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Dear Family and Friends,
As I compiled pictures to put into this edition of “Shan in Japan’s Newsletter,” I couldn’t help but notice the theme of mentoring that emerged (and the sheer number of pictures that I wanted to share! Sorry for the overload this time!). I think this quarter’s newsletter could be subtitled, “Why I do what I do!” Thank you for being part of what God has called me to do here in Japan!
Komyo Christian Church
For the past two years we have been hosting seminars three times a year at Komyo Church for the ladies of our regional Japan Baptist Conference (JBC) churches, as well as for ladies from other area churches. The theme for July’s seminar was thirst. We talked about the thirsts of our heart and how we try to quench them on our own rather than with God’s love and grace. As the ladies get to know each other and their desires for knowing God deepen, the discussion around the tables also deepen. It is such a joy to see these women delving into God’s Word and sharing their hearts with each other.
Every Wednesday night and Thursday morning I have the privilege of leading Bible studies for our church members. For the past year we have been studying Acts, learning about Peter’s and Paul’s commitment to the Great Comission, seeing the Holy Spirit at work in the early church and the lives of the believers, and learning a little geography along the way. We are encouraged and challenged by God’s Word and each other each week.
The Gathering 2017
Being part of the JBC’s youth committee has given me many new opportunities to serve over the past three years. In July, Kensaku and Hiroko Higashi and I had the privilege of attending The Gathering 2017 with almost 600 NAB youth and leaders from around the US and Canada. Kensaku is a pastor in the JBC and the leader of the JBC youth committee. The three of us attended the gathering to learn more about what is going on in North America, to see if any of it could translate into a Japanese context, and to connect with leaders and youth of the NAB. I’d say our trip was a huge success!
Each morning the youth and leaders participated in volunteer service projects in the cities of Orange and Anaheim, CA. The three of us worked with Magnolia Baptist Church in Anaheim painting trash cans in area parks. Also in our group was the group from Washburn, ND. We had a great time not only painting, but also fellowshipping with these lovely people.
Evenings were filled with worship, learning and fellowship. One evening we were allowed to share a little about Japan and what God is doing here. Hiroko wore the yukata, summer kimono, she had made and drew lots of attention. Many students and leaders stopped by our table to chat and learn more about Japan, and sample the candy, of course.
When I was in high school my home church started a wonderful program to help seminary students learn more about ministry while attending seminary. Our first student pastor was Mike Decker who is now pastoring a church in Costa Mesa, CA. He and his wife, Robin, have encouraged me in my walk with God over the years. While we were in California, Kensaku and Hiroko also had the opportunity to fellowship with and be encouraged by Mike and Robin. At church on Sunday morning we also got to worship with Carol Potratz, who has been a mentor to each of us and was Robin’s youth leader in Bismarck, ND, a few years ago. The circle of mentoring continues!
In October I will be heading back to the US for home assignment. I look forward to thanking you in person and sharing how God is at work in Japan. Although my fall schedule is already full, after the new year my schedule is wide open. Please let me know when you’d like me to visit your church for Sunday worship, Bible studies, Awana, youth group gatherings, retreats, camps, VBS, and/or any other fellowship gatherings.
I am grateful for Ken and Rachelle Johnson and their family as they have worked at Komyo Christian Church this past year while the Ewing family was on home assignment! Thank you for your prayers for us this year!
God’s richest blessings as you continue seeking and serving Him right where He has placed you.
Soli Deo Gloria, Shan in Japan