Autumn 2,002 (September, October, November)

Dear Friend in Christ,

  Autumn has come to be my favorite time of the year. When I was young, I liked spring best. Now I have come to like fall the best. One reason is that for the past 17 years, summer has been a most busy time for me. Therefore each summer, I look forward to its heavy workload ending and the relief from the heat. Fall says to me; “Slow down and relax a little.” And by the time each fall arrives, I am more than glad to try to do that. I am always plenty fatigued and worn out by the end of August. So I welcome the chance autumn gives me to slow down and recuperate a little.

 The fall scenery is so beautiful here in this rural area of Japan where I live, especially when they cut the rice and hang it on shocks out in the rice paddies to dry. I enjoy the many fall flowers here. Also the surrounding mountains are a pretty sight when the leaves change colors. There are a lot of persimmon trees around that bear the large Japanese persimmon. So in early November, those trees are just full of those large, orange balls (the persimmons). They are a pretty sight to behold also. Sometimes I wish fall could just go on forever and ever. It always ends well before I get finished enjoying it.

  In September and October, except for Sundays and rainy days, I went up the mountain every day to the town of Karuizawa, set up my little selling business on the street there, and preached, sang, gave out Christian literature to, and witnessed to the many Japanese tourists who came there. I got such a blessing out of doing that. Many of them heard and/or read a good presentation of the Gospel. I pray that a good number among them will get saved. Would you please pray for that also?

  From the beginning of November, I only went to Karuizawa on Saturdays and the two Japanese national holidays in November, and will soon cease going for the entire winter. So always at the beginning of November, a large workload of various things has built up on me at home, which I tackle and slowly get some of it taken care of. Oh for more hours in each day and for more strength to do more.

  During November, I held as many evangelistic meetings as I could and attendance was fairly good compared to other recent services. I hold these meetings in various communities with different people attending each service. The highest attendance at any one service was 17 people. I know that is not very many, but it is not rare at all for me to schedule and announce a meeting and then have no one at all come to it. Therefore I greatly rejoice any time as many as a half a dozen or so, show up for the meeting. Most who attend are children. Only two adults came to the services in November.

  Each meeting is about an hour long, during which time we sing, then I preach to them a little and have a slide show that presents a Bible lesson. Also, I have them conduct a short service on their own, which mainly just consists of them reading the content from scripts I have prepared for that purpose. Those scripts consist of 6 parts for 6 different people; Bible reading, prayer, singing, a two part sermon, and finally an invitation. It is such a joy to me to watch them conduct their own evangelistic service and I give them copies of the scripts to keep and urge them to “have church” on their own. Please pray they will do that.

  I conduct just about all of my meetings in public community halls. This is the best way I have found here to hold meetings in a lot of different places. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to get permission to use these community halls. The people in charge of the halls tell me that they don’t want them used for religious purposes. During November, I was refused the use of a hall that I have used since 1980. It is in a very good location for conducting meetings & I greatly regretted getting kicked out of it after using it for 22 years. It is in the community of Isobe, Isobe 4th district community hall. Please pray that God will work a miracle and that the community leaders there will change their minds & let me use their hall again. Also, please pray that I will be able to continue using the 50 or more community halls that I have used up till now. This is an important prayer request, so I would really appreciate you praying about it.

  Starting in late October, I began again, distributing Christian literature, going from house to house, and leaving the literature at the door. By the end of November, I had gone to about 3,000 houses doing that and plan to distribute a lot more literature like that during the winter months, Lord willing. 

  Please pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully in the hearts of each and every Japanese person that I reach with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing will be accomplished without God working powerfully in the hearts of those who receive His Word. And He does that working in response to us interceding in prayer for them. I regularly pray for the Japanese as I preach to them and I would really appreciate you praying much for them also. Thank you so much for praying for them, and for praying for me as I preach to them. Please pray for God to put His Power upon my preaching. Pray for Him to give me a greater burden and more of a broken heart for these many lost Japanese around me. Pray for Him to give me more love and compassion for them. I need your prayers and I really appreciate you praying for me. God bless you for that.

  Several of you gave financial offerings to me during the fall. What a help that is to me and I appreciate that more than you can know. May God bless you for giving and repay you many fold over. I am praying for you, that God will keep you in the center of His Will and use you greatly to glorify Him each day of your life. Please pray that for me also. May God bless you in every way as you live for Him and serve Him.

                       Christ’s unprofitable servant,

                        Richard Yerby



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