Sunday, February 27, 2011

Covenant Presbyterian - Jackson, TN

Our dear friend Mark Bolyard (photo taken in Riga in '09)
So far, the trip to Jackson has been very encouraging!  It's always good to have a chance to connect with Mark Bolyard - a friend that we met on our very first trip to Riga.  I'd never met Mark's wife (Susan) or children (Chris and Andrea).  They're a great family, and they've been wonderful hosts.

Last night, I met with some of the high school and college students who attend Covenant Presbyterian, and this morning, we had breakfast with others from the church before going to help out at the local soup kitchen.  It was fun to get to know brothers and sisters in Christ as we worked together for the advancement of the Kingdom in Jackson.

This afternoon, Mark and I drove up to Martin and had lunch with students from the RUF group at the University of Tennessee in Martin.  The time was rich with good questions and valuable insights all around the table.  One of the young men was even taking Japanese and most were openly wondering whether God might be calling them to spend time working in cross cultural missions.  As we talked, I imagined that some of our paths might cross again as co-laborers on the field in Japan.  As you read this entry, please take a moment and pray that God would raise up new workers who will relocate to fields like Japan.  The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Pray that the Lord of the harvest would send out more workers into his harvest field.  And pray specifically for the RUF students in Martin who are willing to go wherever God might call them...and are just waiting for their marching orders from the King.

While you're at it, please pray for us.  We're ready to go but still have a lot of money to raise.  The numbers seem overwhelming at times, but we also realize that nothing is too hard for God!

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Japan Missionaries are Decreasing

This is a note that recently went out from Dan Iverson - the MTW country director for Japan.  I'll pass it along here in its entirety.

(FYI - JEMA stands for "Japan Evangelical Missionary Association")

"JAPAN MISSIONARIES DECREASING: Jema annual meeting book says Jema missionary membership has decreased from about 1280 in 2003 to 980 in 2010, about a 24% decrease!  “First aid: Stop the bleeding! Start the breathing!”  If Japan church was strong, with a growing force of pastors and church planters, that would be a welcome thing for missionary numbers to decrease, as our national partners increase.  But that is NOT the case.  There are NOT enough pastors to replace the once retiring and dying.  Japan is still the second largest unreached people group in the world after main people group of Bangladesh.

 “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest, to Japan!”  Praise God that JPM / MTW is growing in number of missionaries in Japan.  May we humbly give thanks, and seek to be an influence for raising more missionary and Japanese Kingdom workers in Japan."

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The following is a prayer of Martin Luther that's been "remixed" and published by a friend of mine.  We used it as a corporate confession during worship last Sunday, and it's meant a lot to me this week. I thought I'd share it here:

Oh God, my God, do You not hear me?
My God, are You dead?

No, You cannot die;
You are merely hidden.
Have you called me here to this place?
I ask You because I must be sure.

God, let me know that it is true!
Never in my life had I thought I could stand
in the face of such opposition
and never had I set out to do it.

Father stand with me in the name
of Your dear Son Jesus Christ,
my Protector, Defender, and mighty Fortress,
through the power and help of Your Holy Spirit.
Lord, where are You?

Come, come,
I am like a patient lamb that lays down its life.
The cause is Yours and it is righteous.
I can never be separated from You because of Christ!
I am so resolved in Your Name
that the world cannot force me
to act against my conscience,
even under threat of bodily harm.

So Your Word and Spirit,
they come now to my rescue –
even if only for the body.
My soul is Yours.

It belongs to You, and so let it remain with You forever.
So help me God.

Japan is ageing faster than any country in history, with vast consequences for its economy and society.