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Dear Friends and Family,
Whew! The last two and half months feel like they have been on fast forward, or am I just feeling my age J In June we celebrated the 2018 graduates of KCS and the end of school, then our fast paced summer began. We escaped for a few days to Okinawa for our annual mission conference of study and relaxing in the sun. We were blessed with great weather, right between two typhoons! We came back and welcomed Shan Reed back to the field. It’s always a good feeling welcoming team mates back, we have become family and we miss their presence.
We had the great privilege of hosting our nephew, Paul, for two weeks. (Yes, we had two Pauls in the houseJ) The boys loved hanging out doing the cousin thing and we loved getting to know Paul better. He did a great job surviving the heat of Osaka and enjoying Japanese cuisine.
It was a blessing to see Shan and Yuri leading the women’s’ conference again at the church. They both have their own style of teaching, which compliments each other. They encouraged us to discern our hearts according to how God sees us; many women were challenged to get rid of the false views of themselves and start to see themselves the way that God sees them. Pray for these woman as they grow in their faith and relationship with God and stop believing in the false ideas of who they are.
Paul flew out July 23–August 1 for the NAB Triennial, having meetings before and after. He had a great time catching up with fellow missionaries and others throughout the conference. He is always grateful for the opportunity to spend time with his parents. The Triennial being in Edmonton added an extra blessing of cooler temperatures and lower humidity. He thoroughly enjoyed himself. While he was in Edmonton, we were preparing for our Gateway team which arrived July 27-August 9. With Paul away, I became the driver for our van; thankfully I was able to follow Shan as we traveled around Osaka, Kyoto, Ise, Tsu, and Koka (home of the Koga clan of Ninjas).
It was a blessing to host the team from Washburn, ND. They were energized, excited to learn and try new things, and ready to share their faith. We had a great time at Komyo’s North Dakota cultural day. The farm and ranch lands of North Dakota are quite different to the sky scrapers and city life of Osaka. The team shared their stories of growing up in the Midwest and their faith walk with Jesus. It was an encouragement to hear their stories and love for Jesus.
We continued from Osaka and shared the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto City and the religious center of Shinto, and Ise City. They were able to experience the emptiness of the Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines, ringing a bell to wake the deity, throwing money to ask for requests, and then wondering if the deity even heard. At the Ise Shrine they were struck by its simplicity and the apparent desire people have to experience power through nature. They walked away with a better understanding of the importance of relationship building, sharing Jesus through shared experiences, and caring for one another as we share Jesus through our daily life.
The team enjoyed sharing again with our fellow JBC members at the center in Tsu and then trained to be ninjas as we visited the Ninja village. We departed from each other for a few days as the team continued onto Chita and Kasugai Churches. We praise God for opportunities and open hearts that the team experienced. Since they were guests in Japan, this opened opportunities that those of us who have lived here have not had. With 127 million people in Japan and less than 1% being Evangelical Christian, we pray for the seeds that were planted, that those seeds will grow and be nourished.
We will finish the summer with youth camp, JBC pastors’ and missionaries’ family retreat and celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.
Paul and Melissa