Wednesday, October 24, 2018

An Update from the Field

A lot has happened since our arrival in Nagoya almost 2 months ago.  At this point we are finally settling into a wonderful fourth floor apartment that will serve as a base for family life and ministry over the remainder of this term. God was incredibly generous to provide so many of the things we were praying for in terms of location (we're a short walk from a subway station, exactly half way between ANF's two target areas), size (the apartment is very large by Japanese standards, which will enable us to host guests and work from home), and atmosphere (it's a bright apartment with big widows and a great view of the sky from the balcony)! Several of our neighbors also speak some English and want to be friends!

During October, Gina and I have been spending a lot of time with the ANF pastoral staff and their wives. These couples have faced a challenging year and grown in many ways. We feel proud of them and thankful for God's mercy. Yu-san is leading well downtown, and we are working on a pathway that we expect to culminate in his ordination and installation as a pastor and elder at ANF. Paul and Yu-chan have continued to care for the young Christians and new believers at our Nagakute campus, and we're seeing the evidence of the Holy Spirit's work among that group. Hide-san recently agreed to stay at ANF for a second year, and we have agreed about the areas he will focus on during 2019. It's been a fun month of ministry in these areas.

We're also becoming re-acquainted with the congregation at ANF, and there are quite a few newcomers in each location. Some are just taking the first steps to explore Christianity. They're wrestling with doubts and questions, but they're doing so within this little body of believers. We believe that means the Spirit is calling them to faith in Christ, and we're full of hope for them! Some of the newer Christians at ANF feel a heavy burden for family members who don't know Christ, and others are struggling with loneliness that's magnified by their profession of Faith. Both ANF congregations are also made up expats and missionaries who have chosen to live here among this unreached people group for the sake of the Kingdom. We know first hand about the challenges associated with that calling. This month, would you pray specifically for ANF (and for the larger Church) in Japan? Ask the Lord of the Harvest to build up and strengthen his people; to bring deeper vision, unity, and fellowship; to bless marriages; and to make the fruits of the Spirit to be evident among us as we labor here!

THANK YOU!

We continue to be blown away by the generosity of our partners. Japan is an expensive field, and it takes a lot of people, working together to make this ministry possible. Thanks to all of you who made quick pledges and have given so generously to place our new Serge account in a healthy spot. We've even seen some brand new names on our donor reports since arriving in Japan. If that's you, welcome to the team! We'll do our best to follow up with you personally, now that the dust is finally settling!
(If you'd like to become a financial partner or make changes to you' giving, you can do that here. Serge has recently updated their online giving portal to allow for more convenient access to your donor accounts, so it should be easier than ever to manage your giving).

Others of you have not been able to contribute financially, but you are partnering with us through your faithful, fervent prayers. There have been a lot of recent additions to that group too! Thank you, friends! God has raised up an army of prayer partners from all over the world who are lifting this work before the throne on a regular basis. We depend upon that. God hears us when we pray! Thank you for being in this with us!  If you'd like to receive our newsletters and/or prayer updates, you can sign up here.

FOR YOUR PRAYING
  • Our Visa Situation: November 6th marks the end of the period for the 90 day tourist visas. Please pray that God would provide the long term visas we are still waiting on for Gina and the boys.  The clock is ticking!
  • For our church (ANF) and the Church in Japan.
  • For the Eguchi family as we make plans for ordain and install Yu-san. He is continuing to carry most of the leadership load for our downtown campus.
  • For the Kawai and Kang families as they work with us to lead the Nagakute campus.
  • For our family as we interact with new neighbors around our home. Pray that we would have opportunities to build trust and friendships. Pray for opportunities to share the Good News!
  • Please pray specifically for Joshua, during this second year at College. Pray for the Spirit to guard his heart and lead him in our absence.
  • As always, Gina and I covet your prayers for our marriage and parenting. You know what we need in these areas...please lift us up before the throne of Grace!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Our upcoming return to Nagoya




"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)


Hi Friends!
I have to admit that we have mixed feelings as we write this post. This year of home assignment has been very good for the Sinks! We've savored time with family and friends (both old and new), and we've deeply enjoyed meeting with many of you to talk about ministry among the Japanese. It's also been a time of healing for our hearts and rest for our bodies. Some of you have been a big part of that - thank you!

