Summer 2015 (June, July, August)

Dear Friend in Christ,

June 2015

Thank you for praying for our Lord to bless my preaching and my praying efforts here in Japan. I also thank God for hearing and answering your prayers with an abundance of blessings poured upon me and with the opening of doors of opportunity to preach and hold intercessory prayer meetings. To God be the Glory for it! May He richly bless you for your much help and many prayers! Presently I open the rescue mission in Karuizawa 5 days a week, closing it on Thursdays and Sundays. Just a few souls come in and take Gospel literature and the bags, tissue packs and such with prayers printed on them. May they sincerely offer those prayers up to God, calling on Him to save them!

About 150 yards away from this store space God provided me for the rescue mission is Karuizawa Union Church, a stately-looking wood church built by missionaries in 1906 in which to hold summer conventions and church services. Up thru the 1970’s, missionaries flocked to cool Karuizawa in the summers and sometimes attendance at services and preaching conventions was well over 200 souls. (The church is large, easily seating over 250.)

Down thru the years, attendance has died way down in numbers. There are far fewer Caucasian missionaries in Japan now. Also, they usually have air conditioning in their buildings and vehicles for summer comfort. The somewhat “dead” Union Church has become somewhat like a museum. We open it up daily during the warm and hot 7 or 8 months each year. Japanese come in to gaze in awe at ancient woodwork, no ceiling, but exposed wood posts, rafters, ceiling joists and such of old-fashioned wood craftsmanship that is beautiful.

We fill 3 to 4 small tables with Gospel literature and visitors take a small amount of it. I put my literature out in Union Church and pray for the lost souls who take it. They take little literature, but take many of the pocketsize tissue packs, with a prayer on each.

Six or 7 missionaries make up a board that controls Union Church. They have never asked me to be on the board, tho only 2 board members have been in Japan longer than I. But last summer when God gave me the store space for the rescue mission, I volunteered to be the key keeper for Union Church to open it each morning and close it each evening, because I’m located closer to it than any other board members or helpers. They were grateful for my offer and gave me a key.

This summer, I have started holding intercessory prayer services in Union Church. Most every night that I sleep in the Upper Room over the rescue mission, the next morning I go pray in Union Church for over an hour. Also, the two or so Sundays monthly I’m not scheduled to preach elsewhere, I spend Saturday night at the rescue mission and go pray in the Union Church on Sunday, up to 5 hours. I look to God in faith for great answers and for many lost to be saved! You please pray over this as Our Lord leads you.

I printed up large notices announcing that prayer is in session now and invite all to quietly enter, sit, listen and quietly leave when they desire to leave. At the start of prayer time on Sundays, I post a notice on the closed door of the rescue mission, on the Union Church billboard at the very front of the church property, on my compact van parked by the church, and on the church’s open door (4 notices). Thus far, each Sunday and 1 weekday morning, a few souls have come in and sat a while. The greatest number was 9 on a Sunday and 6 Chinese family members together on a weekday morning.

My literature is on 3 tables in the rear of the church, free for the taking. On Sundays, many visitors (tourists) are walking the streets where my notices are posted. You call on God, please, to draw them in by His Almighty Power. Union Church’s location is most strategic in that many souls are around it in the warm months. Its property of about half an acre has a high monetary value on it in this expensive tourist town. It’s a miracle, God giving me much use of the church for free and that people are drawn in just to view the old building. Glory!

July 2015

In my May newsletter that I mailed out on paper, I asked friends to please pray about my efforts to preach in the Gunma Prefecture prison. Brother Tamura did enquire about that for me, and the system of allowing religious people to come talk religion to prisoners is “sewed up tightly” here. The prefectural government has formed an organization for that purpose. Anyone wishing to “preach” in prison must join that organization. Only bonafied religious groups can join. That group includes Buddhists and Shinto groups along with Christian churches.

Brother Tamura’s church is not bonafied in the eyes of the government, and thus would not be permitted to join that group. But he will try to find out what Christian church (if any) is presently going to the prison to preach. If a Christian in a “bonafied” church is presently ministering in the prison, and if he would agree to allow me to accompany him when he goes, there might be a chance I could go with him and speak as he allows me to do so. As God leads you, please continue to pray about this. If there are any new developments here, I will tell you. How I long to minister in prisons here in Japan! Open doors, Lord, I pray!

Please pray for a Japanese lady named Midori who is in her 40s, I guess. Recently, I was closing up the Union Church in the late afternoon when she stopped by. She said that when she was in high school, she attended functions held by local missionaries and churches, trusted in Christ and was baptized. “And afterward…” she said shaking her head and almost weeping. She married an unsaved Japanese man, later divorced, and tho I did not probe her for any details she didn’t offer, she hinted that she ceased living a Christian life. I urged her to return to her Lord and Saviour just as the prodigal son returned to his father. She talked most vaguely indicating that she could not “return” for some unknown reason. I told her to ask God to show her what was hindering and to give her victory over it. Likely she well knows what is hindering but doesn’t want to forsake it. I showed her my book of prayers lying on the table in the church foyer and told her it would be wonderful for her to take the book and pray those prayers from her heart. She did take the book. Please pray that God will set her free from all that binds her.

