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VVV OSAKA DIRECT VVV July 2005
Greetings in the Name of Jesus! How are you doing? I pray that the Lord is blessing you and watching over you and your loved ones. We are doing fine here in Osaka and we continue to be blessed to have many opportunities for fruitful ministry. In fact, the last few months we have kept very busy! I wish that I could catch you up on all the details, but time and email size constraints will limit me to sharing a few highlights. I do apologize for once again being behind on my communication, please forgive me for not writing sooner. On to the news about what we have been up to - please enjoy reading this issue of Osaka Direct.
Sayonara Party for Micah and Melanie
Micah and Melanie came to Japan last fall as MUP Luke 10 workers, and for nine months they blessed us in many ways. Their focus was on helping to develop new ministry contacts for Budou no Ki Cell Church, and they were very successful in this. Since Micah speaks Japanese quite well and Melanie was a hard-working student, they were able to do many things, including leading Alpha Courses in both Japanese and English. The two of them developed many ministry contacts and made numerous friends, especially among the students at Osaka Christian College (OCC). In cooperation with Katie and others at the college, they focused much of their effort on outreach to the OCC students, and several students attended their Alpha Course. Unfortunately, the time for Micah and Melanie to go home came all too quickly, but many of the things they started will continue. We are especially thankful that one of the students from their Alpha Course is planning to lead another Alpha for the students this fall.
MUP Conference and Hawaii Visit
In February we attended the Mission to Unreached Peoples (MUP) International Conference in Thailand, where we were blessed to visit with many of our missionary friends who are working in other countries and where we received some wonderful encouragement from the speakers and workshops. After the conference we made a great escape and went to Kauai in Hawaii to see old friends Stephen and Kathy, and to take a much-needed rest from the busy pace we have had ever since coming to Osaka. Stephen and Kathy blessed us in many ways, and we were refreshed by visiting with them and enjoying their wonderful gift of hospitality. This was our first chance to see these dear friends in a long time, and it was also the best rest we have had for a long time. We rested, took a helicopter tour of the fantastic scenery on the island, and were blessed by worshiping with Calvary Chapel on the island. Through a friend, we even got to go sailing for an afternoon.
Osaka International Church (OIC) Ministry
The ministry at OIC continues to be a blessing and a challenge. In April we started a new home group ministry (Care and Growth Groups), and in the long-term we are praying that this will help the church to develop many new leaders. However, in the short-term, some people who had originally volunteered to lead the groups dropped out and I (Dan) have taken on one of these groups in addition to other obligations. About the same time, our OIC church secretary moved to Hawaii, and Karen ended up filling in for many of the church administrative functions, and the weekly workload went up another big step. The counseling load at OIC is also fairly heavy, with many people having a wide variety of life and faith issues that they are struggling with. The workload of pastoring OIC and working on the cell church plant and other ministry at the same time is large, but OIC is a wonderful opportunity to do much effective ministry, and that is a blessing. Lives are being changed and people are coming to faith and growing in their relationship with Jesus - praise His holy Name!
"Garden" Outreach Service
Recently we had the joy of partnering with Warren and a team of short-termers from Homestay International (a Florida-based ministry to Japanese students), and we held a special outreach service on the garden rooftop of the Christian Center where OIC meets. This location is usually used for "outdoor" weddings, and it provided a nice relaxed atmosphere for the special service. A number of students from the girl's college next door came, and some of them have continued to come to a Thursday night follow-up meeting.
Congratulations to Will and Aukje! They were married in Canada on April 2nd, and Will is joining Aukje on the mission field here. I guess that is one way to get new workers for the cell church plant!
New OIC Web Site Thanks to Micah and Karen, the new OIC web site is up! Check out the photo of OIC family at oicjapan.org.
Deaf Ministries International (DMI) After much prayer, Dan and Karen have both accepted invitations to join the Japan Board of DMI, an international evangelistic and church-planting outreach to deaf children in Africa and Asia. DMI was originally started by an OIC member and the church has continued to have a close relationship with this ministry. For more about DMI visit deafmin.org.
Chinese Church Partnership Our partnership work with a Chinese-language church here continues to deepen. In addition to other assistance that we are blessed to give this church, they are now also using our Abeno Room cell church location for evangelistic meetings to students from mainland China.
International Ministerial Fellowship (IMF) Dan has completed the application process for requesting ordination through IMF, and we are now waiting for them to review the application. We will be traveling to Minneapolis next week to attend the IMF Conference and to get to know them better. For more about IMF visit i-m-f.org .
Short-term Workers and Teams We have two short-term workers from MUP with us now, Eileen and Alana, and they are helping with the ministry and conducting various special outreach events. We also have a ministry team from Hong Kong coming next week (while we are gone) and they will be staying at the Sekime Chapel location of the cell church. Their work will mostly be with a local Japanese church that we cooperate with.
East Coast Visit We will be visiting the Virginia-Maryland area to see family and friends for a few days during the last week of July. We will be participating in worship at Grace Fellowship Chapel, our sending church, on July 31st.
Praise & Prayer Requests
(1) Please pray that the Lord would give us wisdom for the ministry here and for discerning His will in all things. We especially need wisdom to know how to balance all of the ministry demands. Dan is currently leading worship services and small groups at five different locations, as well as maintaining office hours for counseling ministry, administrative work, and training for others. Karen is equally busy with music, video, administrative ministry, and various computer-related projects.
(2) Please pray for Dan's ordination application with IMF. May the Lord's will be done in this and in all things!
(3) Pray for the new OIC small groups that have started, for wisdom and strength for the current small group leaders, and for new leaders to be raised up.
(4) Praise the Lord for the growth of the Budou no Ki Cell Church Thursday night worship meeting and for the new Bible study group at Takatsuki. These groups are going well and have several new members; good things are happening!
(5) Please pray for short-term workers Alana and Eileen who are here with us now. Please pray also for Micah and Melanie as they re-adjust to life in the USA after nine months away.
God bless you always!
In Jesus' love,