Go and Danielle Oishi Prayer Letter: We Are Planting a Church This Year!
Glory to God! Happy New Year! We rejoice that God has given us a wonderful start to 2023, and we look forward to all that He will do this year. The year 2023 will, quite possibly, be one of the biggest years of our lives, as this is the year where we will be interim pastoring the Immanuel Seisho (“Bible”) Baptist Church of Nayoro, Hokkaido, in April and then planting the Kisarazu Kibō (“Hope”) Baptist Church of Kisarazu, Chiba, in October. Both will be first-time experiences for us, and thus we are especially thankful for your prayers this year, as we truly desire to see God move in a way that only He can in both places. We have seen God change so many lives and work in so many ways, as only He could, in our last two years serving at the Senri Newtown Baptist Church of Minoo, Osaka, and we anticipate that He will bless and build His church in the same way, both in Nayoro and in Kisarazu. We desire to see His power in our limited remaining time here in Osaka, and we rejoice to report to you what He has already done in 2023.
God allowed us to start this year with a soul-winning opportunity. After our church’s annual New Year’s Day service, we were invited to a traditional Japanese Osechi (“New Year’s”) meal with the wife’s family of our friends in the Chuo Ward of Osaka. It was a joy to meet her parents and sister, who all live in the city of Amagasaki in the neighboring prefecture of Hyogo. Throughout the meal, my wife and I had the privilege of thoroughly sharing the Gospel multiple times through our personal salvation testimonies and explaining why we came to Japan. Please pray for the salvation of these three precious souls with whom God has allowed us to begin relationships. Please continue to pray that our friends in the Chuo Ward will get saved. Through this same couple, we were presented with a second opportunity on the 22nd of this month to meet and befriend more lost Japanese people. This time, they invited us to a potluck with their friends in their condominium event room, and there my wife and I were able to create relationships with another young couple and two gentlemen. All but three of our visitors who came for the 2022 Christmas service were also present, and it was a joy to be able to speak more with them. It was quite a full potluck, and we were blessed to realize that half of the people present have come to at least one of our church services, where they were able to hear the Gospel clearly presented. Please pray for all of these souls and that God would allow us to build these relationships in our short remaining time in Osaka.
On the church-plant-preparation side of our world, God allowed us to see the building plans for our home and church office in Kisarazu officially approved, and we rejoice to report that everything is progressing smoothly! We have begun prayerfully contacting churches to help us with our Grand Opening services planned during Christmastime, and so far, we have two churches on our calendar who will come to Japan to go soul winning, give their salvation testimonies, and provide special music to help us with these special opening services! We are especially amazed that one of these churches will, Lord willing, come during the week of Christmas when we anticipate the biggest opportunity to reach souls in Kisarazu. Please pray that God would continue to bless this planning phase!
On the 20th, we were officially able to contract the rental house that will become home to the Morgan family, a fellow FBMI missionary family to Japan scheduled to arrive permanently in March. Please pray that God will bless their transition, as they will be starting the same way we did two years ago by spending their first years serving at the Senri Newtown Baptist Church. We are truly thankful to this church for continuing to give us so many opportunities to learn while serving with them. God is clearly at work on so many fronts, and we are truly thankful for your prayers.
Throughout the month of January, I have been taking ministry-specific Japanese lessons. So far, they have been so helpful in everything from understanding the messages better to sharing my testimony in Japanese. I am now learning how to write Sunday school lessons, lead programs, and explain Bible verses, all in Japanese. I am so thankful for my teachers, who are so kind, patient, and willing to teach me. Thank you to all who are faithfully praying for my language learning. During a potluck held by our friends in the Chuo Ward, I was so excited that I was able to speak freely with everyone there without any language barrier at all. We were able to make new contacts and invite many people to church during that time! I also had the privilege of joining my husband and one of the staff members at the church on a visit to an elderly man who is no longer physically able to make it to the church. I was hoping to be an encouragement, but instead, I came back encouraged. It was wonderful to be a part of the little church service held in our car and to fellowship with God’s people. Thank you always for your prayers, as they mean so much to us.