up with her after we leave. Please pray for K-San that God continues to work on her heart and bring her closer to a relationship with Jesus. She doesn't have a faith at all, but her father would like her to choose a cult instead of Christianity. She is open hearing, but confused.

So, question for you: Can you guess what type of food Matt tried tonight?

Thank you all for taking time to read our blog and pray for us while we're in Japan!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Busy Busy

We've been very busy these past few days, who would have guessed that our last week in country would be so busy. Saturday we spent our last day doing park ministry again, we went to Koganei Koen which is in Higashikoganei, its a big park and had lots of people however we weren't able to share Christ with anyone. Everyone we tried to talk to didn't speak any English and our Nihongo isn't that good either. We spent the afternoon at the open air Edo-style museum which was pretty cool. On Sunday the IMB Tokyo team decided to get all of their churches together along the Chuo Line and have a big church fellowship at Musashino Koen. It was great as we got to fellowship with many Japanese Christians, eat some American BBQ, and have some great worship time together. We were also able to invite some non-Christians to come and fellowship with us and we were also able to share Christ with them. We would ask that you please pray for T-san and N-san as they are Buddhists and are quite confused about their beliefs. We had a good talk with them and I'm sure God's Spirit is working on their hearts. Oh, we've also welcomed three new interns since our last post as well, Jude, Whitney, and Amy have all just arrived and are going to be here for the next three months. We would also ask that you please pray for them, that their transition is smooth and they are open to God working through them. We are saddened that our time is drawing to a close here, we've made some great some new friends here and are sad to leave them. As I talk about the IMB missionaries here in Tokyo, I can't help but stress the Lottie Moon offering, this offering goes to support real people who are sharing Jesus Christ with thousands to millions of people who have never heard His name proclaimed. Please pray for these missionaries and please if you have the opportunity, support them through your local Lottie Moon offering this Christmas season.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A typical day in Musashisakai

Today was another full day of distribution, prayer walking, and 5 minute English in Musashisakai. Today was one of the new interns first days of doing 5 minute English so it was good to get her out at the station and get her working. It was a pretty slow day though, we were only able to talk with about 7 people total for our team, still that's 7 more people that we were able to share with. Friday is our last concert with Lion Tribe and we are also going to their friendship party in Kokubungi. Please pray that we are able to share with the Japanese who come to this party and that we are able to meet some people during their concert tonight. Thank you to everyone who is praying for us, God has been answering your prayers and ours on a daily basis here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A day of ministry in Japan and America

Today was an interesting day as we were able to minister in two different countries, Japan and America. We spent our morning distributing the Hope DVD offer to people in Mitaka and then went to another concert by Lion Tribe at the station in Mitaka. They were great as usual and put on quite the show, the first picture is of them (C-flo, Big Head Ed, and Big Mike) as they like to be called. We were able to get some good contacts from their concert, which is a good thing. We then proceeded to Yokota Air Base in Fussa, Japan (about 45 min west of Mitaka) to take the journeymen and ISC'ers we've been working with to American soil again. They had a great time as they got to experience American culture and food again. We even had Chili's for dinner! It was just like America with giant portions, refillable drinks, and English menus, we all enjoyed it. It was nice to be able to minister to the missionaries here as their time away from America and home does wear on them. Through something as simple as taking them to an American military base it brought them such great joy. We would ask that you continue to pray for us, please pray for our protection from Satan, our health, and our boldness in proclaiming God's Word. We would also ask you to pray for our group as we are having a cookout/worship time this coming Sunday at one of the parks. We are inviting the Japanese to come and experience an American cookout plus some worship time. Please pray that they are open and receptive to the invitation as well as the Word that is presented there.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Throw your hands up!!

