Spring 2014 (March, April, and May) 

Dear Friend in Christ,

When March arrived, I was at Mino Mission in Tomidahama, Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture. That is near the large city of Nagoya. Sunday morning, 2 March, I got up somewhat early, prayed, studied, got ready, walked out the nearby train station and rode 2 trains thru an ancient area of Japan that was called “Mino Nation” long ago. I am so privileged to spend much time preaching Christ in various rural areas of Japan, especially central Japan. It is such a joy for this barefoot farm boy from Alabama to be in rural areas of this Asian nation with such a different history and lifestyle than the U.S. and to observe what remains of ancient Japan landmarks in this modern day.

I arrived at Oogaki train station this Sunday morning and a Japanese lady from the church came for me by car and took me to the Oogaki Mino Mission church about a mile away. At the 11 AM service, I preached on King Asa from 2nd Chronicles 14 and 15. About 14 souls attended. After the service, I ate the small lunch I brought, in the church with 5 other church members. We then had a service at 1:30 PM with about 12 present. I continued preaching on King Asa from II Chronicles 16. We fellowshipped a while after that. I went out and preached some on the streets, caught the trains back to Tomidahama and attended the 7 PM service there where Pastor Isaac preached.

I stayed at Mino Mission until March 10th, daily preaching and singing in public and passing out literature from house to house while praying for the weather to warm up and melt the deep snow around my house in Matsuida. On Wednesday, 5 March, I preached at the 7:30 PM service at the Tomidahama church with 7 present. The next night, I preached at the Oogaki church at 7 PM with 12 or so present and bade them farewell. Then on Sunday, 9 March, I preached my 2 sermons on King Asa in the 11 AM and 7 PM services at the Tomidahama church. I bade farewell to the Tomidahama Christians that day. All of these souls in the Mino Mission churches are dedicated and faithful Christians, the majority of them elderly. Please pray for our Lord to richly bless them.

On Monday morning, 10 March, I heartily thanked Isaac and Abby for their kind hospitality, bade farewell to them and their 2 sons, Nahum (4th grade) and Micaiah (1st grade). Please pray for our Lord to keep His Hand mightily upon these 2 sons of this godly Japanese pastor for good. It so blessed me to watch Isaac and Abby training up their sons to follow the Lord. For 3 or 4 decades now, the percentage of people thru out Japan who attend church has steadily declined, the younger generations dead set against God as they go madly after the devil’s world. So presently, a vast number of churches are made up mostly of elderly souls. In most churches in Japan, the Sunday School hour is for children only. Steadily, churches are doing away with the Sunday School hour because no one comes any more. Several churches have totally closed up and gone out of existence because attendance just dwindled down to zero or close to zero. 

In my winter newsletter to you, I told of preaching in Bro. Jeff Brigham’s church the 1st Sunday in December. Jeff has 2 sons, Ken about 10, and Luke about 7 years old. It is a joy to also see Pastor Jeff and his Japanese wife Keiko bringing up their 2 sons in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

These 4 boys listed in these above 2 paragraphs (sons of 2 zealous pastors here in Japan), you please lift them up in prayer, crying out to God to use them greatly for His Glory. Already, each of their sets of parents take them out to do outdoor evangelism. It is a joy to me to see that! Please pray for our Lord to save many Japanese young souls and set them on fire for His Glory. I pray that if the Lord tarries His coming, that He will make these 4 boys into Holy Ghost filled, powerful preachers!

One thing that makes our Lord’s church weak in this heathen nation of Japan is that thru out this nation, typically the women and girls in church far outnumber the men and boys, resulting in a severe lack of male leadership. Some small “churches” have no males in them at all, up to 8 or so women and girls only. Other churches have only 1 or 2 or 3 males in them, along with 10 or more women and girls. As I preach Christ to Japanese children, it is amazing to watch boys from age 7 or 8 strongly set themselves against their Creator God, already determining to make “Self” their god and to intensely go all out to get and enjoy all of the devil’s world they possibly can, become a superstar in their favorite sport or rise to the top in some other area of the devil’s world. Please pray for our Lord to save many Japanese men and boys. 

