Praise the Lord! Continuing with our theme of the many “firsts” for us this year, this is our first praise report that we have the joy of writing from our first actual home as a married couple. As many of you know, my wife and I began deputation right after we got married, thus putting the excitement of securing and furnishing our first home on hold until we reached our field. After a little over 2½ years of waiting, the Lord has given us a wonderful home here in Japan, and we are excited to report on the wonderful events leading up to our great answer to prayer!
In our previous report, we mentioned the salvation of the daughter of a lady who had returned to church after being away for some time at the Christmas Eve service at the Senri Newtown Baptist Church, where we have just begun our training. We were amazed to see that same girl bring a friend as a visitor on this year’s New Year’s Day service and greatly blessed to hear that he had gotten saved during children’s church! It is so encouraging to know that the Lord has led us to train at a place where He is clearly at work. Pastor Ogawa has told us to begin our training by building close relationships with those who already attend the church and getting to hear their testimonies, as they will be the same people who will fervently pray for us and help us when it comes time for us to begin planting churches. We are blessed to have been able to begin building these kinds of relationships with over 10 families here during our short time so far, and we are excited to see these numbers and relationships grow!
Much of our focus this month went into securing our residence in Japan, which, as with most things here, involved much more time and paperwork than we are accustomed to. After almost an entire month of running around and spending countless hours gathering and filling out paperwork at various government offices, God blessed and allowed us to officially register our residence, complete all the necessary moving procedures, open a Japanese bank account, acquire a Japanese phone number, and ultimately move into our new apartment! We are so thankful for Pastor’s sons, Izaya and Eriya, who helped us in countless ways in the midst of all of this. On January 29, we received our keys to a home much larger and more affordable than we had expected, less than a five-minute walk away from the church. Pastor Ogawa came over to pray with us to dedicate our home to the Lord, and we are excited to see how He will use this place to build relationships and ultimately see Japanese people come to know the Lord as their Saviour!
God has already graced us with a witnessing opportunity. We have been able to build a great relationship with the hosts of the Airbnb that we stayed in while apartment hunting. They invited us to share numerous meals with them in their home, even after checking out of our room (all extremely rare cases with Japanese people, especially under COVID restrictions). They have stated that they are Atheists, but they have continued to spend time with us even though we always try to give them the Gospel. We have committed to working with them as long as the door is open. Please pray for the salvation of Motoaki and Miwako Uemura, the first people God has given us to work with!
I truly appreciate all of the extra prayers for my adjusting to life in Japan. This month was a month full of firsts for me. My husband has been with me every step of the way, but I thought I would push myself a bit and try to do some things on my own, as I will be in the future. My first grocery store run alone went smoothly. I was able to navigate up and down the crowded aisles and find what I needed (with the help of Google Translate to be able to tell the difference between バター and マーガリン). I also challenged myself to take the trains and buses alone from the Airbnb to the church (an hour by mass transit). Even though it was the same route we took quite often, the train and bus systems here are still rather intimidating. I made it safe and sound without ending up in Kyoto or Kobe (neighboring prefectures on the same line). I am enjoying our new life here—it is all so new and exciting! Thank you so much for all of your prayers!
Your friends and co-laborers to Japan,
Go and Danielle Oishi