Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Need in Japan Continues to be Great

Though Japan isn't dominating the headlines, the Japanese people are still digging out.  Opportunities for the Gospel are great, and our MTW teams continue to provide both disaster relief and the bread of life in the midst of the devastation.  The following article from the NY Times provides a picture of the current situation in the town of Otsuchi - where our teammates recently ministered:  http://nyti.ms/iLJV1Z.  Continue to pray for the Japanese and our teams in the country.  Pray also about whether God is leading you to partner with us to send the Bread of Life to the Spiritually hungry people of Japan.  Our family is anxious to be on the field to help.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

40% raised!

The past two months have been very encouraging.  We've been invited to visit a different church almost every Sunday, and folks are expressing a lot of interest in our calling to Japan.  The country remains on everyone's mind following the recent string of disasters.  God is stirring Christians to reach out to the Japanese, and many of them are being led to help send missionaries in addition to contributing toward disaster relief efforts.  A perfect example of this is described in my previous post about Gnomes 4 Japan (below).

Current Events:

  • Praise God - we've broken the 40% mark in our fundraising!  
  • New partners have been coming on board every week.  Lots of momentum.
  • We're scheduled to attend pre-field training with MTW during the month of July.
  • We still have lots of speaking venues scheduled for the coming weeks between now and July.
Of course, we still have a lot of money to raise.  The high cost of living in Japan combined with a strong yen and weak dollar make for a challenging financial situation for missionaries.  We're continuing to press ahead and are in the process of reaching out to the 300+ families on our monthly mailing list to ask them to consider partnering with us financially.  If 200 donors would commit to skip a meal out each month and contribute that money to our ministry, we would jump to being 80% funded.  As you pray for us, please pray to that end...and ask God whether he may be leading you to partner with us to plant new churches in the spiritually dark land of Japan.

Please contact us if we can answer questions or be of any service!



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gnomes 4 Japan!

Our new friend, Mary Spaar, is a 6th grade student at Redeemer School in Winston Salem. After the recent earthquake and tsunami, Mary wanted to do something to help the people of Japan. As she and her family thought and prayed together, they realized two things: (1) The spiritual need in Japan is just as great as the physical needs in the aftermath of the disasters, and (2) Although the physical needs of the people in Japan are great, there are going to be a lot of organizations like the Red Cross on the field laboring to meet those needs in the days to come. 

After talking and praying with her mom, Mary came to the conclusion that God was leading her to find a way to help support missions in Japan and heard about our family from a mutual friend.  She contacted us in March to ask if it would be alright for her to do a fundraising project to help send us to Nagoya to share the Gospel with Japanese people in the wake of the tsunami.  We were blown away by Mary's heart for the Japanese to hear the Good News of Jesus, and humbly accepted her gracious offer.

Over the next month and a half, Mary and three of her good friends (Meredith, Sophie, and Ellie) took orders for handmade gnomes like the ones pictured here. Her plan was to sell her creations for $3 each and donate the proceeds to our support account.

As we corresponded with Mary and her mom over the weeks that followed our initial conversation, it was apparent that Mary had received more orders than she'd originally dreamed possible.  Her mom told us that her original goal was around 30 gnomes, which would've raised around $100 for her to contribute to our account.  However, orders soared and when all was said and done, Mary had filled orders for more than 125 of these wonderful little gnomes!  Each gnome was made to order and customized according to the wishes of each individual.  There were gnomes with beards, buttons, and stars...and even "army gnomes" sporting machine guns for Mary's boy-customers!

Gina and I continue to be amazed at the ways God is providing for this calling.  This time, he's chosen to use the artistic talents of 12-year-old Mary Spaar.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!