Winter, (December 2002, January & February 2003)

Dear Friend in Christ,

  In December, I held 2 Christmas evangelistic services, each one in a different community. Twelve people attended the first service and only 2 people attended the second one. That is very low attendance & I am praying that more people will come to these services. Would you please pray for that also. May God stir up a desire in their hearts to want to learn of the True God, their Creator.

In my fall letter, I told of how I had been refused use of the community hall in Isobe 4th district, when I asked to rent it to hold a service there in November. That was most disappointing to me, & I am still praying that God will change that decision of the new community leader & that I will again be able to use it. Please pray about that, if you will. I went on to the adjacent community & asked if I could use the hall there in the 3rd district. And the leader there was most kind & allowed me to use it. So I had a service there in December & that is the service where 12 people attended.

It is only about a 5-minute walk between these 2 community halls in the 3rd & 4th districts, so people who live in that area can easily walk to either one. However the 4th district hall is back off the street just a ways & has just a little open space around it, and the hall is larger. Therefore, I prefer it to the small hall in the 3rd district that is right near the street. However, I was most grateful when Mr. Akiyama agreed to let me use that small hall. Also he was most kind to me. Please pray with me for him to get saved.

Through the winter, I have continued to regularly distribute Christian literature, going from house to house & leaving it. I went into several mountain communities that I had never been to before, tho they are less than 10 miles from my house. Having lived here since 1978, I have walked through a lot of the communities within about a 15 mile radius of where I live, distributing literature there time & again. But this winter, I got out searching for places I have never once been, & I was surprised when I found quite a few of them. There are many small & steep mountain ranges in this area, with a narrow valley between 2 ranges. Those valleys that are inhabited have a narrow road built near the stream in the valley. And I walked up several of those valleys to the few houses isolated among those steep hills. It is so cold back there in the winter, as they get very few hours of sunshine each day because those mountains well block out the low-lying winter sun. I would park my car by a highway down on the plain & walk up those roads to distribute the literature, as walking was more convenient. How the temperature would drop as I walked uphill & got into those shaded valleys. Also, the amount of snow on the ground increased as I went up. Houses were quite far apart, which cuts back on the amount of literature I can give out in a day. But the people there are more likely to read it because they are not so heavily bombarded with commercial advertising being brought to them. Please pray for them to read the Gospel literature I left with them & for God to deal with their hearts mightily. How they need the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives.

Several of the colder & snowy days, I spent inside, writing on book manuscripts. I get a great blessing when writing the things God has led me to proclaim to others. Writing such is never an easy task for me. I think the devil fights it a lot, trying to distract & interrupt me. Please pray for God’s power & protection for me, as I write these books & sermons I want to make available for many people to read.

On the 4th of February, my Dad had a severe stroke while alone at his house near Vernon, Alabama, and lay on his kitchen floor an undetermined amount of time (the doctor said over 12 hours) before anyone found him. After my brother called and told me that, I soon began to put my affairs in order here in Japan so I could leave them. And on the 18th of February, I flew to Mississippi where Dad was in the hospital in the town of Pontotoc. He was paralyzed on his right side and could not talk. But he did recognize people and we talked to him and sometimes got a smile in response. Also, he would answer “Yes” or “No” questions with a nod or shake of his head. I visited with him, family, and friends until the 27th of February when I left to return to Japan.

Also, I preached in 4 different churches while in the States, on 2 Wednesday nights and a Sunday morning and Sunday night, being in a different church each of those 4 times. What a blessing it was to fellowship with dear Christian friends in those churches that support me, and the people there pray for me. Everyone was so kind to me and did everything they could to help and encourage me. How I thank God for all of you that I got to be with then. God gave me a safe trip back to Japan, arriving on the 28th of February.   

While in the States, it so encouraged me when people told me they were praying for me. There is great power in prayer. I pray for you, too. Any time you write me with a particular prayer request, I pray for it. Thank you so much for the praying you do for me, and for these many lost Japanese whom I am reaching with the Gospel. Please pray for many of them to get saved. Please pray for revival here in Japan. Believe me, it makes such a difference in what I accomplish here, when you pray for me and for the lost Japanese I am preaching to. Please intercede to God for their lost souls. Time spent in prayer is most profitable. God bless you for praying. I really appreciate it.

As for you, who sent offerings to me during the winter, thank you so much for helping in that way. Your donations are a big help to me & I really appreciate you being willing to give of your money to help me in this missionary work God has called me to do. God bless you for providing.

                          Christ’s unprofitable servant,

                           Richard Yerby



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