By God’s Grace, I continue to preach one Sunday each month in Yoshii and Isesaki. I am scheduled to preach in the Minakami church this coming Sunday, August 2nd. That will be my 2nd time to preach in Minakami this year. Please pray for the Japanese souls in these 3 churches.

Upon returning to Japan on April 11, I called Mrs. Rees at the Miyota church, told her I was back and asked if she wanted me to preach. “Nooooo.That was a long NO! And no soul there has since said any more to me about preaching there, tho I had preached there one Sunday each month I that was in this area for the past 5 years or so.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. (II Timothy 4:3) Over 2 years ago, as I preached in the Miyota church, I had them open to that Scripture and called on them to believe and obey the sound doctrines in the Holy Bible. I told them I was to start preaching Bible doctrines that Christian churches the world over are ceasing to endure and that preachers are becoming “silent and dumb” regarding those Scriptures and ceasing to preach them. Then I started preaching such each month on the Sunday I preached at Miyota. Glory to God!

After a few months, Mrs. Rees called me to lament that Japanese church members were upset at my preaching. By God’s Grace, I continued to preach clearly and strongly that which my Lord laid on my heart. All last year, the Miyota church people became more and more silent toward me each month when I came to preach. When I returned this year, Mrs. Rees just said “Nooooo” with no further comment. May our Lord perfect their every way!

Please pray for me to stay ever so close to My Precious Saviour’s Side and always preach exactly that which He commands me to preach. I have well learned that is where the blessings are.

August 2015

Each and every day is so full and so fulfilling, thank God. During August I tended the rescue mission 6 days a week (not Sundays) and a multitude of souls paraded by each day. Some came in. Some took literature and such. I had opportunity to talk to a few (the few who would allow me to do so). 40 steps from the front of the rescue mission is the main street that is closed to vehicular traffic during peak seasons (summer and such). It is usually crowded with pedestrians during peak seasons. I walk out to that main street a few times each day to preach and sing a few minutes at a time. Many hear. “Save them, Lord, I pray!”

On the far side of that “T” junction of narrow streets, I stand on the front edge of a small vacant lot when I sing and preach. Please pray that our Lord be glorified on that plot of earth He created. Please pray that if it be God’s Will that He would open doors for me to lease that lot to use for His Glory! About 10 times as many souls walk past that lot as walk by my storefront nearby, but on a side street. (Japan is a most crowded nation.) In peak tourist season, likely more than 10,000 souls a day walk past that vacant lot. It is about 30 feet across and 60 feet deep. A narrow side street goes along its 60 feet of depth, making for much easy access to that lot. Previously the famous Meiji Company owned it. So you can call it the “Meiji lot” as you pray about it. In accordance to God’s Divine Will, may it be used to glorify our Lord and as a lighthouse shining brightly on that busy street.

During August I didn’t hold prayer meetings in Union Church because various missionaries and other groups had use of it, some of them putting on worldly concerts and such in the church. I look forward to resuming those prayer services come September, Lord willing. Behind the church, the Shinto shrine (Suwa Shrine) has much heathen idol festival activity during August. My compact utility van is parked beside Union Church right next to the narrow street (lane) that leads to the main gate (entrance) of that idolatrous shrine. Glory to God I have 6 magnetic sign prayers (in Japanese) covering much of the van’s exterior body (2 prayers on each side and 2 on the back door) that people almost brush against when the multitude walks in and out of the festivals there. Glory! Children are prone to read the prayers aloud when they see them. More Glory!! May the Holy Ghost Powerfully speak to hearts thru the content of each meaty prayer and save many precious souls for whom Christ died!!

On Sunday morning 2 August, I preached in the Minakami church with about 16 present. After church, I ate lunch with 3 others who stayed for it and soon caught a ride with Paul to Minakami train station, preached till the next train left going on up the steep mountains and boarded it. It soon went into long tunnels that make 2 loops under the mountain (inside the dark tunnels) in order to gradually climb to the top of those mountains. Along the way, the train platforms at 2 different stations are inside tunnels that passengers access by damp and ill lighted stairways. I stayed on the train to the top of the mountain, got off at Etsugo Yuzawa and preached on the streets and left Gospel flyers at each house as I gazed on the beautiful steep mountains with ski slopes and hot springs hotels and spas all around. Strong mountain winds would whip in clouds with strong lightening threatening to strike anywhere. Truly a marvel to behold! What an adventure! Truly I’m the most blessed soul on earth! Thank Thee, Lord Jesus. May each lost soul receive Jesus’ Riches!

On Sunday 9 August, I preached in the church in Yoshii. On 30 August, I preached in the church in Isesaki and out in public in the afternoon. Such great joy it brings to preach to everyone I can. May Our Lord help each of us Christian believers to daily wisely redeem the short time remaining before He raptures us unto His Glorious Presence! “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.Thank you, my friend, for caring about me, for praying for me and for lost Japanese souls, for giving offerings to help me minister in Japan. May our Lord richly bless you and your family and repay you many fold over for your much help to me!

Christ’s servant in Japan,

Richard Yerby


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