Hallelujah! That is all we can say when we are reminded of what amazing families, friends, and co-laborers God has blessed us with. We have been back in the United States for just a month now for our brief document furlough, and it has been refreshing and encouraging to be with those who have a part in our ministry and lives. We are excited to report on how God has allowed us to serve Him as we wait for our documents to return.
Both my wife and I have had the privilege of spending some time with our families in the United States. We are thankful for the wonderful homes that God allowed us to grow up in. We spent the first half of the month in Southern California where my wife grew up and which is also the location of our sending church. Starting on Wednesday, February 9, when I was given the privilege of speaking to their Wednesday evening kids’ class, I have been given the privilege of speaking a total 12 times this month. There is a teenager at our sending church whom I had the privilege of challenging to be a witness in his public school on our last service in the United States before leaving for Japan the first time, as I also grew up in public school. It was a great encouragement to know that he has been faithfully witnessing to his fellow students and that God has been giving him fruit on a weekly basis!
We flew out to Michigan on February 10, where my side of the family lives. I had the honor of being invited to be the keynote speaker of a Missions Conference at one of our supporting churches that had started a day earlier. I was humbled to have the privilege of getting to know four missionary families on deputation and doing everything I could to vouch for them before this church, which is very near and dear to my wife and me! This was one of two first-time opportunities for me that God has given me this month, for which I personally felt very ill-qualified and ill-experienced. On the 15th, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of missions-minded students at Hyles-Anderson College on the way to our meeting on the 16th with a church in Carterville, Illinois, another one of our supporting churches, which we had not yet had the privilege of meeting the pastor or the church. I am thankful that God has worked mightily in our midst at all of these places, as well as how He protected us on our drive back to Michigan where we were met with a sudden winter storm! Upon our return, we spent a weekend with the church that raised me, the Lakecrest Baptist Church of Waterford, Michigan. We enjoyed a Saturday of going on visits with the man who invited my family to church and led my parents and sister to the Lord and a Sunday of preaching three times to each of the three ministries of that church that all support us individually. There is a faithful bus worker there of my same age whom I had the privilege of having a part in recruiting and encouraging into the bus ministry while we were still teenagers. It was encouraging to see that she, too, like the young man back at our sending church, has stayed faithful and fruitful where God has placed her!
We flew back to California on February 24, where we will be spending the remainder of our days in the United States before we return to Japan. On the 27th, one of our close friends flew in from Colorado just to spend two days with us before she had to return! We are constantly amazed at what amazing friends God has blessed us with. On the 27th, I had the privilege of speaking in the Spanish service of our sending church, after which two souls came forward to trust Christ as their Saviour during the invitation! At the end of the month, my wife and I renewed our Faith Promise missions commitment to increase our giving by 50%! I am convinced that we must trust God more than ever before, especially in these uncertain days.
We are expecting to be able to write our next praise report from our home in Japan, as the part of the procedure that needs to be completed in the United States is supposed to be finished by mid- to late-March. Until then, my wife will be resuming her Japanese language classes online as I continue to research and make preparations for our first church plant in Japan and, Lord willing, a Christian school. Thank you for your part in all that God allows us to do!
Your friends and co-laborers to Japan,
Go and Danielle Oishi