Today was quite the interesting day for us here. It started with the usual stuff, distribution in Higashikoganei and some prayer walking after lunch, but then it got crazy. IMB Tokyo had been expecting the arrival of a Gospel rap group, they consisted of three guys from CA (Ceasar, Eddy, and Mike). They had planned to put on a series of four concerts at the larger train stations along the Chuo Line. The other journeymen and ourselves were to go to these concerts and sort hang out in the crowd and look for those who are interested in this and try to talk to them. Well the time came when we were to go to Tachicawa station for the first concert! Needless to say many of us were nervous (this is something new for all of us). After meeting the guys we proceeded to get set up and then they put on the show. It was much different than what I thought it was going to be like. They do rap about Godly things and are probably some of the nicest and most outgoing Christian men you will ever meet. We were able to talk to some people however it was limited. The neat thing about this style of ministry is that it attracts the very people who won't pay us a bit of attention when we do 5 minute English, so that's a good thing.
It was also interesting that as soon as these guys turned on their equipment to begin, Satan showed up to attack. Sharon (an ISC'er) got a major migraine, fear and nervousness attacked a couple members, a cult showed up and wanted to pass out their material in front of us, and "Jesus cat and dog" were there to distract Beth and I (yes Chris I know)! Japan is a battleground for people's souls and sometimes it seems as though we are outnumbered, but we must prevail as God has already won the war.
We would ask that you please pray for the Lion Tribe (the rap group), pray that they are bold in proclaiming God's Word. Please pray for Y-san, a young man I met during the concert, pray that his heart is opened to the Word. Please pray for Amy, a new intern, that she makes the transition smoothly. And continue to pray for our protection here. Also please pray for T-san and her friend as we go and meet with them today, pray that they are open to God's Word and that we are bold in speaking it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Japanese Holiday

Today was the second day of a four day long Japanese holiday here, no one is really quite sure what the holiday is all about though. Each of the Buddhist temples though will carry a small version of their shrine/temple around through the streets of Shibuya chanting and singing. We saw at least half a dozen different ones today being carried around the streets. They usually attract quite a following of people as they go as well, so the already busy city of Shibuya becomes extra busy and crowded on a day like today. We of course know that what they are worshipping is nothing more than sticks and stones, however we would ask that you pray for the Japanese people here, that their eyes are opened to the truth of what they're doing. We spent our afternoon doing some prayer walking and 5 minute English though in Musashisakai, because of the festival it was like a ghost town there and we really weren't able to meet any new contacts. We were however able to have dinner with a Japanese man that I met a few weeks ago, H-san. It was a difficult time at dinner though as his English isn't that good and my Japanese is even worse. He said he would like to meet again soon, so that's a good thing. Please pray for him that his heart is opened to the Word and that we are bold in proclaiming it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nogawa Park

Today was another day of park ministry here in Tokyo, so we took off for Nogawa Park in Higashikoganei. It was a pretty far walk from the train station and we didn't have much in the form of directions but we did eventually find it. It's a fairly large park that attracts a lot of families. Park ministry days are always very tough, because there is no structured system for meeting people, you basically have to force yourself onto people. It's difficult because just like Americans, the Japanese also don't like to be bothered when they're relaxing at the park. We were only able to talk to two ladies the whole afternoon. One of them was pretty scary and wanted to know what country we were from and another assumed we knew the Japanese language very well and proceeded to tell us about a cat we were looking at. The last two pictures you see are of the park, the first picture is of a street festival where they carry around a small shrine. They do this to mark the changing of the seasons,I forgot what they call the festival, but either way its clearly of Satan and not of God. Because of this festival the city of Shibuya was crazy last night, there were people everywhere. Please continue to pray that God breaks down the spiritual strongholds that exist here and opens the Japanese people's eyes up to the truth about God and His Son Jesus Christ. Pray also that we are strong in overcoming Satan's attempts to prevent us in sharing God's Word.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Today was our first day without Chris and Erin, it was kind of sad to see them go, but we still had to press on with the day's work. It was another day of distribution, prayer walking, and 5 minute English in Mitaka. It was very nice and cloudy and cool today as a typhoon is heading our way, so we got a much needed break from the heat. We were able to meet some more people today during 5 minute English and we would ask that you please pray for M-san, R-san, M-san, Y-san, please pray for their salvation and that God continues to convict their hearts. Please pray that we are able to build relationships with these people and that they are open to hearing God's Word. Tomorrow is a another day of park ministry, this time we are going to Nogawa park in Higashikoganei. Please pray that we are able to meet some Japanese people tomorrow at the park and are able to share with them the Gospel of Christ.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A typical day of ministry here

Today was another typical day of ministry for us here. We usually get up around 6:30-7:00 and get going out of the apartment around 9:00. We have a half and hour walk to get to the train station from our place, we then ride the train for 30-45 minutes to get to our ministry site. Once we arrive we usually begin doing distribution of the Hope DVD offer in people's mailboxes for about and hour and a half. After a quick break for lunch we hit the streets again and prayer walk for about and hour and half. At 3:00 we begin 5 minute English and that usually lasts until 6:00. After that we come back home which usually takes just over an hour of train and walking time. The evening trains are something else here, they are usually always very packed and at every station they add more people to the car. It gets very jammed and you have to surrender all thoughts of having a such a thing as personal space here in Tokyo! We we able to have lunch with one of Beth's contacts again today, which was a real blessing. We ask that you continue to pray for T-san as she begins to hopefully read some of her Bible. We also ask that you pray for the new contacts that we met today during 5 minute English, M-san, A-san, S-san, and A-san. We are doing the names like this now, to further protect their identity. Some of the people we have talked to are not allowed to be Christians according to their family. God knows their names, we just ask that you pray that they are open to us building a relationship with them and us sharing God's Word with them. Today was also Chris and Erin's last day with us, we will miss them. Please pray that they have a safe flight back home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The past couple of days

