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CAJ Report
And the things you have heard me say in the presence ofmany witnesses entrusted to reliable
men who will also be qualified to teach others. // Timothy 2:2
Members of our tiny congregation are thinking about ways to reach out with the
Gospel and ways to expand our ministry. Knowing full well our limitations we trust
that our Lord will provide needs. One of our new sisters in Christ mentioned an
orphanage in Hayama city, next to Yokosuka, as a project. There was an immediate
unanimous approval of the idea. We found our first opportunity at Christmas when in
preparation of the program for children to celebrate our Lord's birthday. We
invited children from the orphanage to come and participate in the program providing
exchange gifts for them and providing refreshments for all the children in
attendance. As it was a rare opportunity for the orphans to visit our place, they
appreciated the occasion. Special numbers were sung by our Sunday school children,
the orphanage children, and several Church members, a relative of the Japanese
preacher did a few sleight of hand tricks, I interviewed a frog puppet distantly
related to "Kerroit" to relate the true meaning of Christmas, there was a short game
time, and gift and refreshment time. When Ken and I visited the orphanage this year
to discuss ways to reach out to the children, the children who had attended our
program remembered the puppet and called me "doctor Simmons (Sheeraons)" because the
Japanese have a hard time pronouncing "Sims" as it is. The new year will see new
projects in mind, which will be helpful to our small group.
Our Christian Church/Church of Christ missionaries make effort to gather about
once a month or so for prayer and fellowship. Spiritual nourishment from Scripture
and singing in English of .favorite numbers sung in the U.S. is appreciated and also
good home cooking. But at each meeting the stressfulness of the task and the few
workers in spite of the great need is readily apparent. Even among our Japanese
brethren in Christ the situation seems the same, namely, a number of workers
visible, much less additional help needed. Most young Japanese are not concerned
about spiritual matters, and learn that the "foreigners" Bible is ancient "myth" not
applicable to Japanese in school and at home from Buddhist parents and preachers.
Missionary prayer meetings provide opportunity for sharing needs and encouragement
of each other to the work.
Japanese are involved in research in all sorts of high technology and are
accepting modernistic ideas to supplement the humanism which was already prevalent
in their thinking. Science is a much studied area, with evolution being taught as
fact with no mention of the various flaws in the theory, and students are not
allowed to question ideas proposed by professors. But in spite of this "progress"
in study of advanced learning, religious traditions are being continued with as much
fervor as ever with Japanese insisting that they are not "religious" people. One
ancient tradition being continued is the visiting of shrines and temples to receive
some sort of blessing in the form of a good luck charm. People ask for good health.
promotions at work# passing exams# or any number of things they desire.
Christianity stands out as a sharp contrast. Out Creator is first, serving others
is second, with self coming in last. "Watchout! Be on your guard against all kinds
of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke
12: 15.
Another ancient tradition seen as alive today even among youth in their teens,
as well as other people going through transitional periods in life, is the visiting
of fortune tellers. Specific forecasts of such things as "Will I find a girl friend
this year? Will I have a trouble free year at work?" are sought. Lucrative
business is made by people who feign as professionals using cards, crystal balls,or
palm reading among other methods. Japanese who visit recommended authorities in
fortune telling usually accept what they want to hear. Few, if any relate anything
dreadful, but all will say to be careful about something or other. I received a
telephone call from some young man asking if I as a Christian Minister would give
him some Scripture verse which by his learning would give him success in getting
employment or if I would be able to tell him from Scripture if he would be free from
any accident in 1987. I told him I would be more than happy to relate about the
good news of Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour, but can not specifically foretell
events of the type he was interested in, nor would I try.
Praise The Lord that the Gospel has been able to break through many cultural
"barriers" and that the Lord will continue to enable the Gospel to penetrate
cultures even today, so that all people will come to know, accept and obey Jesus
Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Thank our Lord for faithful Christians in the U.S. who are praying for and
supporting me.
Thank our Lord for those praying for and supporting a specific missionary,
whether working in Japan or other spot on this globe which is our temporary "home."
Pray that hearts of Japanese will be opened and opportunity for reaching them
be seen and used.