On that day, March 10th, I left Mino Mission and rode the rails to Tokyo, bought some health foods, preached in that area of Tokyo, and rode the trains on back to my house in Matsuida, having left home back on November 30. Thank God there was minimal damage to my rental house from the heavy snows in February. Looking around town, the damage to many buildings, vehicles, and such was a sight to behold. A lot of flimsy sheds were flattened and are getting hauled away. In that way it “cleaned up” this town somewhat. Many Japanese here keep their cars under a simple car shed consisting of a tin roof held up by lightweight posts (metal or wooden). The heavy snow collapsed many of those “lightweight” sheds, pushing the shed down on those expensive cars underneath and damaging the vehicles. I have no car shed, so my small van wasn’t damaged; thank God, tho heavy snow piled up on it as it set out in the open.

About 17 miles from my house in the city of Tomioka, a 79-year-old Japanese man was killed right outside his front door. He had just stepped out to see how the lightweight awning type roof over the entrance to his house was holding up when it collapsed on his head from the weight of the snow on it. Thank God that He allowed me to go south for the winter and do much outdoor evangelism in a mild climate.

Returning to my house in Matsuida, it was still very cold here with large piles of snow remaining all around. Right off I began preaching in public daily while catching up personal affairs and such. The following Sunday, 16 March, I drove up the steep mountain range just west of my house to preach at the Miyota church where the piles of snow were much taller at that higher altitude, and the temp was colder. Praise God for the warm fellowship in Christ we had that day in church.

The next Sunday, the 23rd, I preached in the church in Yoshii. And then on the last Sunday of March, the 30th, I rode the trains up to Minakami to preach in the church there, where a steep and high mountain range stands back in the distance, miles away. It was covered with snow then, such a majestic sight! It was a great joy to me to be back “home” and to preach in these 3 churches with dear Japanese Christian friends with whom I have fellowshipped for many years. Also, it sure warmed my heart (and body) to daily watch the piles of snow shrink, the lovely plum trees bloom, and finally the many cherry trees bud out the last week of March and then stand in lovely full bloom the 1st 10 days or so of April. Thank God that lovely warm flowering spring follows harsh cold winter. It is most easy to believe in the resurrection because I feel like I get resurrected every springtime.

The 1st Sunday in April (the 6th), I rode the trains to Isesaki and preached in Brother Tamura’s small church assembly. It was a blessed service. The 12 or so souls there that day do much outdoor evangelism. I rejoice to see that in a church congregation. In these 4 churches I’ve mentioned above, attendance on Sunday mornings is from about 12 to 24 souls.

The following Saturday, the 12th, I preached at an afternoon evangelistic service at Yoshii. That congregation assembles each Saturday afternoon, in addition to each Sunday. On 2 Saturdays each month, they have an evangelistic service. This day as I was driving there rejoicing over the privilege of preaching in church that Saturday afternoon, this thought crossed my mind. “Here I am in heathen Buddhist rural Japan, going to preach to a Christian congregation that assembles each Saturday also. I wonder if any church in Christian America would consider assembling each Saturday and Sunday?” Glory!!

The following day, Sunday the 13th, I was not scheduled to preach anywhere. So I attended the Karuizawa Church where I’ve preached in the past when they were without a pastor. This day, I met their new Pastor Furuya who had just come there to pastor a few days before, in early April. He was most friendly to me and when I asked him to again let me preach and sing at their church’s entrance, he readily agreed. I praise God for this miracle for which I had earnestly prayed before meeting him. This church has asked me to teach English to their 10 or so kindergarten kids for 30 minutes a week, 1 weekday afternoon just before the kids leave. That is a fun time. I don’t do that every week, but welcome the contact when I have time to do it (usually twice a month). The 5 year olds are so precious. I thank God the church allows me to preach at its entrance on the crowded main street of Karuizawa, a summer tourist town with multitudes of souls walking past that church entrance when the weather is hot or warm. By God’s Grace, down thru the years, I’ve had the opportunity to preach to thousands of souls there, give Gospel literature to some of them, and speak with several personally of salvation in Christ.

