Click here to view this newsletter as a PDF.
Dear Friends and Family,
The book of Philippians has been in the highlight of my life for the past year. Paul preached from Philippians 2:12-18, encouraging us to work out our faith on a daily basis as we hold onto the word of God, holding it out to others and shining as brightly as the stars. He reminded us that our sun is our closest star and asked us, “are we shinning as brightly and as brilliantly as our sun?” A lot to ponder, a lot to hold onto. With Philippians as a theme for our lives this year, I worked through a study by Margaret Feinberg, “Overcomer.” At the start of Philippians, the Apostle Paul greets us with, “grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Grace is God’s favor, and the word describes God’s character and actions toward His people…but Paul couples grace with peace–a word that alludes to more than well-being but a satisfaction, fulfillment, and wholeness. This kind of peace isn’t based in the absence of something–stress, trials, or hardships–but the presence of Someone. Peace abounds in relationship with God. The deep transforming, holistic shalom ushers us into a life abounding in peace with God, with others, and with-in.” (Margaret Feinberg, “Overcomer”, p.6-7)
I sat with this for a while. I was reminded of Jesus’ words, in this life you will have trouble, people won’t like you, people will persecute you, BUT have hope, have peace, because Jesus has overcome! Resting in God’s plan, holding on to the assurance that everything will work out for good according to His plan. I don’t have to see/know all the details of the plan, or be in charge of the plan. I need to be faithful with what God has given me. As we prepare to return to Japan on August 14 there will be many changes, many challenges, yet may I remain faithful to the good work that God has already gone before me, prepared for me to do.
Jonah, Elijah, and I will be flying from Buffalo on August 14. The boys need to return to Japan by August 16 for immigration purposes. Paul will stay to bring Noah to Houghton College on August 18 and then fly back to Japan on August 21. We covet your prayers as this new chapter in our family life begins. Pray that with the changes we will respond well and hold onto God’s grace and peace.
Since our last newsletter, we continued visiting our supporting churches. Many were located in the Eastern Association, in which we live, and we were able to travel as a family for the weekend. It was nice being together for so many trips. Our lives were blessed by our many visits with the NAB family.
5/21 Parma Heights Church, Parma Heights, OH
5/28 Calvary Baptist Church, Killaloe ON
6/04 Pineland Baptist Church, Burlington, ON
6/11 Nepean Baptist Church, Nepean, ON
6/18 Immanuel Baptist Church, Beulah, ND
7/02 Immanuel Baptist Church, St. Catherine’s, ON
7/09 Word of Life, Alpena, MI
7/23 Neshamiy Valley Baptist Church, Bensalem PA
We were also extremely blessed to be given the ability to vacation as a family July 14-21. We were able to stay in Mount Jackson, VA, and take in the local scenery, along with day trips to Monticello and Washington, DC. Along with the sightseeing, God blessed us with fellowship time with Paul’s sister, Deb and her family, and his cousin, Jeremy and his family. God even gave us the joy of being able to reconnect with Paul’s seminary professor, Dr. Hugh Litchfield. It was a lot of driving, but good rest and good family times. Paul was even able to pass on his love of golf to Jonah and Elijah.
Please pray for Yuri Nakano, Shan Reed, and us as we transition once again to working together as a team and prepare for Shan Reed’s home assignment time starting in October. There will be plenty of transition work, organizing and adjustments the first couple months of our return. Please continue to pray for Ken and Rachelle Johnson as they finish their time with NAB and transition from one ministry to another.
Pray for the people of Komyo Christian Church. As Jesus prayed in John 17 for unity, please join with us in praying that the believers of Komyo Church would be unified in Spirit as they continue to grow in their relationship with Jesus and with each other. Pray that they will be spiritually protected and that they will continue to seek Jesus and work out their faith so that they might shine like the stars in the heavens.
Paul and Melissa