We've been extra busy during the past few days, dinners out with Japanese contacts, 5 minute English, prayer walking, and distribution. Needless to say we've been very busy and haven't had much of a chance to keep the blog updated. So this is a catch-up post for the past few days. We've been working hard at our stops along the Chuo Line (Mitaka, Musashi-Sakai, and Higashi-Koganei). The second picture you see is of me doing distribution on one of the days, it can be very tiring some days and the rewards are probably never going to be seen by us. However, it is nice to be able to distribute the Gospel message in places that may have never seen it before. The first picture is of the Olympic stadiums from the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, it was pretty cool to walk by and see. The last picture is of us on the train, we spend tons of time on the trains everyday commuting back and forth from our ministry sights. They are super efficient here and one of the neat things is they are generally always very packed yet you could hear someone whisper on the other side of the car. Everyone is always very quiet on them, usually nothing more than a quiet whisper is heard.
We appreciate all your prayers for us while we have been here, we have seen God work in many different areas of our lives here. Today is also Chris and Erin's last day with us, they will be leaving Japan and heading back to America in the morning. It's been great having them here and they've been a real blessing to us and the team during this trip. It will be sad to see them go, however they're heading back to the land of abundant cheese and couches (inside joke)!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The power of the Word

Today we spent our morning having some worship time on our own. We sang some songs in Japanese again and did a bit of Bible study and had some prayer time as well. It was a nice time to refresh ourselves before hitting the field. We spent the afternoon in Musashi-Sakai prayer walking and doing 5 minute English practice. We had a number of people stop and talk with us, which is a good thing, a few of them were even open to the Gospel message. I had one young man stop and talk with me for a bit, M-san is his name. We talked for a while about the Bible and other things and then asked if he wanted to go to dinner with us once we were finished. He said yes, which came as a surprise to us! We went to dinner at a local restaurant where many young Japanese like to hang out. All they serve is basically appetizers which is kind of weird but interesting none the less. The picture of the fish was my dinner, they were kind of tasty. At dinner we talked with M-san a bit about the Gospel and about the Bible, we then proceeded into the full on Gospel presentation, where he reads the verses in Japanese. After we get through presenting it all to him, we could actually see him physically struggling with the decision placed before him. I have always heard and knew that God's Word had power, yet I had never actually witnessed it like this before. As he sat and struggled with this decision you could honestly tell that he knew what he was being offered. The sad news is that he chose to say no to the offer of forgiveness today. I would ask that you pray for M-san that God's Holy Spirit continues to convict him and continues to soften his heart. I would also ask that you pray that the relationship that we built with him continues to grow. It was sad to see him wrestle with this decision and then say no to it. However we have to keep reminding ourselves that it is not up to us to save an individual, it on them to choose to follow God and for God to save them from their sins, we just have to be obedient in proclaiming His Word.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rainy Day

The rain didn't stop our ministry day Saturday, it just moved us indoors.

Our schedule changed from prayer walking and park ministry to mall ministry because of the rain. Mall ministry was pretty tough because it required us to boldly go up to people for no real reason at all and try to become friends with them.

It is somewhat easy to start a conversation when people have kids. We spoke with a lady and who was sitting with her little girl in Starbucks, but did not exchange information or share the gospel message. Erin successfully carried on a conversation with a lady at the mall about one of the drink machines and was able to exchange information with her. All the lady kept saying was, "oh what beautiful eyes" (she's gotten that comment more than once here) =)