Pray that the Japanese preacher here at Yokosuka can be encouraged and his
family be effective as a witness.
Pray that new leadership can be raised up soon in our Japanese sister
Pray that I can be as effective a servant as the Lord would have me to be.
Continue to pray that our Lord provide me with the helpmeet He is preparing for
me when He deems appropriate.
Continue to pray for new workers for Japan as well as other parts of the world.
Pray that when our Lord returns to claim His own, that we will not be found
Pray that we will continue to seek first our Lord Jesus Christ and His
One of our new sisters in Christ is in need of prayer as Satan is pulling her
back into the world by loading her down with work on Sunday and feelings that she is
not "good enough" to meet with other Christians.
Every one attending services here in Yokosuka seems to have some trouble or
other. Pray that our Lord will solve each difficulty, giving needed strength and
vision to grow more Christlike each day.
If there be anything you can add to this list, please do,knowing in confidence
that our Lord has not only considered each of these items, but many more He sees
that we don't yet.
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CAJ Report
And the things you.have heard me say in the presence ofmany witnesses entrusted to reliable
men who will also be qualified to leach others. II Timothy 2:2
Americans usually associate the word "showers" with April# as usual a lot of rain comes as
Winter melts away and Spring eases its way into the weather patterns. Japanese consider
April the start of a new school and fiscal year. Spring arrives in Japan with out much
down pouring of rain# just cloudy skies# some wind# a few misty days and a few minor
tremors to alert everyone to the fact that Spring-is on its way. Our Creator provides
rain as a blessing for this earth and for our spiritual needs provides different kinds of
grace either as showers or raindrops as He deems appropriate. Easter saw some raindrops
of spiritual blessings# which was a good change after experiencing a rude awakening
(again) of the general "religious" climate of Japan.
For many Americans# April first is whiled away with a lot of foolishness. I don't really
appreciate the custom# as it is one of several that clash with my understanding of what a
Christian life-style is to be. On April first# I saw a Japanese man jump in front of a
train as it was pulling into the station. The scene was ten yards directly in front of me
and the sudden death was soon apparent. Gruesome as it was# there were some people who
peered over the edge of the platform between railroad cars to try to see pieces of the
body. The police officers arrived in about five minutes to confirm the suicide# after
which everybody went on with their business# almost as if nothing had ever happened.
My understanding is that in classical Buddhism# suicide was not approved of# but in modern
society it has become as one of its basic tenets the idea af reincarnation# which would be
interpreted practically as "Well# the man failed in something# but he will have another
chance in a later life to make up for it." Japanese# for all practical purposes# forgive
a person who commits suicide# thinking something to the effect of "Well# he made a mistake
and by taking his own life is showing that he is accepting the blame for it < so that the
neighborhood will not be adversely affected by gossip)." In sharp contrast to Japanese
thought is Scripture which teaches that a person has only one lifetime for which he will
be accountable# after which he faces eternal punishment or reward depending on his
response to God's plan of salvation through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
In preparation for Easter services# we did not make a large number of handbills or posters
as we had made in previous years# but reached out through those who attend regularly to
friends and relatives. A Sunday afternoon program for children was planned for which
promotion was made by going to two mini-sized "parks" in the neighborhood on a Saturday
(April 4) to tell a story to children using picture posters. Kensei# two Church members
and I invited children to come# handing out just a few colorful blurbs. Some of the
children said that they were interested# at least in games and refreshments. Two standard
sized posters and one large poster were made.
The Sunday before Easter brought a pleasant happening with one of our attenders giving
indication of her belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and desire to be immersed
into Christ. She decided to become a Christian in spite of her parents desire that she
wait for at least a year. It is most desirable that the entire family respond to the
Gospel# and in Japan it would seem that families as such would respond# but it is not
working out that way one-by-one is the norm. She decided that as she had been attending
for quite a whjle^and had come to the point where immersion into Christ woul-d be fitting#
it would be appropriate to begin her freshly started career as a new person in Christ.
She decided to be immersed on Easter Sunday.
