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I am thankful for the hope we have in Christ, because at the cross, He showed us victory over death and sin. Because Christ lives, we have resurrection hope! I was so happy to hear that my friend’s friend got baptized on Easter Sunday! My friend, A, who is not a believer yet but was one of my housemates in Edmonton many years ago, got in contact with me last year. She was concerned for her friend, who was getting information about Christianity over the internet and wanted me to get in touch with her to talk about Christianity and answer any questions her friend might have. I said, “Sure! I’d love to talk with her.” Her friend, C, happens to live in Tsu city, which is where one of our churches is located and I was going to visit in a couple of weeks. I made plans to meet up with her at the church worship service. Both A and C came to the worship service! We had lunch together and talked a lot about many questions she had. I prayed that she would continue to go to the Tsu Baptist church, and she did! She went almost consistently every week and started having weekly Bible studies with the pastor and another young woman. She started coming to church in early August, and she decided to get baptized on Easter Sunday, along with her boyfriend! God orchestrated a path for C to salvation by connecting a friend from another prefecture through a Canadian connection (me) to get connected to a church in her hometown of Tsu! God can use anyone from anywhere to get His purposes accomplished! Now I am praying for A to also seek after the Lord and be saved.
The resurrection hope of Christ was also felt in the lives of some of the ladies that I mentor. I was encouraged by the start of one woman wanting to mentor her own children. She has such a great relationship with her adult children (college-age son and daughter out of the house, working). She sets up regular Zoom meetings with them to talk about spiritual matters in their lives. She also had a breakthrough in her relationship with the Lord, as she finally has truly “experienced” God’s love for her rather than just via “head knowledge.” The times of prayer with several of the women leaders of the JBC churches has continued to be a source of mutual encouragement.
On April 25, we were able to hold a Ladies Seminar at Higashi Muko Church for the first time. It was a small group of four women from the church, but they were very talkative and engaged with the topic of God’s love and loving others via understanding different love languages or expressions of love. I was encouraged by these ladies who truly love the Lord, respect each other, and have hope for the salvation of their husbands and children. Thank you for continuing to pray that these seminars will encourage the women and that this will be a catalyst for furthering deeper spiritual connection with each other and with the Lord.
Lastly, I had a great opportunity to enjoy a retreat for missionaries, called Still Waters, to renew my hope in the resurrected Christ. It was in a beautiful location near Mt. Fuji. I was refreshed by the sharing of other missionaries and also the personal private times with the Lord in prayer. There were many creative ways for spiritual reflection. What a blessing!