All that said, we're delighted to share that God is now opening the door for our return to Nagoya on August 7th! Even though we're sad to be leaving, we're excited that God is allowing us to return and continue what we began during our first term. As we GO, we're leaning into Christ's promise, "I am with you always, to the end of the age." More details follow...

Reporting on the Trip in May
In our last update we asked you to pray for my short trip to Japan in May. During the first week of that trip, I had the privilege of helping to lead Grace Week, which is a retreat fostering spiritual renewal for Christian leaders in Japan. Grace Week is spearheaded by leaders from Serge, MTW, and the Church Planting Institute of Japan (+ some others), so it is also the fruit of a lot of Christ-exalting unity between missions agencies. That's special in itself!

God saw fit to bless the time at Grace Week. There were around 18 participants, which made it smaller than other retreats we've done in the past. The smaller number actually made for less hurry and deeper interactions with one another. Grace Week is gaining a reputation for being a safe place where leaders can be honest about their struggles and expect help. This time, participants came prepared to open up, and we saw the Holy Spirit faithfully working over the course of the week.

I spent my second week in Nagoya with leaders from ANF (and CBI). I'm happy to say that the church is healthy. Paul, Hide-san, and Damon have been working together effectively in Nagakute. Yu-san and Mitsu have been doing a great job downtown. There were new faces at each campus, and it was encouraging to see that our interns and apprentices have grown over the last year. It makes us EXCITED to return and rejoin that work!
Participants teachers, and mentors together at the end of the Grace Week in May.  It was a special privilege to serve these fellow believers who are sharing the Gospel all over Japan.

Our Financial Situation
The fact that we have been cleared to return to Japan is a testimony to how quickly and positively our partners have responded to our move to Serge! That said, we think our current plans and financial condition require some explanation. Here are some important points that will help you understand where we are right now:
  • When we returned to the U.S. last Summer, our monthly contributions were a bit less than our budgeted monthly expenses. However, our support account was very healthy, so we were able to absorb the monthly deficit with the expectation that God would provide additional partners in the future.
  • Most of the churches and individuals who have partnered with us over the last year have already communicated that they will continue their support through Serge. 
  • We currently have LESS of a monthly deficit than we had when we returned home last summer. That's great! However, our monthly income is still a good bit under budget.
  • MTW is allowing us to use down the surplus that remains in our account from last term. Those funds are enough to balance our budget over our next term - which makes it possible for us to return to Japan at this time.So, we have the funds in place to move forward, but things are very tight without a lot of room for error. As you pray for us, will you please ask God to raise up some additional financial partners over the coming months/year?
You can also use this link to set up a contribution or make a "pledge" to our Serge account (A "pledge" is just a way to tell us about your plans to make a contribution in the future and allows us to plan ahead).

Thank you...
We have been amazed by the kind of progress and Gospel-fruit we've seen in Nagoya over the course of our first term. Looking at things through human eyes, there's no explanation for that. We are new to the culture, have miles to go in our language abilities, and are weak in so many different ways. Yet God has seen fit to work through us (together with you) to advance His Kingdom in Japan.

As we are preparing to depart in August, we're conscious of what an important part each of you plays in this work. Your generous giving keeps us on the field, but your fervent praying makes the work effective. Thank you for the role you're playing - for your partnership with us among this unreached people. Please keep it up...we're going back in! :)

We love you and thank God for your partnership with us from the first day until now!

For your Praying
  1. We have some vacation time scheduled during July and August. Please pray for good rest and connection with one another during that time.
  2. As of today, we are not sure where we will live when we land in Japan! Pray for guidance as we seek short-term accommodations and also begin searching for housing.
  3. Pray for God to raise up some additional financial partners in the coming weeks/months. We'd certainly appreciate you asking God if He's leading you to be one of those. :)
  4. Lots of goodbyes are on the horizon. Of course, that includes parents, family, friends, and Joshua. We need a lot of grace.
  5. Please pray that the Spirit will give wisdom, humility, and insight as we re-enter ministry in Japan. The situation at ANF will have changed over this past year, and new leaders have emerged (praise God)! We want to return well.
  6. Pray for Gina and my marriage, for our parenting, and for the boys. Pray that the fruits of the Spirit would be evident in our family and we'd be living out of a deep awareness of the Father's love for us during a time of increased stress.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Announcing our move to Serge