For dinner we met with two ladies A-San and E-San. A-San met Matt through 5-minute English. They were very kind and ordered our whole meal of yummy Japanese dishes and appetizers. We practiced much English, but didn't present the gospel presentation...the conversation did not go there. Please pray that we are able to clearly present the gospel message to both A-San and E-San.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today we spent our time in Hisgashi-Koganei, its the smallest station/city of our three we are assigned to. We began by prayer walking the city area followed by some more distribution after lunch. The first picture is of the train station for the Chuo line (the line we are assigned to), it can get pretty crowded on the trains here. Usually in the evening we have to jam in on the train, its usually shoulder to shoulder and sometimes even closer than that! The silly picture of Beth and I is from a grocery store today. Today was a weird food day for me as I had pork tongue or liver for lunch (we don't know which) and chicken skin for a dinner treat! Tonight was also kind of discouragement for our team as tonight was our friendship party. We put out a lot of invites to the Japanese contacts that we have met, but didn't have any show for it. We have to keep reminding ourselves though that we can't make them stop and talk to us nor can we force them into a relationship, they have to want to show up and they have to want to build a relationship with us. Tomorrow is another day of park ministry at Nogawa park, however it is supposed to rain, so please pray that we are obedient to whatever situation God throws our way tomorrow. We're not asking for it not to rain, just that we follow God's will for that day, rain or shine! The last picture of is the team doing 5 minute English practice. This is such a small station that getting only a couple of contacts is considered a very good afternoon. We thank you all for your prayers and ask that you continue to pray for us.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ups and Downs of Mitaka

We spent our Thursday back at Mitaka again, this is the biggest city of our three we are assigned to. Today had its discouragements but also had its upside as well. We started the day without Chris, who was feeling ill from some bad food he ate the day prior. So anytime you don't have your full team with you, you feel it. He is better by the way. We did another day of distribution and prayer walking. The first picture you see is of one of the many apartment mailboxes here, we try to put a Hope DVD offer in each one and pray over each one as we do this. It was encouraging today as we distributed several hundred of these DVD offers to people. The missionary's will come back through in a few months and follow-up with the Gospel of John being distributed. So they should get a double dose of Gospel!
We then spent the afternoon prayer walking and doing some more 5 minute English practice in Mitaka. The last picture you see is of a temple that we saw along our prayer walk and decided it was best to stop and pray over it. These temple sites, while they are beautiful are nothing short the work of Satan. Those who worship here are blinded by Satan's lies and need to be set free by God's truth.
The day ended when we got to meet one of Beth's Japanese contacts for dinner. We had a great time with her as we were able to strengthen the existing relationship. Today we will spend our time in Higashi-Koganei doing pretty much the same thing. We also have our friendship party tonight there as well. This friendship party is where we gather all of our Japanese contacts and have dinner with them. The intent is to not only strengthen the existing relationship but to also now introduce them to the missionaries who are staying here. This way the relationship can continue.
We would ask that you all continue to pray for us as this task of witnessing to the Japanese can get very frustrating. How do you explain the Gospel message to someone who has never heard of God, Jesus, or the Bible? This is further compounded by the fact that neither of you can really communicate with the other one all that well due to the language barrier. So we would just ask for your continued prayers as we try to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the Japanese.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


We spent our morning today doing more distribution of some Gospel material in the Musashi-Sakai area. It's one of our target areas while we're here, its a small suburb of Tokyo and is really beautiful. We decided to walk all the way to the very edge of the city limits today and work our way back doing distribution along the way. It was a tiring walk but well worth the effort as IMB believes this area has never been hit before with distribution of the Gospel. So it is quite possible that many Japanese families are seeing this message for the very first time in their life. After a bit of lunch we prayer walked the city area and then moved onto 5 minute English at the train station. One of the funnier things that happened today is we actually found a Low's here (notice the spelling), it is a hardware store though and Chris wanted some oil for the squeaky doors here. So without being able to read or speak any Japanese Beth made the motion of a door opening and made the sound "squeak" to the store clerk, who did know what she was talking about. During 5 minute English we were able to meet roughly 15 people and about 5 of them left with at least some or all of the Gospel message being told to them.

You probably notice a lot of talk about 5 minute English in our posts, this is IMB Tokyo's way of reaching people for Christ. It involves holding up a sign in a busy train station that says "free 5 minute English practice" in Japanese and in English. The sign holder is also voicing the same thing to people as they pass by. They told us when we arrived here that you will either hate 5 minute English or love it. It is definantly way out of our comfort zones, but of course that's when God begins to work. Once someone stops, we take them through a short bit of English practice, a few questions, etc. with the whole point of trying to share the Gospel message at some point with them. You may be saying that this seems to be very "cold turkey" in sharing and you would be right, it is! However, the time they spend with us may be the only time they ever get to hear the Gospel message and we have to treat each person in that manner. It is our responsibility to share the message God has entrusted us with and we must be faithful in that.

