3rd Anniversary IBIDaniel Kokubun Prayer Letter:  Antonny's StoryGod has been good! We were hoping for an attendance of 300 people for our third anniversary, and the Lord far exceeded our expectations by blessing us with 375 people on Sunday morning, July 5. All three of our choirs sang “In the Shadow of the Cross.” This is the song Daniel translated this past January for our youth camp, so it was very special to have all three choirs singing. I have a feeling he was watching our church very closely that day from his place in Heaven. Twenty-one people received Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The work continues here, and I’m daily finding the Lord to be faithful.

I’d like to share a testimony that Antonny, one of our teenagers, shared about Daniel a few weeks ago in church. I hope you enjoy it:

Antonny is a 17-year-old who attends our church and has helped in one of our church plants. Around March this year, he got to the point that he wanted to quit on God. Antonny said, “It was a time of confusion for me because I didn’t feel like I wanted to conform to the whole God thing; I wanted to try out other things. I decided to leave church because I got bored. I was unhappy and didn’t know what to do, so I left church. I decided I should return to the world. I grew up in the world and was used to sin.

I thought that no one would miss me or notice I was gone, but Bro. Daniel always sent me text messages. During this time, my phone was cut off, and I couldn’t text him back. But I thought, Oh well. He always told me, “Friend, I´m praying for you. I miss you when you don’t come. I love you.” Then one Friday morning, he sent me a message asking me to come to teen church that night. “I’m going to preach something that could help you,” he wrote. Bro. Daniel preached about our faith and that it has to be stable. After the service, I left quickly, and then Daniel sent me a message that said, “Thanks for coming.”

Daniel kept pursuing me and writing me messages. I realized, “Wow! I really matter to him; he really does love me.” Then one morning he came to visit me. He knocked on my door, and I walked out like a zombie. He asked if we could talk. I said, “Yes,” and we went to the beach. When we got there, he asked me why I was doing this, why I had left church. He wanted to know why, but I told him I didn’t know. I was dodging his questions and didn’t want to answer. He asked me, “How is your relationship with God?” I told him it was a failure, because I hadn’t prayed or read my Bible since the day I left church. He told me, “Yes, I know why you’re like that. I know why you don’t understand God very well. It’s because of the relationship you have with your earthly father. Because your Dad failed you, you fear your heavenly Father will also fail you.” He asked again, “Why are you doing this? When are you coming back?” I told him, “In two weeks I’ll come back.”

Bro. Daniel then asked, “Antonny, do you love me?” I said, “I don’t know. I don’t know what I feel. I don’t know how to love my parents.” He asked me again, for the second time, if I loved him. I said, “I don’t know.” Then a third time, he asked me the same thing. I answered again, “I don´t know.” Afterwards he told me something I will never forget. He said, “Antonny, I will always love you, even if you never love me.” We went back to my house, and the whole ride was completely silent.

Antonny has now returned to church. He helps as a captain for our teenagers and serves as an usher in the back of the church, just like Daniel used to do every single week. His life is one that was touched and will forever be changed by Daniel’s life.

Thank you for all your prayers and special gifts of support during these past few months. I greatly appreciate every note of encouragement and every prayer. God is faithful, but I am walking through a valley I had never even imagined walking. Please continue to pray for me, that my faith will fail not through this trial. I would also covet your prayers for my preacher, Dan Hubbard, who has basically taken on all of Daniel’s responsibilities. If you knew Daniel, then you know he carried quite a load, and filling in the gaps he left, is no easy task. Also, please continue to lift up our church people and teens. We are all learning so much as we walk through this valley.

In His service,

Heather Kokubun