Hallelujah! God has allowed us to finish our chapter of serving at the Senri Newtown Baptist Church of Minoo, Osaka, with so many great victories! This is our final report covering our time of learning in Osaka, as well as the first report that we are writing to you as the interim pastor of the Immanuel Seisho (“Bible”) Baptist Church of Nayoro, Hokkaido, during the six-month furlough of the Smith family, their missionary pastor. This month became a climax of all that He has allowed us to do in our first two years in Japan, and we are excited to share all that He has done.
Our month began with the official permanent arrival of the Morgan family, a new FBMI missionary family to Japan, on March 2. They will also be spending their first chapter in Japan at the Senri Newtown Baptist Church to serve and grow in their effectiveness in reaching the Japanese people. It was a great honor to help Bro. & Mrs. Morgan, as well as their six children—Sienna, Aiden, Callan, Braden, Keira, and Grayson—move into their new home in Japan, as well as assist them with their transition procedures, such as registering their children’s residence in Japan, opening a bank account, enrolling in language school, and getting them plugged into serving at the Senri Newtown Baptist Church as we handed off many of our responsibilities to them. We were challenged by their initiative in tackling many of their procedures on their own, and we have no doubt in our minds that God will use them in a mighty way. Though we have never previously disclosed this, back when they visited in December, we found out that the announcement of the 2020 FBMI Japan Olympic Outreach was instrumental in their deciding to take their first steps towards coming to Japan and starting deputation. We have often wondered why God allowed us to organize and labor for such a large-scale trip that never happened. We praise the Lord that His answer was the Morgan family, another army of laborers to Japan. Our labor is not in vain! He makes all things work together for good!
On March 7, we were given another opportunity by another one of our supporting churches in the United States to witness to a group of 13 Japanese exchange students. Please pray that God would allow this first Gospel seed that was sown to bear fruit! On March 16 & 17, we had the wonderful privilege of attending this year’s conference and graduation at the Kansai Independent Baptist Bible School. Though it was busy, as we were scheduled to be out of our apartment in Osaka on March 24, it was well worth it to be set on fire once more before we transitioned into our first pastorate!
Last month, we asked you to pray that the oldest daughter of one of our contacts in Kobe, Hyogo, would be able to attend our church’s Teen Camp. Not only did she come in spite of twisting her ankle the day before and struggling about coming on the day of, but during her first preaching service there on March 27, she responded during the invitation and trusted Christ as her personal Saviour! This was especially a great joy to us, as we met her through one of our first contacts in Osaka, whom we have been witnessing to now for some time. We rejoiced that the teenagers of the Senri Newtown Baptist Church welcomed her warmly in a way seldom seen in Japan outside of the local church, as this was her very first time attending any kind of camp. Outside her one visit to our church, this was her first time experiencing real Bible preaching. Please pray that she will continue growing in the Lord through the local church! I preached my last sermon at the Senri Newtown Baptist Church on March 29, which was followed by a very gracious sendoff, and we began a new chapter of our lives in ministry in Nayoro, Hokkaido, early the next morning. Thank you for praying for us as we embark on this new journey!
This month was filled with so many mixed emotions. It started with the excitement of the Morgan family arriving in Japan. I helped in the children’s classes by leading games, playing piano, and emceeing as usual, but this month, I also had the privilege of translating for the Morgan children in most of those classes! It was so fun spending time with them and helping them as they adjusted to their new life in Japan. Towards the end of the month, we were busy packing up our apartment and preparing for our move. I was given the privilege of teaching the lesson in children’s church on our final Sunday; then we spent the following Monday through Wednesday at Teen Camp. It was busy, but I am so thankful for the extra time we were able to spend with the teens! Wednesday evening was our last service at Senri Newtown Baptist Church, and all the final goodbyes were very difficult. I am so thankful for the time we spent there and for the friends we made during that time. We then flew to Hokkaido the very next morning. We are so sad to leave everyone at the church but very excited to see God work in this new chapter of our lives and ministry!
Your friends and co-laborers to Japan,
Go and Danielle Oishi