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The theme of 2020 was definitely flexibility. Our church’s last newsletter and Christmas planning had just been completed when Osaka moved to stage red for COVID-19, meaning that daily numbers had risen and hospital beds were nearly full. Despite the government’s ambiguous policies, Komyo’s elder board met and decided that for the month of December we would not meet, including Christmas events. We continue to stay at stage red and meet only online when possible. I know so many of you understand the loneliness and isolation this produces. With many of our attenders not able to or not willing to utilize livestream options, our church now has a YouTube channel. Each week the service is recorded and uploaded. Those that have no way of utilizing technology still receive the sermon through postal mail. It is not unheard of here for households to not own a computer or have Wi-Fi. Paul never thought he would become a “YouTuber,” but he has. His learning curve has been quite high as he has learned how to record, render, edit, and upload. Not necessarily a simple task, and it has taken many hours of learning. If you are interested in viewing a service, this is our church’s link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcuaqxhYlUf-DMZAuh5cZtQ/featured. Of course, those that are familiar with the YouTube world know a thumbs up and subscribing to our channel allows for greater recognition and availability. J While we certainly pray and hope that Osaka will move from red to yellow soon so we can meet, we are thankful for this technology and pray that God will use our efforts to glorify Him.
Since we did not meet as a church for Christmas, it was an interesting Christmas celebration. I made cookie trays, and Paul and I delivered them to those that attend Komyo. It was wonderful to visit each person and speak words of encouragement as we wished them all a Merry Christmas. Our last Sunday together was spent celebrating Yuki’s baptism and decorating for Christmas.
Of course, the highlight of 2021 has been Yuri Nakano’s return from Edmonton, arriving in Japan just before the borders closed again. Then Shan Reed departing for her home assignment for six months on January 8. We are thankful for both of their safe travel experiences and look forward to the fall when all of us will be reunited and on the field together. We continue to pray, hope, and look forward to the Gauido family joining us. Praying that God would answer our prayer and allow them to join us this August 2021. Please continue to pray with us: nabonmission.org/missionaries/raffaele-sylvia-gaudio.
The JBC youth met for a one-day online gathering in January, and we hosted the four youth that live in our area. In April, we will grow by one more as Yuki will enter Jr. High and join in on the fun. Keep the youth in prayer. Komyo has two youth, and Kongo Baptist has two youth; pray for these youth as they find strength in their relationship with God and with others.
Noah and Jonah returned to Houghton’s campus on January 23 to begin their second semester. Noah is working toward graduation in May, which we are hoping to attend. Their soccer season was moved from the fall to the spring, and we covet your prayers for continued protection in body, mind, and spirit. Elijah will continue with Pearson online Academy. With Osaka at red, we have been asked not to commute across prefectural lines. (KCS is in Nara prefecture.) Keep him in prayer, as his world is quite small these days. We continue to be thankful for Hi-b.a. (an inter-denominational youth ministry) and their online meetings.
We are so very thankful for your partnership with continued prayers and support!
- Yuri Nakano is in Japan! Shan Reed arrived safely in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
- We experienced a different Christmas this year, but it was still a blessing to remember and reflect on Jesus’ birth.
- Safe travels for us to Tokyo and back, two times in one week.
- Our youth who love God and want to worship Him.
- Our youth, that they would continue to grow and mature in their faith.
- Yoko and her faith during life’s difficulties.
- That Osaka’s COVID numbers would go down.
- The Gaudio family’s continued fundraising and preparations for Japan.
- Noah and Jonah at Houghton and Elijah studying at home.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 6:19–20 (NIV)
2-33-6 Miikedai, minami ku, Sakai shi, Osaka Japan 590-0134
680 Heim road getzville New york USA 14068