We would ask that you please pray for S-San, A-San, S-San, and H-San. These are some Japanese that we met today that are at least open to us building relationships with them. We also ask that you continue to pray for our team, it can get discouraging sometimes trying to build these relationships and getting no where.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Day of Rest

Domo Arigato Gozimasu (Thank you) all so much for your continued prayer support!

God is so good and has encouraged us every step of the way. He has sent people our way to talk to us and directed us when we weren't exactly sure what to do. Yesterday, one of our team members had the privilege of leading someone to the Lord! Yasuhirosu accepted Christ yesterday --- Praise God!

We still covet your prayers. It is very difficult to not only start a relationship with the people here, but spark their interest to continue relations with us. Several of the people that we've met have either not responded to our outreach to them, or have simply stopped communicating with us. Please pray that the following people accept our invite and come to our "friendship party" this Friday, where we plan to introduce them to the local missionaries---one of the most important parts of the mission:
M-San, T-San, K-San, M-San, H-San, Y-San, E-San, T-San, and C-San

Today was our official day of rest. The gang ventured out together to see one of the beautiful Japanese Gardens all of the way across town called the Rikugien Garden. According to wikipedia :0) - the park was built in 1695, completed in 1702, and then donated to the government in 1938.

Check out Rikugien Garden behind us in the picture below:

Tomorrow we'll be back in action starting bright and early. Please pray that we will all be focused on our mission and that our eyes will be open to opportunities to share the gospel and/or show God's love to the Japanese.

- In the morning we'll be covering the city of Musashisakai with prayer while distributing free DVD/Bible digest offers to the residents. Please pray for our stamina and that the people we present the offer to accept it.

- In the afternoon we're going to conduct campus ministry at a local university and prayer walk the campus. Please pray that God protects us while we walk the campus. (During the last campus ministry, God was so awesome that instead of us getting kicked off, He sent someone to us who allowed us to tour the campus freely). Please also pray that we meet students who are interested in hearing the gospel message.

- Finally, just before dinner, the crew will be offering free 5-minute English practice at the Musashisakai train station. Our goal is to reach the people with the gospel message either right there at the station or at our friendship party. We cannot tell them about Jesus if they are not even willing to hear what we have to say. Please ask God to send us people who are interested in Him and that we are able to clearly communicate His message to them.

Have a great day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sssshhhhh....we're doing campus ministry

Well today was the day that many of us on the team had been fearing would get here. Today was our first day of campus ministry. IMB Tokyo has decided to try and reach out to the students on the university campuses around Tokyo. The problem comes in the form that we are not allowed to do any distribution nor are we allowed to do much Gospel proclaiming. The plan is to make contact with someone and get them off of the campus and then share with them. It was a scary kind of day in that it is very easy to be thrown off campus at these universities, the slightest wrong move or look could bring undue attention our way and ruin IMB's chance to gain access to that campus. So we began the day in an alley next to the university where we were given our cover story and our plan of attack. We would enter the campus in very small groups with the story that I was interested in Japanese universities because I'm a university student. It seemed like a solid story and we went for it. Sorry we don't have any pictures of the university either, pictures would have been something else to draw attention to ourselves. The days worries were further compounded because we were told to look like we knew where we were going and what we were doing but no one knew what the inside of the campus looked like. So once we passed the guard shack, we had no idea where to go or what to do. It turned out to be a very small campus and we were able to prayer walk it for a bit before leaving.
The rest of the day we spent back at Musashi-sakai station doing 5 minute English and prayer walking. Beth and I met a lady, Y-San, who were able to share the Gospel with, she seemed very open to the Bible and God's Word, so that's a good thing. Please pray for her and that we are able to build a stronger relationship with her.
One thing you're probably noticing at this point is that we always ask for God to help us in building strong relationships with the Japanese. Relationships are everything here and without them the Gospel would not spread well at all. So we spend our days trying to reach out to the Japanese and build these friendships with them, it can be very tough and frustrating.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A day of worship and work

We got to spend our Sunday morning having some worship time with the team. It was interesting because we were able to sing our praise songs all in Japanese as well as do some of the Bible study exercises that the Japanese house churches do. It was a fun morning of worship as it was true worship and we weren't distracted by other things that tend to get in the way with church sometimes. We started by sharing praises, praying for one another, singing some praise songs, and then reading from the Bible. The other pictures are of the Chuo line, this is our ministry line, we are assigned to three stops along this line and the Musashisakai station is where we spent our afternoon, prayer walking and doing 5 minute English. We would ask that you pray for Hiroshi as he is open to us building a relationship. Just pray that we are able boldy share the Gospel with him at some point during this time. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us so far, God is answering your prayers on a daily basis!!