Easter Sunday saw fourteen in attendance in Worship with the highlight being the immersion
of Miss Midori Aoki into Christ. After the Benediction a fellowship meal was enjoyed with
excitement about our new sister in Christ. The cleanup had not even been finished when
some of the neighborhood children showed up for the afternoon program. About eighteen
children appreciated the singing# message about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ# slide
story about "serving" Christ# games and refreshments. All told# it was a good day with
beautiful weather# which had not been in the forecast.
As th@ first week of Hay has several Japanese holidays# it would seem to be a good time
for camp# but somehow there is not much interest as visiting relatives is the most common
activity for the precioiis few days off fron workr Up until this year we have had a family
camp during "Golden Week"# but with awareness recently of the singles in our congregations
here in Japan# including myself there was felt a need for more opportunities for fellow
ship for singles# This year the decision was made to invite singles and talk about
Scripture relating to Christian Marriage. The immediate response of a number of singles
was "ugh# not another opportunity for the overly eager matchmakers to apply themselves."
Contrary to expectation# the camp went very well# in spite of the small attendance. It
was guite remarkable that an even number of marrieds and singles were there# with the two
groups being separated at recreation time and for discussion# while all were together to
hear the messages more about Christian life-style than about marriage as such.
I was interested in the questions which came during the discussion time as the five men
and three ladies talked about various points mentioned in the messages and about their
struggles in their Christian lives. One question was "What do I do when someone is very
-interested In me# but not in my faith?" It is easy to say "forget him (pr_her>#" but at
the same time the response to a spouse to be used for evangelism. It seemed clear that if
a spouse to be becomes a Christian it is easier to make the decision before marriage than
once married life has been settled into. It is ideal for a Christian to marry a
Christian# but in Japan where there are so few Christians to begin with# and even fewer
singles# it is difficult to meet partners to be# and rare for bond to be made without
special help providentially. If a spouse to be is somewhat open to the Gospel there is
hope for a conversion to Christianity prior to marriage. One Christian lady said to her
wooer "If you are really interested in me# I would like you to spend thirty minutes a day
reading the Bible. Consider that time as if you were spending it with me. If you make
that commitment I will marry you." The man made the commitment# and without any further
appeal from her# became a Christian on his own in about a year or two. He is still
continuing his Bible reading as promised.
The fifth Sunday rally on the afternoon of May 31st is worthy of mention. Our Japanese
Christians from Tokyo and neighboring areas gathered for much needed fellowship and
encour-agement Our tiny struggling congregations are always in need of strength to cope
with the overwhelming pressures of society to conform to the status quo of idolatry and
humanism. Four times a year is a start to build each other up and to remind each other
that there are Christians elsewhere in the same boat. Thrs time the ralTy was at
Mejirodai where dad and mom are serving. The music was led by a member there who was a
professional singer# but is now a Christian housewife (accompanied by her husband who is
also a Christian) and writing Christian Gospel music. Some people went more to see her
than for the message which was brought by ray brotherinlaw Dave Smith# who is here in
Japan for three months with my sister Sylvia and their three children. Dad interpreted
Dave's message about "The pearl of great price#" which is needed for all Christians to
hear again. The attendance is a new record for the rally# one hundred thirty-two. Every
bit of space in the building was filled. From Yokosuka we saw eleven in attendance#
having gone in three cars# which is slightly more than our regular Sunday AM Worship
attendance. Truly The Lord is to be praised for the event# which included a light
supper# but mainly was time for fellowship with bothers and sisters in Christ we need to
talk with more frequently.
Yokosuka is seeing eight or nine regularly for Sunday AM Worship and seven for Sunday
school and four at night. Kensei and I are calling on Wednesday mornings# without much
response now# but with hopes that contacts will increase. A few new students are coming
to learn English# but yet are not coming to services. Thursday night Bible study and
Saturday night prayer meeting have not seen visitors# but Kensei and I continue# praying
that maybe a home will become open where Japanese wi.ll readily go# as there still is great
rdluctaitce^tb enter the Church buildingv~ Thank you all for continuing-prayers and-silpport-
as The Lord bless^'His work here. Pray that every opportunity can be used for furthering
the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
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And the things vou have heardme in thepresence of many witnesses entrustedto reliable
men who will also be qualified to teach others. // Timothy 2:2
Just as soon as the weather forecasters declared the arrival of sunnier^ which normally
is extremely hot and humid^ rain came in torrents. Of course there were many days when
any slight movement would bring rampant perspiration# but interspersed thunderstorms
brought welcome coolness and rain. It seems somewhat shallow for people to continue as
usual saying; "isn't it hot ... isn't it cool ... isn't it rainy today" without much
comment unless it be "isn't the weather freakish this year". Few people consider
expressing gratitude to our Creator for the variety in our environment and the
provision of much needed rain. The Lord provides not only for our physical needs but
also for our spiritual needs# as I was reminded again at the annual convention of
fellow missionaries in Japan and again of our Japanese brethren in Christ.
