October 2012 Monthly Prayer Bulletin

Dear Friends & Prayer Partners,
Greetings again from Tokyo. This month we’re highlighting a report from Andrea. Thanks for taking a moment to read on…

Five years is a long time to do something without seeing a lot of results, at least for impatient people like me. That’s how long I’ve been teaching at Gunma Prefectural Women’s University. Well…”no results” isn’t totally true. I enjoy teaching, love the students, feel that God led me there, and yes, the income helps with travel expenses incurred with church ministry and my studies in spiritual direction.  But there has been very little visible fruit from this ministry in spite of much prayer, time, love, and effort.

Two weeks ago I received a surprise email asking me to follow up on a young person returning to Gunma who had recently become a Christian while in the States. To shorten the story, it turns out the student is returning to GPWU… and is one of my former students.

Meeting with her and hearing her story was so cool. It reminded me that God is at work whether I see it or not, whether I am aware of being a part of it or not, whether I get any credit or not. After all, it’s all God’s story, and we get the privilege of living each day forgiven, filled and surrounded by God’s love as we do ordinary (yet really extraordinary) things like taking care of our families, going to work, and driving home again while humming a prayer to the God of our lives.

Last week I also heard of several other former students who now believe in Jesus. I was so excited I found it hard to sleep one night! However, there are many challenges that we are praying for God’s solutions to: It’s hard for some students to tell their parents or friends about their new faith. When they do tell them, some parents are very opposed. There are very few Christians or churches in many parts of Japan, so being a Christian feels very lonely.  There is no Christian group on campus and no churches nearby which reach out to university students. US church culture is so different from Japanese church culture that many new believers face spiritual “jet lag” as they return home. This is a complex issue because even if they could find an English speaking/western culture worship service, this might not adequately equip them as followers of Christ in a Japanese context. Japanese churches sometimes find it hard to work together, so this contributes to isolation, lack of resources, and lack of appeal.

On the bright side, some colleagues who live near the school hold a monthly English Bible study for 3-4 students. They’ve extended me a warm invitation to come, and this year my schedule allows me to. I’m praying that the students will sense our unity in Christ and God will continue to call young people to the life that is truly life.            Andrea

Prayer Items for October

  1. Praise for the good news in Andrea’s report!  Please continue to pray for her ministry at Gunma Prefectural Women’s University.
  2. Yesterday (10/14) at our Isesaki worship service, Mr. N confessed his faith in Christ for the first time. He has been attending for 2 or 3 months now and we were all thrilled at how God is working in his heart and life. Rejoice with us…
  3. Thanks for continuing to pray about our Audio Bible Japan ministry. It now looks like January 1, 2013 may be a realistic date for the launch of a new website and app. Thanks for praying about details and planning.

The two photos above are of Sam and friends as they experienced 4 days of trekking and surviving out in the “wild” during the annual wilderness camp – a program / event for the junior class at Christian Academy. They split into groups of ten and spend the days hiking, cooking, sleeping out, and learning lots of stuff. Sam just loved it as we sort of suspected he would…

Thanks for your prayer support again this month…

Your partners in prayer and mission,

Tim & Andrea Johnson

(Sam, Lilla & Sky)

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