Merry Christmas 2022!
We are excited that Julia (23) will be coming “home” to Japan for Christmas! Our annual Zoom Christmas celebration will have Grady and Britt joining from Manila and Tess and Jacob visiting family in Chicago (they live in Toronto). We want to say thank you to all who have been praying and supporting us financially! God continues to meet our every need and surprise us! We just found out today that of one of our long-term supporting churches increased their financial support 25%, with a renewed commitment to pray for us and Japan. Anybody, or any church that wants to join them, Japan needs your prayers.
Japanese greet each other with a no touch BOW, so we were shocked recently to receive HUGS! First, our 75-year-old neighbour, Mrs. T, whom we have known for over 20 years, shared that she was afraid because of upcoming hip replacement surgery. She made us promise not to tell any of the neighbours about this. A few days before her hospitalization Kathryn dropped off a Christian book at her house. She hugged Kathryn in the entrance of her home, asked for her phone number and then called Kath from the hospital. Kath has been meeting with Mrs. T’s daughter for 2 years for Discovery Bible Study (DBS). A few days ago, Mrs. T stopped Kath and told her that she wants to join the DBS in January. God has been at work in her daughter’s life and making an impact on the whole family including son and husband! Please pray along with us that this will actually happen.
The second HUG was from Yuuki. We have known him since he was 4 years old through Hitachi Hope Church, which we helped start. When Yuuki was 10, his mom died of cancer. Dad did not cope well, and struggled with mental illness. Hitachi Hope Church honoured mom’s deathbed request to take care of Yuuki. This little pastorless church of 25 members gave him a full ride scholarship through university and now he has a good job in Tokyo. Last month, Yuuki’s dad passed away. Yuuki, now 28 and married, asked the church to help him look after the funeral arrangements, as there is no family. Rob mentored Yuuki as a teenager so when they were reunited at the funeral, they embraced each other for a good long time. Tears were shed! Rob was honoured to bring the gospel message.
Kath continues to pray for more opportunities to meet ladies and help them discover Jesus. She has added two more studies; an expat friend, married to a Japanese man, who is finding DBS a good way to change her perspective about things and another with a long time Christian friend, Miss Y, going deeper in the Word together. Miss Y told Kath that her friend M wants to join the DBS in January. Kath is challenging Miss Y to do a DBS with her friend without Kath, but Kath will be mentoring Miss Y in the process. We ask you to be in prayer for this possible spreading of the gospel!
It is not all work and no play! We have been empty nesters for the past 4 years. One thing we like to do on our day off is to have a Japanese fried noodle BBQ at the ocean! This is a picture at the beach near our home. Blessed!
We are planning a four-month home assignment next year starting in May. We are always encouraged as we meet and reconnect with churches and other friends. We will be reaching out in the new year with possible dates to connect. Until then, we send a virtual HUG to you this Christmas.
Rob& Kathryn Fleming,
Fellowship International Japan