Autumn 2013 (September, October, November)

Dear Friend in Christ,

I praise God for a blessed autumn in the harvest field for eternal human souls here in Japan. We have had much good weather with lovely, calm, mild fall days. By God’s grace, I have preached in public most every day and distributed Christian literature from house to house several days each month. May our Lord save those who heard and those who read words by which they might be saved. I thank God for sustaining me well during the summer heat. My Lord has daily filled my heart to overflowing with His Wonderful Joy as I behold the beauty of the colors of fall flowers and the leaves on the trees. I thank my Lord for the privilege of being in the center of Japan to proclaim salvation in Christ. Thank you for praying for me and supporting me.  

In August, the church in Miyota started planning a Saturday afternoon outdoor evangelistic service for 14 September and asked me to preach. I was honoured, thank God! I began to pray for God to work powerfully as we invited many lost people to attend. The church planned an outdoor BBQ lunch to entice people to come feed their face. As soon as they finished eating, I was to preach at 1 PM.

As September 14th approached, so did a powerful typhoon. Heavy wind & rain was predicted around that time. (And we planned to have the lunch and preaching outside because the small church would not accommodate the numbers we prayed would come.) As we kept up with the typhoon news, the only thing to do was to pray, pray, PRAY! Thank God, He hears and answers. It rained some on Friday the 13th. Then the forecast was for the rain to hold off during the day on Saturday and return that night. “Thank Thee, Lord!” Saturday arrived with cloudy skies threatening rain.          

Typhoon rains were forecast to start after dark, thank God. God stayed the rain during the day and brought many souls to church, thank God. A “church worker” counted a total of 67 people who came that Sat., Sept. 14, and as I preached at 1 PM, she counted 57 sitting there listening to the sermon on salvation. Likely close to 40 of them were not Christians. The few children in the Miyota church invited other kids at school and even invited school teachers. A few kids from school attended and 1 lady public school teacher came. She was not a Christian. Truly the Holy Spirit worked powerfully & drew out many who were invited. I preached salvation in Christ and God’s command to choose life or death. I clearly told them how that each of us chooses our eternal fate and called on them to now, Choose Life! Now trust in Christ. Thank you dear Christian for earnestly interceding in prayer for these many lost Japanese souls to whom I preach Christ!

In my summer letter, I told you of three 6th grade Japanese girls, Takako, Risa, and Mayu attending a short summer Bible camp in Miyota. I invited them and their family members to come on Sept. 14. Risa’s mother brought those 3 girls and also her 9th grade son. I am quite sure it was the first time for Risa’s mom and brother to attend any church function. Praise God He gave them a clear sermon on Salvation. Risa’s mom & brother returned home that afternoon. The 3 girls stayed overnight with the Rees family at the church. I preached at that church in Miyota the next day, Sept. 15. But I asked my friend, Missionary Dan Roberts, to please take the 3 girls to his church about 4 miles away that day. I wanted the girls to meet other Christians. So they attended Bro. Roberts’ church. Takako, Risa, & Mayu have each professed to trust in Christ as I witnessed to them before. What a joy that is to me! Please pray that all their family members will be saved. Thank you for zealously praying for lost souls!

The following Sunday, 22 September, I rode the trains to Isesaki and attended Bro. Tamura’s small church where about 12 Japanese Christians were present that morning. God blessed with a wonderful service and we had lunch together there at the church. Bro. Tamura asked me if I would preach for them in late November. I readily agreed and he plans to have an evangelistic service and invite a lot of lost people that he knows. We prayed for God to powerfully move in hearts and to save lost souls. Then in November, he told me on the phone that he isn’t able to schedule that service yet. We hope to have it sometime in the future.

On the 5th Sunday of September, the 29th, I rode the trains to Minakami and preached in Bro. Tom Tierney’s church. About 18 Japanese attended. Our Lord blessed by speaking to hearts, thank God. I stayed at the Japan Bible Home that night. It is on up the mountain from the church, which is in town. The Tierney family lives at the Bible Home and operate it as a place for church groups to meet for evangelistic services and such. The next day, I helped Bro. Tom & his grown son, Paul, work on the chapel building. The Tierney family constantly works long hard hours in service to our Lord. They are a blessing and an inspiration to me. I help them when opportunity affords. Please pray for them. They win souls and influence many Japanese souls for good.

During October, I preached at the church in Yoshii on the 13th. About 17 souls attended. On Saturday the 19th, I rode the trains to Shinonoi in Nagano Prefecture for a 4:30 PM evangelistic service at Grace Chapel. On arriving at the train station, I preached and sang outside the station’s entrance where people were coming and going. A young Japanese man, Mr. Igarashi, stopped and talked to me. I witnessed to him of Christ and told him I was to preach at Grace Chapel. He said he had attended there a few times. But I could not get him to come this day. I walked on to the chapel that is run by a missionary lady from Rumania. Four Japanese souls attended that service. Mr. Shimada was there. He is a Christian and faithfully attends. The three others are lost souls and come at times. Please intercede with us for their salvation: Mr. Nozaki, Miss Yukie, and Miss Machiko. Ever so clearly, I preached of salvation in Jesus Christ to them. I returned home that night.