“But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me.” (1 Corinthians 16:8-9a)

Dear Friends,

The past nine months of home assignment have been good for our family in so many ways. God has used the time to help us in our marriage, as a family, and in clarifying our sense of calling to Japan. In our last two newsletters, we’ve hinted that we’ve been praying about our specific role for next term. At this point, we’re ready to tell you about an important change we’re making as we prepare to return to Nagoya.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul said he was staying in Ephesus because a wide door for effective work had opened to him. Our context is different, but we also see a wide door for effective ministry open before us, and we want to respond accordingly. About a month ago, Gina and I accepted a new appointment with Serge (formerly World Harvest Mission) to return to Japan this summer. Serge is a theologically reformed, non-denominational mission agency that was established in 1983. The mission now has over 250 missionaries doing church planting, leadership training, and mercy ministry in 20 countries around the world.

In recent years, Serge has had a growing presence in Asia and has been praying that God would provide leaders with experience in that region to help grow that arm of the organization. In Japan, our paths have crossed frequently since Serge has partnered closely with both MTW and the Church Planting Institute (CPI) of Japan. We were surprised and happy when they approached us last summer to ask if we would pray about formally joining Serge to help grow and lead their work in Japan.

Of course, this decision hasn’t been easy, but it came at a time when Gina and I were already wrestling with how God is calling us to set priorities for our next term. We believe we should devote more of our energy to church planting through mentoring and spiritual renewal among Christian leaders in Japan. As we prayed and talked with leaders at both Serge and MTW, we realized that Serge is strongly positioned to come alongside us and provide important resources for that work. Our conversations with Serge leaders have also challenged us to dream bigger and pray about how we can work together for Christ’s Kingdom across Japan and even regionally within Asia. It’s a little scary to make a change like this, but we believe that God is asking us to trust him and follow him through this open door.

We’re especially thankful for the way our MTW leadership supported us as we labored over this decision. Although this new appointment means we will be officially leaving MTW, we will continue to partner closely with MTW teams in Japan – especially through Christ Bible Institute and CPI-Japan. We’re happy to have made strong friendships within the MTW family and expect those relationships will continue for the rest of our lives.

At this point, Gina and I are fully engaged in the process of transitioning over to Serge. Your partnership (in all of its various forms) has been critical to our work so far, and we are asking each of you to continue with us as we return to Japan later this year. As of now, our MTW account has sufficient funds for the transition period. So, if you are one of our financial partners, we’d like to ask you to stop all giving through our MTW account (ASAP) and begin giving through our Serge account. We know this is an extra step, but it should take only a few minutes to set up a new account on Serge’s website at the following link: https://serge.org/staff/id-54662/. If you need step-by-step directions for changing a recurring donation from MTW over to Serge, please click here.

Let me close this letter with a word of heartfelt thanks for your ministry with us. You have all been faithful partners these past five years, and we’ve rejoiced to see God do some big things over this first term. If I’m honest, God has done more than we had the faith to expect or even imagine! He’s used us together for his name and glory. Thank you for being so generous with your prayers and giving - and for standing with us in this work. If you have questions or concerns about our ministry or this move to Serge, please reach out to us. You can email us at grace4japan@gmail.com or even call us on the phone (email me for my number if you need it). I’d be happy to talk with you in more detail.

Grace and Peace,

Jeremy and Gina Sink

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holiday Happenings

A lot has been happening these past few months!  So much so, that we couldn't squeeze it all into our most recent newsletter. In the Newsletter article, we told you about Jeremy's call to pastor All Nations Fellowship in Nagoya. If you missed that update, you can view it here. You might also like to click the subscribe link in the left hand column to start receiving our newsletters on a regular basis!  With language school now over, there will almost certainly be more variety in our updates moving forward!

Gina and Michiyo Sensei
In this post, we wanted to update you on recent family and ministry activities over the past 2 months.  I'll try to insert as many photos as I can dig out...

