May / June Monthly Prayer Bulletin

tulips at grace house

The photo of the beautiful yellow tulips above was taken by colleague Jim Peterson. They were growing, along with many other tulips a couple weeks ago, in the yard at “Grace House”, the volunteer base camp for relief efforts of the 3.11 Network in the city of Ofunato. It was a remarkable reminder of the new life and hope which occasionally breaks through even in the midst of continuing dire circumstances in much of post-tsunami northern Japan.

Dear Friends & Prayer Partners,

It’s May 30th as I write this… I’m sitting in the passenger seat of our car as Andrea is driving. We are taking a brief three day trip north to the coastal city of Ofunato…. mostly for the two of us to just get away, spend some time talking and praying…. and to give Andrea a chance to see some of the tsunami-stricken areas in Iwate Prefecture that she’s heard about from me. Ofunato was one of the cities along the coast that was particularly hard-hit by the tsunami of 3.11 / 2011. We hope to meet the staff at Grace House, the base camp for volunteers … and finally, we hope to make a few contacts with local people as we pray about needed housing for new covenant missionaries Stephen & Soo Bay who are hoping to work in this very area for two years beginning this summer.

But the report of this trip will have to come later. Right now we want to fill you in with a brief report on May activities and to enlist your prayer for some June items.

May Report

CRC – “Covenant Refreshing Camp”
This denomination-wide retreat for our Japan Covenant churches is held each year and on May 2-4 we gathered again for a time of fellowship and worship. The theme was “One in the Lord” and it truly was a great time of unity and coming together.
PraiseAbove – a time of worship; below – the group from our Isesaki Church that attended, along with Pastor Nakano (the guest speaker) and his wife in the middle. Our colleague Pastor Kogure and his daughter Akari (of the Audio Bible Japan project) are seen in the back.
Visiting Team from Seattle First Covenant Church
On May 9-20 we were blessed by a visiting team of folks from one of our supporting churches – First Covenant Church of Seattle, WA. We spent the beginning days visiting some churches and places of ministry in the Kanto area and then traveled north to spend a few days volunteering through the ministries of Grace House in Ofunato. Most volunteer work has changed from meeting physical needs to spending time visiting displaced people who still live in temporary housing units. Our team visited 8 different housing units, spending time with the residents, teaching a couple different crafts, and sharing in music.
saying goodbye
Above is a shot of the team as we said goodbye in Ofunato. Jim Peterson (pictured on the left) wrote some great blog entries about our time in Ofunato that include some good pictures. If you’re interested check it out HERE.¬†On May 20th, their last day with us, we had a great time of prayer and worship as our whole mission family got together.

Thanks to First Covenant Seattle for sending this great team! And thanks to all of you reading this who prayed with us about the planning and details of this trip. We felt like our prayers were answered in so many wonderful ways.

Birthday Celebration…
On Tuesday the gang took me out for dinner to celebrate my birthday. A great time! The kids are all getting bigger….and of course we parents are just primarily getting a little older….
58 years old
June Prayer Requests
  1. Akagi Bible Camp – thanks for praying for the summer camping schedule that lies ahead. Although Tim is no longer chair of the camp board, we will continue to be involved in various aspects of the camping program. As Japanese children are still in school through most of July, the busiest camping schedule happens in August. But June and July are filled with building and grounds maintenance and preparation.
  2. Andrea’s summer schedule – teaching at the university continues until the middle of July. Then, for ten days after that Andrea will be in Chicago for “year 3” (the final year) of a certificate program that she will be completing in spiritual direction. Thanks for praying about both her teaching and her own studies.
  3. Sam, Lilla, and Sky – as always, thanks for remembering our children in your prayers…. for good summer activities…. and that each of them would grow in their relationship with God.
  4. Thanks for praying for the churches we are serving at: Shibukawa and Isesaki in Gunma, and Kurume Bible Fellowship in Tokyo.
As always, thank you so much for your interest and care for our family and the work we are involved in. We couldn’t be here without you.

Your partners in prayer and mission,

Tim & Andrea Johnson

(Sam, Lilla & Sky)

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