Hallelujah! We trust that you all had a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful start to 2022. Though ours was spent in Japan, as our document furlough has been delayed by strict COVID-border restrictions in the U.S., there is no greater place to be than where God has placed us in that moment! Many churches here put forth their biggest outreach efforts in December, as it is the most opportune time to tell the Japanese people about Christ, and the Senri Newtown Baptist Church was certainly no exception! We are excited to report to you all that God has done this Christmas, as well as in all of 2021.
We safely returned from our Kanto Region survey, where we left off in our previous report on December 3, after experiencing different effective outreach methods for that particular region. After visiting two of the three completely unreached areas where God has burdened us about planting a church, we went into a time of earnest prayer and fasting for His direction. During our two days of fasting, we asked for God to close any door that would not be His will. His response was opening various doors for us in all three regions, teaching us of our need for patience! We now plan to visit our third region of burden in late spring, followed by an extended time of prayer and fasting for God’s clear leading. Please pray with us for this decision that bears the weight of eternity!
December 4 marked our one-year anniversary in Japan. Though we still have much to learn, we can confidently say that God has grown us in so many ways and has done many great things that only He could have done. My wife is now able to comprehend all Japanese with very little struggle and has no problem communicating anything she needs to in Japanese. Especially after our survey trip, I have become much more confident navigating Japan culturally with much more courage and boldness to confront people here with the Gospel. In spite half of 2021 being under some form of State of Emergency restrictions, God allowed us to give out 13,789 Gospel tracts, make 148 personal contacts, give the Gospel personally to 12 people, build relationships with 4 people, and see 2 people trust Christ as Saviour! Praise God for all of these victories that only He could have won! December came with its own special blessings, as I had the privilege of witnessing to another Japanese exchange student via video chat on Christmas Eve (from 2:00 – 3:00 a.m.!), and the couple from the Chuo Ward came to our church as first-time visitors on the 26th, with plans to return! Please pray for the salvation of these three souls, as God is clearly doing a work in their hearts and lives! Another blessing of Christmas this year was having the privilege of being a part of the church’s Christmas Program, for which we were only spectators last year! This year, my wife and I had the honor of playing in the orchestra, as well as helping with various behind-the-scenes work. God blessed the Christmas services with a combined total of 66 first-time visitors, 3 salvation decisions, and 1 decision of baptism! Glory to God!
Our new planned date to return to the U.S. for our short document furlough is January 26, with the same plans as listed in our previous report. This allows my wife another chance for her Japan driver’s license on January 19. Thank you for your continued prayers in both of these matters!
One of the first things I had the privilege of participating in this month was soul winning with the church in central Tokyo, beginning with door knocking, followed by passing out tracts in front of schools, and ending with train-station evangelism. It was encouraging to see so many people accept our Gospel tracts. Not long afterwards, we flew back to Osaka and continued serving at the Senri Newtown Baptist Church. I had the privilege of serving in the children’s church every week for the rest of the month. We also began preparing for the Christmas services at the church. In my language school, I reached Lesson 200 and was able to invite my teachers to the Christmas Eve service. We have been inviting my three teachers to church every opportunity possible, but this time, the one who has seemed the least interested said she would try to make it. Although she didn’t end up coming this time, we will continue praying and inviting her. Thank you all for your continued prayers!
Your friends and co-laborers to Japan,
Go and Danielle Oishi