Travel expense to the convention in Hiroshima was saved with eight passengers in dad's
small van (dad# mom# my brother-in-law Dave Smith's family and myself). It was a two
day drive# with a stop the first night at the dorm of our Bible college in Osaka. Dad#
Dave and I took turns behind the wheel and made it safely to the hotel in Hiroshima in
spite of the narrow roads in East Hiroshima. National highway 375 at several points
narrowed to a single two and a half meter lane with rice paddies on both sides. I was
driving and at several places had to find a few inches on the side to let cars pass
coming from the other direction. Dad and Dave were reminding me that there was no room
to spare# which is normal for the country roads in some areas of Japan. We were
fortunate in not meeting a bus# and when the road widened into two lanes and later four
lanes we were relieved at being near a city.
The special music at the missionary convention was brought by the Rostvit twins# who
made a special trip# staying in Japan about a month. They were an inspiration to us
with their wide variety of songs# several with background slides adding to the
wonderful impact. A special number or two was sung by a men's quartet and a ladies'
chorus composed of grandparents. It is unfortunate that we don't have enough second
generation missionaries in Japan to form such a group for special music. Regardless#
all of those in attendance felt recharged for another year of endeavor here in Japan.
Romtvit Twins
Ladies* Chorus
Hen's Quartet
The convention of Japanese brethren in Christ saw 325 in attendance/ which is not a
record/ but indicates interest in meeting with brethren from most parts of Japan. A
tour of an island near Hiroshima was planned as an extra activity between sessions.
There were a few delays in the tour and excessive heat/ which distracted from the
appreciation of what little we could see in the short time. Worthwhile messages and
uplifting music at the main sessions were all well received. Horning prayer sessions
were held at the Peace Park very close to the hotel/ but were restricted because of
many demonstrations and peace marches as well as tourists visiting the park. I feel
thankful for the opportunity to have attended the convention.
Following the convention/ camp was held in the cool mountain air of Nagano prefecture/
closer home/ for junior and senior high students. All students are given projects and
assignments to do during the six weeks of "vacation" when normal class sessions are
recessed. Camp became an opportunity to invite students to work on their homework in
the morning and enjoy recreation in the afternoon and Bible messages and a few indoor
games in the evenings. While junior and senior high students were slaving away at
English and Kath/ several college age students discussed ways of reaching other
Japanese with the Gospel. Weariness was felt by staff and helpers/ but was compensated
for by the enthusiastic participation of all the campers in the activities scheduled in
the camp program. ^
Members here at Yokosuka have suggested ways of getting people to Church/ so we decided
to try one of the ideas mentioned. In August we had what I would call a "garage sale/"
but they used the word "Bazaar". Clothes and household items were gathered and sold
with the proceeds all going to an orphanage in a neighboring city. There were several
community people in attendance/ but there would have been more if we had planned it
during a regular week rather than during the midst of the vacation season. As it was
many people were away to visit relatives. We may try the project again/ but not in the
near future/ as it was a lot of effort with a very minor result (as far as getting
people to Church on a Saturday for the sale)/ but there was a modest offering/ with
some clothes to donate to the Christian orphanage as well.
Thank you all for your continuing prayers and support for the work here in Yokosuka.
There is always hope for the sake of Jesus Christ if we continue in the fundamental
truth of God's Word and in living as our Lord would have us to live. If we persist/
The Lord will provide fruit in addition to continuing to supply us with what we need to
do His Will.