Gina and I have both been working with a language tutor this year.  Our tutor's name is Michiyo.  Since finishing at Yamasa Language Institute in September, Michiyo Sensei has been my primary language teacher.  She has been Gina's main teacher all year and even meets with each of our boys once each week.  Michiyo Sensei is a very kind and gentle lady who love Jesus.  She's a real blessing to our family!
Garrett and Friends

Gina with Yamamoto San and Kentaro

Every year, ICAN (the boys' school) puts on a big Christmas program.  It's always a special time for ICAN students and their families as we're reminded of the Good News of Jesus' birth.  This year was no exception.  To the left is a picture of Garrett and two of his buddies following this year's program.

Beneath that, you see a picture of Gina with our neighbor, Yamamoto San and her son Kentaro.  Yamamoto has become a good friend to Gina.  They often meet for tea, and Kentaro has begun attending Boys' Choir with Garrett.  This picture was taken after the Christmas program at ICAN.  Yamamoto San and Kentaro came to watch!

Next, is a photo of our good friends Shohei and Sawako Ueki and their children.  Shohei is an elder at All Nation's Fellowship (where I now pastor) and works on staff at Christ Bible Seminary here in Nagoya.  Their children attend ICAN with our boys and became quick friends with Garrett and Josiah.  Next year, Shohei is hoping to study at a seminary in the US.  We hope God makes that possible, but we'll certainly hate to see them go!

Shohei and Sawako Ueki's Family
Can you tell that Joshua is now taller than Jeremy?

The Nisshin Boys' Choir After their Christmas Concert

Over the last few months, Garrett has participated in a boys choir led by our teammates Tom and Teresa Wilson.  The boys met weekly to learn some Christmas carols that they sang at a concert at Christmas time.  It was fun to watch them improve and eavesdrop as Tom taught them about music alongside of the Good News of Jesus' birth.  Our friend Kentaro is also on the back row!  Tom also asked Josiah to accompany the choir on the piano.  He played as part of a duet in the song "Carol of the Bells".  We were very proud of  both our boys!

Josiah accompanying the Boys' Choir

Joshua in Action



Joshua has continued to practice at parcour, and he's really improved this year!  He's especially looking forward to this Sunday (1/4) when an international parcour team connected with the Billy Graham Association will be coming to Nagoya.  Joshua turned 16 in August.  He's now in 10th grade!


It's hard to believe that Josiah turned 13 last month.  That means, we now have TWO teenagers in the house!  For his birthday, we rented a room at a local "trampoline house" and invited several of his friends to come along.  Josiah has had a much better year during 2014.  Thank you for your prayers for him!



Josiah's Birthday Party
Gina made an OREO CAKE!

 Just before Christmas, we got an unusually big snow for our area.  It had melted by the next day, but we enjoyed a few snowball fights and built a pretty creepy looking snowman!




After Christmas, Jeremy and the boys spent a day skiiing in a mountain range about 1.5 hours from our home.  Skiing is is great (and relatively inexpensive) here in Japan.  The boys are getting pretty good!.

Seemed like an appropriate meal in Gina's absence- thanks to Costco!

For some time, Gina and I have been discussing the possibility of her visiting home for a few weeks.  An unexpectedly good rate on plane tickets made it possible for her to make a last-minute trip in late December.  She'll return in mid-January.  Until then, Jeremy is holding down the fort and learning how much his wife really does on a daily basis!



The following are a few other shots that didn't fit anywhere else:




 In November, Jeremy attended General Assembly in Tokyo.  This is a panoramic shot of the room just before the opening session.  Although I understood very little of the "formal" Japanese used in the meetings, it was good to be in a room with so many like-minded believers.  MTW missionaries from all over Japan also gathered during this time.  Our field has really grown, and there was a tremendous spirit of unity in those meetings.  God is blessing our field.  Pray for strong progress during 2015!

JPC General Assembly in Tokyo in November 2015
In December, our team (MTW's Church Planting Team) and the MTW Seminary Team (Christ Bible Institute) held a joint meeting to get to know one another better.  It was a sweet time, and we look forward to connecting more often in the future!

