Praise the Lord! We are back in Japan! Most of our time this month was spent in the United States, where we ended up spending a total of two months for our short document furlough. We are excited to report the kind of fruit that God allowed us to see this month, as God has made it very clear to us that He had a much greater purpose for us being in the United States for our short stay that far surpassed the importance of the documents that we returned for.
Our month began in Central California, where one of the families from our sending church had taken the pastorate of one of our supporting churches. It was a joy to spend time ministering with them. In between their midweek service and weekend ministries, we ventured farther north to visit and spend time with Danielle’s grandparents. Her grandfather, Poppa John, was someone her family had been praying for and witnessing to for decades that he might be saved. God did something very special on the 3rd, as after decades of many of Danielle’s family sowing and watering the Gospel seed, Poppa John listened and responded to the Gospel with a receptiveness that we had never seen in him before and finally trusted Christ as his personal Saviour!
We returned to Danielle’s parents’ house on the 7th, where we spent the remainder of our stay, and that same evening, Danielle resumed her Japanese language school online. We conversed in Japanese often during our time in the United States, sometimes on purpose, but often because it was the language that would naturally come out! We are truly thankful for your prayers for Danielle’s language learning, which are being answered right before our eyes. She was able to pick up in her lessons right where she left off without much of a need for review. Danielle’s parents were in the process of moving into their new house, and it was truly a blessing to be able to help them during our time there, as they have blessed us in so many ways that we could never repay. It was refreshing to be a part of every service and ministry opportunity of our sending church while visiting a few of our friends in the area throughout the week as well. On one of our soul-winning days on the 19th, our second-to-last contact was a man named Fabio. He was in search of a good church; but, more importantly, he was in search of a Saviour. He was very receptive to the Gospel, and at the end of the presentation, Fabio trusted Christ as his Saviour! The very next door is where we met a young lady named Adrianna, who had been attending a local Catholic church in search of answers. She, too, found that Jesus is the answer after hearing the Gospel presented that day, and Adrianna also got saved! My wife and I went out for lunch afterwards, where we were able to briefly meet and invite a Japanese lady that was there to church! The 20th was our last Sunday in the United States, and God gave us a very special service at our sending church. One of the musically talented teenagers there had recently surrendered to become a missionary, and he had been praying for a cello for five years. As I have been blessed with a new cello in Japan, God moved in my heart to gift my cello in the United States, which I have owned for over a decade, to that young man. Lord willing, you might see that cello again when it comes time for him to begin deputation!
We flew back to Japan on the 23rd, after which we spent a week of required quarantine in our apartment before we were able to resume our ministry on the 31st. Without going into too many details, after learning that our document procedures were to take much longer than we were originally told, by faith we made the decision to return without completing the procedures we returned for, being careful to research to ensure that we were not jeopardizing our family and ministry long-term. God has ultimately called us to serve Him in Japan, and we thus strongly believe that we should not be off the field any longer than we need to be. We submitted the paperwork, and now we are leaving the rest in God’s hands. In hindsight, we believe that God had us to return to the United States, not for our paperwork, but for the total of seven churches and five missionary families that needed to be encouraged, the five souls that needed to be saved, and to pass on my cello to a teenager surrendered to the mission field. Our first stop in Japan on the 31st was the office of the Senri-Newtown Baptist Church, where we were given an exciting peek into our next year with them. Please look forward to the details in the next report!
Your friends and co-laborers to Japan,
Go and Danielle Oishi