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CAJ Report
And the things you have heard me say in the presence ofmany witnesses entrusted to reliable
men who will also be qualified to teach others. // Timothy 2:2
EVANGELISTIC MEETING - September A, 5/ and 6 saw a special series of messages brought
by the Japanese preacher who immersed me into Christ a few days before my tenth
birthday. He had been to Yokosuka quite a few years ago when Stanley Buttray (now
retired) commuted from Tokyo, bringing with him a Japanese preacher to preach. At that
time there was an old building where people gathered on Sunday and those who came to
evangelize lived elsewhere. The work made very little progress with no one in the
local community to be a witness of Christian living. Mr. Itagaki said that there is
hope, as there are two young leaders (Kensei and myself) and a number of people coming
to services. On Friday evening Mrs. Kume, a Christian song writer who is a member at
the congregation where dad ministers, brought special music. We saw sixteen that night
and twelve for both Saturday evening and Sunday morning services. Each of the people
who attend regularly had a part in the preparation for the meeting so all felt
satisfied. Our average attendance for Sunday AM Worship has been nine.
VISITORS - One Sunday in October a lady came into the Worship service and sat quietly.
At the close of the service I asked her to introduce herself. She said that she was
visiting her sister who lived in the community and wanted to see how the Church
situation is. She had come to this Church as an elementary school student thirty years
ago and remembered some of the singing and fun times with the people of the
congregation. It was her sister, who had become a Christian (but for many years has
not attended any Church service) who brought her to Church in the first place. There
had been more people at the time she came to Church thirty years ago according to her.
In any case we invited her to come again, even though she lives some distance from
Another visitor came who had not been to Church services in twenty years. Her
situation is that her husband left the Church when one of their children died and has
joined some zealous new Japanese Shinto sect. For many years they had arguments about
religion and her health has been adversley affected. But she misses the singing and
warmth of Christian fellowship and wants to attend Church even though her husband is
resistant. Pray that her husband can be changed and that she can be able to attend
Church regularly.
A JAPANESE FUNERAL - There is a little hill behind the church here in Yokosuka on the
top of which a rich family lives. The grandmother died. As the son had come last year
to our Christmas Eve candlelight service and he had invited me to come to an annual
garden party where he displays his collection of roses/ I thought it would be
appropriate to attend the funeral. The grandmother was Buddhist and the family is well
off so the funeral was very elaborate/ with flowers on stands lined up from the gate of
the house along the pathway from the house to the street and along both sides of the
street in both directions for at least sixty yards. I related that as I am a Christian
I would not offer up incense or pray to the spirit of the departed, but would observe
(watch) the ceremony and could say a few words of condolence.
The ceremony was about an hour of Buddhist sutras and chants with some time allowed for
several people to speak to the spirit of the deceased. Sitting in Japanese style with
circulation in the legs cut off is quite painful. Part of the ceremony involved bowing
down and worshipping the spirit of the deceased person and the spirits of the departed
ancestors, but I kept rigid, praying for the day when the Japanese can know Jesus
Christ as Lord and Saviour and worship the Creator of the universe, not spirits. The
loss of a loved one was clearly expressed by weeping. 1 can not but feel sorrow that
another soul departed without Jesus Christ. The vast majority of Japanese have yet to
hear the Gospel. There is so much that needs to be done in evangelism to overcome the
monopoly that Buddhism and Shinto and humanism have on Japanese people.
THANKSGIVING - With the dollar getting weaker in value and the task still as difficult
as ever, tendency is against Thanksgiving, but our eyes are so filled with physical
matters that we often ignore matters in which we Christians have been wonderfully
blessed. At our missionary Thanksgiving meeting we thought about the many designations
of our Lord and Saviour. Just to consider the Name and the characteristics and
personality of Jesus is a type of thanksgiving. To know that we have nothing to fear
because of God who gave His only Son for us is wonderful. To know that not only our
Creator loves us but that there are many Christians in the U.S.A. who love us is really
encouraging. Thank you all for your many prayers and your sacrificial support on our
behalf and on behalf of the spread of the gospel in Japan. It is already Christmas
season. May you all have a wonderful, joyous Christmas and Mew Year.
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