June 20 marked the end of State of Emergency restrictions in Osaka until they were put in place once again on August 1. We are thankful for the window of time that God gave us, however, to have the liberty to advance our local ministry throughout the month of July. Starting on the third, the Senri Newtown Baptist Church was able to go back out into our local area for soul winning and posting tracts. It started with mostly just us staff couples, but with every week, the number of laborers who came out increased exponentially, even in the midst of peak heat and humidity here in Osaka. On one of the weeks, the church had to take out all three vans to carry the 25-plus laborers to their areas! We are thankful that we get to be a part of a soul-winning church!
With Osaka being an open field of opportunity once again, we decided to put our Luke Project ministry off to the side to focus on reaching our local area after going out to the neighboring Nara prefecture for one last run to further saturate the lost town of Kawanishi. We were able to deliver the Gospel to over 300 homes and were able to have a good conversation with a lady named Ms. Tamura. Please pray that she would place her faith in Christ. As traveling to the unreached towns in Nara for the Luke Project every week took up four to five hours each day just for the round trip, our transition to being able to help our local church reach more of the local area greatly increased our time to witness actively. We are now dedicating our Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays for soul winning, as we simultaneously work to prepare for church planting by learning from the church and working towards language mastery. This month, we were able to deliver the Gospel to 2,600 homes in our local area. As I finished my business-level Japanese language course on the 8th, I am now taking more time to prepare messages for the future and striving towards full literacy on the other days. We strive to talk to every person that we see, and we are starting to see the fruit, with more people opening up to us from simply greeting strangers in a land where doing so is considered a cultural taboo. Please pray that God would create and nurture relationships!
Our language school has been a unique opportunity to introduce Christ to our teachers. On one of my last language lessons on the 6th, our teacher, who has told us that she is an Atheist, began to express great interest in Christ and showed us a genuine desire to come visit our church! We also learned about her love for the cello that day, presenting a clear opportunity. Please pray for Nagabuchi Sensei as my wife continues to be a witness to her in the classroom.
I was given the privilege of preaching for the first time to the church’s general crowd on the Wednesday evening service of the 14th, the day before our now canceled Japan Olympic Outreach delegates were scheduled to arrive. It was a message on attempting great things for God, an encouragement mostly to myself. We have seen a steady flow of visitors at our church, but strangely not from the areas that our church has gone out to in the recent days. God is teaching us that He rewards faith and obedience with fruit from unexpected places, and so we are expecting God to do something great through the efforts put into the Olympic Outreach by faith, as well as our current laboring together for souls here in Japan!
As my husband has mentioned, we have been looking for opportunities to help people in hopes of a chance to share the Gospel with them. At the beginning of this month, I had an opportunity to help an elderly couple with the elevator and doors in the same building of my language school. While helping them, I was able to tell them why I came here to Japan and invite them to church. I have been regularly helping in both the children’s Sunday school and the Wednesday children’s program every other week. I also now have the privilege of playing the piano for children’s church. Senri Newtown Baptist Church provides us with so many opportunities to serve alongside them; I am so thankful for our time of training here.
Your friends and co-laborers to Japan,
Go and Danielle Oishi