Greetings from Hitachinaka, Japan.
After a four-month Home Assignment in Ontario, returning “home” feels good. We dreaded a summer of weeds in the backyard and our garden on the edge of the subdivision, but our neighbour took it upon himself to do some spraying for us. We were sad to leave elderly parents, daughters Julia and Tess and her husband Jacob, as well as, new grandbaby Raphael Amos Winter, born September 13 in Toronto. Tess and Jacob live close to Julia, who started work in downtown Toronto this summer after graduating from U of Waterloo. We were able to visit 22 churches and Rob preached 21 times on 19 Sundays. It was fun, and encouraging to visit churches from Thunder Bay to Thedford, Timmins and Thornloe to Tillsonburg, and a lot of places that don’t begin with a T as well. We learned that God is more faithful to us than we could ever be to Him. The Lord provided two wonderful loaner cars, many different beds to sleep in, too many fish for Rob to count, mountains of wild blueberries picked with very fine people, treasured times with friends from the past, and some new friends committed to praying for Japan.
Rob’s first month back in Japan involved preaching 6 times in 5 small churches. Rob also was asked to do a funeral sermon for a 72-year-old cancer victim. His wife is a member of Hitachi Hope, our first church-plant. Rob knows the wife well, but her husband had only attended online, and we had never actually met him, unless meeting someone when they are dead counts. Mr. K could have come in person but was unable to overcome the fear of what his coworkers would think if they knew he was a Jesus follower. The church meets 500 metres from a large Hitachi factory, his employer. He was a secret believer, unwilling/unable to let his light shine before men. Our opportunities to shine are limitless but we understand the pressure he faced not to do so. Pray for Japan!
Kathryn has jumped right back into meeting with several ladies in parks and coffee shops for Discovery Bible Studies (mostly one on one). She wondered whether the ladies would still be interested in continuing discovering together after 5 months off, but most contacted her to meet her first week back. Please pray for the scales to fall off unbelieving eyes!
We are not big travelers, but we will take a 5-hour flight to visit Manila in the Philippines for the first part of November. You see, it is not just little Raphael Winter in Toronto, but tiny Mia Joy Fleming, born October 6 to Grady and Brittany who has made us very young grandparents.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
Ephesians 3:20 NLT
In June, we let you know of our financial needs. We want to praise God for meeting all the shortfalls and our need for monthly pledged support of $800 has been reduced to just about nothing. This is amazing! Thanks for giving, but please ask for more details if you feel led to pray more for Japan. We live in the Japanese countryside where less than 0.1% of Japanese are Christians, and few of the 0.1% are confident to let anyone know they are believers. George Muller said “Do not let yesterday’s seemingly unanswered prayers stop you from praying in faith today.”
Kathryn & Rob