An "Icebreaker" at our meeting with Christ Bible Institute's Team
OK...that's not EVERYTHING that's happened over the past few months, but it certainly hits some of the high spots.  Thank you for your partnership with us to bring the Gospel to this part of Japan.  Many of you are old friends and beloved family.  Others of you are becoming that to us through your praying, emails, and cards.  We really do thank God for you.  The past two years have been some of the most challenging of our lives.  Thank you for standing with us.

May God get glory through us all during 2015!

Grace and Peace,

Jeremy, Gina, Joshua, Josiah, and Garrett


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Photos from Recent Hike

In our June 2014 newsletter, we made reference to a recent hiking trip with teammate, Tom Wilson.  Unfortunately, I wasn't comfortable carrying our nice camera on a backpacking expedition, so the pictures aren't great.  However, we wanted to share some them to give you a better idea of the incredible beauty that exists only a few hours from our home in Nagoya.  To view the photos, please click here.

Why Japan? YWAM Video


Why Japan from Oliver Banyard on Vimeo.
YWAM Tokyo
presents
"WHY JAPAN"

Directed / Produced by David McDaniel
Footage by Bjarte Haugen, Connor Caughlan and Oliver Banyard
Music by David McDaniel

Friday, December 27, 2013

Some Recent Photos...




In October, we took a Saturday and spent a day in the mountains.  The trees had just began changing colors.  We hiked, enjoyed God's creation, and just spent some quality time together.


Japan's maple trees are beautiful in the autumn.  We can't believe we've now been here for TWO seasons without seeing them at their peak.  Time is stretched thin and our schedules just aren't very flexible right now.  That said, we were happy to see some red on a few trees.  Maybe next year, we'll see them at their peak!








I've never been one to get excited about putting up Christmas decorations, but this year simple things like setting up a Christmas tree took on special meaning.  No one complained (including me).  Everyone took part and had a good time.










The day after Christmas, Gina and I delivered a small gift to four of our neighbors.  They were all surprised.  When we asked if they had done anything special to celebrate Christmas, they all answered, "No".  For the most part, Christmas is a normal day in Japan.  People go to work.  Some families celebrate with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a special "Christmas Cake."






On December 17th (Josiah's Birthday), Gina's parents landed in Nagoya.  It was a great reunion.  They'll be with us through the middle of January.










Waiting for Grandparents at the airport.  The boys stood in this spot for almost an hour...watching the door their grandparents would eventually walk through.  They were a little excited to see them!









 Gina and her parents at Nisshin Christ Church's "Christmas Dinner."  The event was an opportunity for church members to invite friends and family to a church event where the Gospel would be presented.  Many of those in attendance had never been in a church building before!









Kaji Uechi is Nisshin Church's college minister.  He gave a wonderful talk about the meaning of Christmas to a room where many people had never been exposed to Christianity.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to use this time to save many of those in attendance!




Are you interested in seeing more photos from our day-to-day life in Japan?  Look for us on FLICKR.  You should be able to find us through Jeremy's email address (jwsink@gmail.com).  We regularly upload new photos there!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Photos of our New Neighborhood

In July, our family moved into a new (rental) home that's about 15 minutes from where we've lived since arriving in Japan.  If you're interested in seeing our new location on a map, you can search for "Kaguyama Japan" in the search box in Google Maps.  If you'd like to see some pictures of our neighborhood, we've uploaded some of them here.  Please note, I've tried to include some interesting comments about the various pictures.  So, look for that those as you view the photos!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Photos from our Trip to Mt. Fuji...


Over Spring Break, we spent a few days at a retreat center near Mt. Fuji.  The first few days were rainy, but the sky cleared on the last day of the trip.  The views were stunning.  To see some photos, CLICK HERE..

Friday, February 22, 2013

2012 - The Year in Review

The following video was put together by one of our teammates (Jake Gee) and shown at Nisshin Christ Church's annual congregational meeting last month.  The video features a message to the church by Pastor Wayne Newsome (also, our team leader).  Even though the message is in Japanese, the video serves as a great visual summary of the church's ministry over the past year.  If you look closely, you may even see a few folks you recognize!

2013 Sokai Video - Nisshin Christ Center from Hey, Brother Brother on Vimeo.

Pastor Wayne Newsome's brief message to the members of Nisshin Christ Center for the 2013 Sokai.

Song: Doxology
Artist: Page CXVI

*Music rights belong solely to Page CXVI.