As we mentioned in our previous report, we have been researching especially needy areas for a church plant where there is a sizeable population with no Gospel-preaching efforts. We have prayerfully narrowed our options down to three areas (City, Prefecture): Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima, the midpoint of the completely unreached area between the cities of Hiroshima and Iwakuni; Yonago, Tottori, and Toyo-Oka, Hyogo, the population centers in the San-In Region, notoriously known among churches in Japan to be the least evangelized area in the nation; and Kisarazu, Chiba, in the Bōsō Peninsula, one of the few cities in Japan that is developing with a growing population yet has no current Gospel-preaching effort according to our research, as well as the place of our greatest burden. We had the privilege of visiting the latter two this month, while also visiting great ministries to learn from along the way.
The first part of the month was spent planning these survey trips. With each regional survey, we took time to explore its streets to observe its population, deliver Gospel tracts, and gather city information by visiting information centers and booking appointments with real-estate agencies. Our San-In Region survey took place November 11-13, with our much longer Bōsō Peninsula survey taking place from November 19 through December 3. On our way to our latter survey trip, we had the privilege of observing and ministering with the Gamagori Baptist Church and the Garden of Light Christian K2-K5 Preschool ministry, led by Pastor Asada, in the Aichi Prefecture. This visit was very profitable, as one of our visions is to start a Christian school as a ministry of our future church plant. This also became my first outside preaching opportunity in Japan, as well as my wife’s first speaking opportunity in Japanese. It was a great encouragement that, for the first time in Japan, God used my message, on top of years of love and patience by this church and their pastor, to lead an elderly lady to trust Christ as her Saviour during the invitation time. We had the privilege of visiting two other ministries in Tokyo during our survey. Our hearts were greatly encouraged by these ministries, but completely broken to know that the cities we surveyed had no such laborer to even give its people the hope of ever hearing the Gospel. Please pray that God would send more laborers to Japan!
Right between our two surveys is when we had invited two unsaved couples to our home. Unfortunately, the couple from the Kita Ward could not come. Please pray for them, as they are facing a very difficult situation. Thankfully, the couple from the Chuo Ward came, and we were able to take the time to clearly explain the Gospel to them. Though they did not make any decisions that evening, it is clear that God is working in their hearts, with both showing great interest in visiting our church! Soon after, we received a phone call from a lady seeking help after reading one of the tracts that we had posted in the San-In Region. Please pray for all of these souls that are seeking peace that only Christ can give! As we have mentioned in our previous reports, we will be returning to the United States for a very brief document furlough, departing Japan on December 29. We thank you for all of your prayers for a quick return to Japan. We pray you all have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
This month has been full of encouraging experiences and milestones for me in my language learning. Although my driving test this month had to be rescheduled to December 15 due to a fever that morning, the rest of this survey month has been so busy and eventful! It was eye- opening to visit cities where there are no Gospel-preaching churches. From a tower in Kisarazu, a city in Chiba, we were able to look out and see thousands of homes, none of which even had a chance of hearing the Gospel. Growing up in America, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an area so populated without a single church. I was encouraged by a real-estate agent there who asked me if I had lived in Japan for a long time, telling me that my Japanese sounded native to him. This month, I also had my first opportunity to teach a children’s Sunday school class, as well as share my testimony in front of a church we were visiting, all in Japanese. Thank you all for your prayers as I continue to work towards complete fluency!
Your friends and co-laborers to Japan,
Go and Danielle Oishi