The next day, I taught the adult Sunday School class and then preached at the Miyota church. About 13 others attended the preaching service. It was a dreary, chilly, rainy day outside because a typhoon was in the area. We ate lunch together at the church and then had a singing service at 1 PM. Mrs. Isozumi drove to a care center where she has worked part time and brought 93 year-old Mr. Imanishi from there for the song service. She repeated asked him to attend the church service, but he always refused. He is lost. But he likes hymns. So they started having that song service mainly for him because he will come to it. Intercede for his salvation, please.

Mrs. Isozumi took him back to the care center after that and then returned to the church. She asked me to pray for her teenage son, Naoki. When he was younger, he had a heart for God, church, the Bible, and such. I have told you of him and his little sister, Mari, asking me to take them out to distribute tracts at each house in the neighborhood. Both of them have outgrown that stage of life. Neither has any interest in doing such now. As I prayed for Naoko, his mom sat nearby weeping with tears coursing down both cheeks. Please pray for all her family. I was so blessed to spend most of that rainy Sunday in that church, involved in all the things that went on there, Japanese Christians doing all they can to point lost souls to the Saviour of the world! By God’s grace, I also desire to do my utmost to lead many Japanese to Christ. Thank you for all you do to aid me in this missionary outreach.

On Saturday, 26 October, I preached at the 2 PM evangelistic service at the church in Yoshii to about 8 adults. (Glory to God, they have evangelistic services 2 Saturday afternoons each month!! Do you see any churches around you doing such??) I told them of the 1611 King James Version English Bible and its perfection. I gave each of them a Japanese language New Testament translated in 1928 by Bro. Nagai. It is an older version than the Japanese Bibles they each use. I showed them some key scriptures in the Nagai Bible that are missing from the version they use, like most of 1st John 5:7-8 and “God was manifest in the flesh” in 1st Timothy 3:16, changed to “Christ was manifest in the flesh.” Thank God they listened well and received this most important teaching better than the Christians in the Miyota church. I asked these at Yoshii to pray for God to give them His Perfect Bible in the Japanese language. You please pray for that also! We need an accurate Bible in Japanese.

On Sunday, 3 Nov., I preached at the church in Minakami. About 22 souls were present. Bro. Sawada, about 60 years old, came from afar for the service. Doctors recently told him that his cancer was terminal and that likely he had only about 30 days to live. He played a solo on a Japanese “mouth harp” called an “okarina.” He stayed for lunch & tears freely rolled down both his cheeks as I encouraged him to rest assured in the Lord, reminding him that the Lord’s grace is sufficient. You please pray for our Lord’s Presence to be most real, near, & dear to him. He lives quite a ways from Minakami and attends a church in his area. But he has known Pastor Tom Tierney and family since the early 1980’s. He has also known me since that time, as I was invited to preach in the church he attended back about 1982. He didn’t know I would be preaching in Minakami this day. Neither did I know he had cancer or that he’d come this day. Truly our Lord’s Ways are Perfect! Glory!

On Sunday, 10 November, I preached in the church in Yoshii. 14 Japanese were present. We had a most blessed service in the Lord, sitting and talking together over an hour after church. Seldom do I miss a day preaching and singing out in public. I pray for our Lord to save many of the souls who hear. What a joy it is to preach to everyone in this manner, rather than to just the few who will come to church. (And in Japan that is ever so few, less than 1% of the Japanese.) May God keep our hearts broken over souls who are lost & daily perishing. May our Lord save us from living for our own selfish pleasure & not caring for others in need. Study the book of Acts to see the disciples’ example of proclaiming Christ out in public. And then as the Holy Spirit leads you, do likewise. It will reward you richly spiritually. I can gladly tell you that from experience! 

On December 3rd, 1973, I arrived in Japan as a Marine captain and pilot to be stationed at Iwakuni Marine Corp Air Station for 1 year. But in a few short months, Japan began to feel like home to me as God led me to stay here to preach Christ to an idolatrous nation. Hard to believe that 40 years have past since I first arrived in Japan. What a most blessed 40 years it has been. Missionaries, who have been in Japan longer than I, are getting scarce. Also I have observed missionaries arrive in Japan after I arrived, coming here on their “life’s calling,” only to stay anywhere from about 1 year on up. Hundreds, who’ve arrived during the 40 years after I came, are no longer on the mission field.

I give Almighty God all the glory for bringing me to Japan and keeping me here for what I hope will be a lifetime of service to my Precious Lord. I desire to live out my life on this earth in Japan, Lord willing. I thank you for being a part of this missionary work by praying for me and for the multitudes of lost Japanese souls to whom I preach Christ. May our Lord richly bless you and repay you many fold over for your much encouragement and help you give me!

I pray for you, all your family, and all your friends and loved ones to have a most blessed Christmas and New Years season. May our Lord be with you to bless and keep you in His Will!

Christ’s unprofitable servant,

Richard Yerby


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