Glory to God! With only a year remaining until our scheduled move to the city of Kisarazu, where God has called us to plant our first church, we are quickly transitioning into a season of practical preparation for our upcoming church plant. So much progress has been made already in this short month, and we are excited to report all that God has allowed us to do and to give a more detailed outline of our strategy for the planting of the Kisarazu Kibō (“Hope”) Baptist Church!
One of the many lessons we have learned from the Senri Newtown Baptist Church comes from how it was planted and how it has grown. This fruitful local church that has been planting local churches for the last 56 years began in a rented space and waited to purchase any building until the church body had grown numerically and spiritually enough to raise their own funds for their own building. This allowed the church to become its own investment and not something that was handed to them. We believe that this is one of many important models we must follow in Japan if we hope to see our church continue past our lifetime, should the Lord tarry His return. However, in Japan, in order to have the legal power to invite missionaries to labor long-term, we need to own land where activities are recorded and registered. As there is such a great need for more laborers in Japan, we believe that it is also our responsibility to take the necessary steps to open the door for more missionaries to be able to arrive in this nation where the borders are heavily regulated. For these reasons, we decided that we will start our church in a rented space but buy land for our personal housing, reserving a portion of that land and building as our church office where we can meet with people freely outside of our rented-auditorium-space hours, as well as begin recording a history of activity with the purpose of obtaining the power to bring future missionaries in. As we have been advised to plan and begin this process a year ahead if we were to purchase land and build, we spent the majority of this month outlining and carrying out the practical and financial aspects of this plan, starting with the decisions involving land and a mortgage.
We had our first meeting with our real estate agent on August 4, and after a series of meetings that followed, we scheduled a trip from August 25–27 to survey potential land available for purchase and meeting spaces available for rent. God allowed us to find a beautiful building off of a main street that was specifically built to rent out for indoor events, and when we went to see it, the owners happened to be there and were kind enough to show us the inside, as well as give us the contact to book in advance. To our surprise, Sunday mornings were rarely booked. This space holds 50 people, with two separate rooms that we could use for a nursery, as well as for a children’s church. As for the land, we were shown a beautiful corner lot off of another well-traveled road, where having a public office space was permitted. We made the decision to secure this land on the 31st and will likely be using the rental space that the Lord allowed us to find. Please continue to pray, as our next step will be the building and securing of our mortgage plans!
The church was able to hold its Family Bible Camp for the first time in four years on August 11 & 12. Most of my duties involved driving and filling in last-minute needs, while my wife was involved in the children’s programs. We are so thankful to Senri Newtown Baptist Church for all of the opportunities they give us to serve and be involved in while simultaneously investing countless hours of counsel in guiding us through this church-planning process!
I have taken over 300 language lessons now! I am currently only 10 levels away from finishing the curriculum. I’ve begun working on business-level Japanese. While talking to one of the cashiers of a fast-food restaurant near my school, I received a huge encouragement. She recognized me as “the foreigner who spoke Japanese like a Japanese person”! I was also able to give her a tract and invite her to church while I was waiting for my food. The church held its Family Bible Camp this month, and I had the privilege of working in the children’s ministries during it. There were separated services for the children, which were taught by the guest speaker’s wife. I enjoyed my time serving and was able to learn a lot during the camp. We also took a trip to Kisarazu this month. I once again fell in love with the city where we will call home. Although I will miss all of the kind people at the church where we are training now, I am so excited to live and serve there! Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Knowing that we have so many faithful friends praying for us thousands of miles away means the world to us.
Your friends and co-laborers to Japan,
Go and Danielle Oishi