Fellow prayer warriors now reading this, in the past I have asked you to pray for our Lord to open more doors here for me to preach in many church houses! Because I asked, some of you have prayed for that. Praise God that He has so generously been answering your prayers! Please keep praying for such, for churches to want to schedule revival services on Saturdays, Sunday afternoons, weeknights, and such to have me preach at those times. Of a certainty, our Lord will readily answer such prayers. God bless you richly for praying!

On Sunday, April 20th, I preached in the Miyota church. Three 7th grade girls who live in my area rode with me and attended church, Takako, Risa, and Mayu. I have mentioned them before in my letters. I teach them English in Takako’s house. Takako has plainly professed to me and several other people that she trusted in Jesus. The other 2 girls haven’t yet made such a clear profession, but they willingly accept all I teach them of Jesus. Please pray for Lord to save each of them to the utmost and to perfect their faith. Pray for their families to all get saved. 

Brother Arai at the Yoshii church asked me to preach at a special Easter service they had on Saturday afternoon April 26th. So I did. They invited many people and a few unsaved souls attended. I preached the Resurrected Christ and eternal life and eternal hope in Christ, and clearly told them there is no help, hope, salvation, and such outside of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. Please pray for our Lord to save all who came. Thank God for these Saturday afternoon church evangelistic services. The next day, on Sunday, I preached at the 1:30 worship service in the Yoshii church.

During May I preached in the churches in Yoshii, Miyota, and Isesaki on the 11th, 18th, and 25th respectively. After the morning service and then lunch at the Miyota church, I walked to the train station, preached out front till the train came and rode it to Shinonoi. There, the 49-year-old Rumanian missionary lady, Mihaela, took me to visit the Takasu family, 86-year-old Mr. Takasu living with his married son and the son’s wife in back of their store. None of this family is a Christian, but all three were most friendly to us. Grandpa likes to practice English. I gave him my “prayer” book, “Vanity of Vanities.” It is written in both English and Japanese. He readily accepted the book and I encouraged him to pray the prayers. Please pray for the salvation of the Takasu family.

Then, at 4 PM we had an evangelistic service at Grace Chapel where Mihaela lives and teaches 3 foreign languages to Japanese people for income. In this letter, I have already talked about Japanese churches “drying up.” Grace Chapel was started over 30 years ago by missionaries. Likely, in its heyday, attendance reached about 30 people. Now, only 1 Japanese Christian man, Bro. Shimada attends regularly (with Mihaela teaching) (again, no male leadership in the “church” at all). Bro. Shimada came this day. Also a 60-year-old Japanese lady named Teruko attended “church” for the 1st time. Teruko lives nearby Grace Chapel, is not a Christian, and drinks and smokes heavily and is heavily laden with misery. Mihaela has witnessed to Teruko and prayed for her salvation. This day, when we started singing, soon Teruko broke down sobbing. Then as I preached on the attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ from Hebrews 1:1-3, she listened so well. Please pray for our Lord to deliver Teruko from the powers of darkness and to save her.

Soon after I started preaching the sermon this day at Grace Chapel, a young Japanese man named Ken showed up late. I estimate him to be in his late 20s. He is not a Christian, likely has mental problems, and it was evident to me that Ken lacks social skills and is poor at interacting with people. He is somewhat of a loner. This day was my 1st time to meet both Teruko and Ken. After the service, I gave each of them my prayer book and urged each of them to daily pray a portion of the prayers in that book. Please intercede for Ken’s eternal salvation also.      

Thank you prayer warriors for praying and interceding! Thank you “givers” for your abundant provision to me!! May our Lord richly bless you and repay you many fold over for all you do for me and for The Lord’s Work here in heathen Japan.

Christ’s unprofitable servant,    Richard Yerby




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