Hello! We hope you are doing well. Right now we are finally able to take a breather before the DTS students arrive tomorrow! So we wanted to update you briefly before the DTS starts.
We have been busy preparing for the Discipleship Training School which officially starts on the 22nd of September (Tuesday!). Gary is in charge of transportation so has been figuring out airport pickups, and Naoko is in charge of hospitality so has been making the houses look nice and preparing small welcome baskets with Japanese snacks. In terms of accommodation, we have been praying for a larger place to house the students, but as this hasn't happened, we have had to purchase bunk beds to put in our current staff housing. This will mean the students (and single staff) will be a bit more cosy than we would have liked. But it may help when the cooler weather comes! So we have been making beds, cleaning houses, moving people around, and making last minute drives to pick up mattresses. Tomorrow we start making train and van trips to the airport (over two hours!), to pick up students. There are 7 Americans, 4 Japanese, 2 Canadians, 1 Dutch, 1 Norwegian, and 1 New Zealander. 16 students in total. We are excited to see what God has for each of these young people. Again, to learn more about the DTS, visit: ywamtokyo.org/dts (The website is new!)
New Youth Group
We remember that we mentioned during the Spring that we were starting to talk with the church next door to the YWAM base, and they seemed interested in doing ministry with us. Well since then, we have started a bi-weekly youth group with them! It has been going really well, and we really feel that we now have a friendship with them as a church. The youth group is bilingual, which is a draw for young people, as they enjoy western culture and practising English. We have had one young Japanese girl come along pretty much every week, and she has been bringing along friends. On average, we have between 2 and 4 young people, so we are praying for more! But even as it is, it is a huge encouragement for the church. One of the young woman at the church who has been one of the main leaders of the youth group will in fact be a student on our DTS! This has been very encouraging to us personally as we want to see local Japanese Christians be discipled and even become missionaries!
Kid's English Camp
One of our highlights during the summer was helping at a kid's camp (see image above). This was a kid's camp organised by three local Japanese Baptist churches, including the first church we both attended after Gary came to Japan. It was such a fun and encouraging time! They called this year's camp an English camp, as they had another missionary couple, from the US, teach during the camp. This was perfect for Gary, because they encouraged all of the children to practise their English with one of the three foreigners, and if they did, they got a sticker! And stickers mean prizes! Although after
a few days, the children just said the phase "sticker, please!". Anyway, it was fun, and many of the children expressed that they wanted to get baptised or learn more about Jesus! It was a great opportunity to work with people that have been a blessing to us, but that we don't get to see much these days. We'd like to do it again next year!
So much has happened since our last proper update! Because this is getting long, I will briefly note a few more things:
- My youngest brother Michael got married!! It was a wonderful wedding at St Gabriel's church in Liverpool, and I even had the honour of being best man!
- We had a great time seeing friends and family in England (and enjoying the cool weather), though it was brief and we didn't get to see many people at all. We look forward to next time!
- English conversation cafe at Nerima and Kiyose churches are both going well - people seem to really enjoy practising English with me!
- I have been working on a new website for Nerima Baptist church, and it is now online at nerimabaptist.jp
Thank for you supporting us and what God is doing here in Japan! We cannot be here without your prayers and financial support! Please feel free to pop us a mail at anytime to ask us for more info about what we are doing or to just say hello. We pray for you too, so please do send us your prayer requests and news also!
Gary & Naoko