CHRIST IS ALL
Winter (December 2020, January and February 2021)
Dear Friend in Christ,
I ended autumn’s letter because it was getting long. Here, I will give more news from Summer and Autumn 2020.
This past summer (2020), an American guy (likely in his late 30s, full of life and full of self, both resulting in him being full of wind/speech) was walking past the Rescue Mission with his Japanese wife, and came right in upon seeing the “Christian” atmosphere. He immediately opened his mouth with much long, self-centered speech. (I pity his wife, observing her resignfully putting up with that for the umpteenth time.) He spoke of being in church here in Japan (and such), tho not clearly saying he was a Christian. His bold self-confidence was regrettable to see. He triumphantly and confidently proclaimed, “President Trump will win in November and Covid will go away.”
I would like to meet up with him again now, in spring of 2021, and mention that triumphant speech of his to him. “...and have no confidence in the flesh.” (Phil. 3:3) May our Lord eradicate our confidence in our flesh. Let us serve our Great and Terrible God with fear and trembling, as He righteously pours out increasing Judgment (suffering and death) on this abominable, sin-sick end time generation.
On 3 November, I closed down the Karuizawa Rescue Mission till spring, Lord willing, fleeing that high mountain town before it becomes an icebox. For the remainder of November, I abode in my Matsuida house, preaching in churches in Gunma Prefecture and delivering Gospel seed from house to house in Gunma. I majored on going into the most remote rural and mountain hamlets within 12 miles or so of my house, finding several isolated hamlets in which I had never set foot. Typically, I parked my compact van beside the main highway to walk up the narrow, steep mountainside road from house to house in each cluster of houses.
Autumn colors were so lovely in small hamlets along mountain streams & such. The scenery was a blessing, but it left a hollow feeling seeing numerous quaint old fashion wood houses empty & collapsing in decay. The former owner dwellers are now in eternity. Their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren would never live in such isolated lovely nature, but are now within a stone’s throw of hamburger golden arches, convenient stores and such. “Couldn’t live without such.”
Thru out the perilous year of 2020, I have never before felt more victorious. I praise God for that. The End is ever so near. Our Heavenly Home is most close. Let us determine to let our lights shine as never before in this ever-darkening world. No doubt, but that increasingly perilous times lie ahead of us. Thus it behooves us to do as commanded in 1st Peter 4:1 to arm ourselves with the mind to suffer in the flesh, as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh. Amen!
Thru out the warm half of 2020, I had a rich time in the Rescue Mission in Karuizawa, sowing Gospel seed. One day, 4 Japanese men strolling by came boldly into this little storefront when they spied it, which is rare because Satan scares most people away. As they boldly looked around, I soon smelled alcohol on some, maybe all of them. That was one source of their boldness. One of them introduced himself to me as an Episcopalian who had been given the Christian name, “Paul”. He wanted and took several of the items that had Scriptures and prayers on them, desirous to give them to other people. Rarely does a person take just one. But he wanted several of each to give out. I gladly sent him away with 3 somewhat large bags full of Gospel seed. Pray for God to send more people like “Paul” (but without alcohol on their breath) who will take prayer items to distribute! Intercede for lost Japanese here, I beg you, please.
Thru out 2020, traveling in several southern states 3 months (February, March & April) then back here in Japan from May thru October, Our Lord continually poured well above average rainfall upon my waterlogged head, tending to make life gloomy. Glorious November turned into warm, sunny, balmy, calm, autumn days here in Gunma, Japan. Such Joy; much outdoor evangelism in that bright warmth! Thank Thee, Lord!
Thank you Givers for giving more to me during perilous 2020. I pray for our Lord to richly bless you and to repay you many fold. Lift up your heads, your redemption draweth nigh. Glory!
On Saturday 5 December 2020, I closed up my Matsuida house and rode sleek, speedy Bullet trains down to Mino Mission in Mie Prefecture . (It is SO relaxing and speedy to travel inside Japan by Bullet.) The next day, Sunday December 6 was a full and most blessed Lord’s Day for me. I left my room in Tomidahama Bible Church loft early to ride the trains thru old Japan to Oogaki Bible Church to preach in their 10:30 AM service. God powerfully spoke to us, praise God. As soon as the service ended, Brother Oohashi took me in his car to the train station to go by train to Brother Jeff Brigham’s church in Anjoo City.
Jeff has a Japanese language Sunday service at 10:30 AM, then he and his family eat their sandwiches in the small 2nd floor store space that he rents to use as a church, and then they have a 1:30 PM English language service. Most who attend this English language service are Filipinos who live in Japan. Usually a few Japanese attend who like English, and some Chinese often attend. It is a precious service. So, this afternoon I preach in it. Oh, these folks are so kind to me. I was most blessed. Pastor Jeff and family are most diligent. Pray for them!
Soon after that service ends, I ride 2 trains back to the Tomidahama Church to eat supper with a few church folks who remain there all afternoon, and then I preach at their 7 PM service. When I retire in their prophets’ chamber above the church, truly my cup runneth over with joy. I remain there the next day to catch my breath and to do outdoor preaching, praise God.
Then on Tuesday December 8, I ride the trains south to Ibusuki Ciy in Kagoshima Prefecture to The House Of Prayer that God has so graciously provided for me. I rejoiced to see that it was all safe (since I vacated it back in late January). The 8 prayers in 8 upstairs windows highly visible in large size print to all who enter and exit Nigatsuden Train Station right next door. Oh how I praise God for this highly visible location. Move lost souls, Lord!
I unlocked the door, thanked God that He kept the building safe (no damage from the strong typhoons this past summer), and prayed for Him to bless my time during this another stay in southern Japan. Two electrical circuit breakers had gone bad with age and would not stay on, resulting in no electricity to the majority of the rooms in this 2-story building. I call the electric company and ask them to recommend a local electrician to call on to fix that problem. Then I call the number of the electrician they recommended.
The lady in the office who answered my call was most accommodating; assuring me the electrician would come that afternoon, so as to fix me up (enlighten me) as soon as possible. I thanked her heartily. But a few minutes later, she called me back saying all the workers were extremely busy and that they could not help me. I suspect that when she passed the work order on to the electrician who was to come do the repair work, he well knew of my continual preaching and singing in my “front yard” right beside the station entrance, and of the large size prayers highly visible along my “frontage”, and thus he absolutely refused to come help me for all eternity. But I “tested” the lady by politely asking her to put my work order “at the end of the line” of their supposedly many work orders, and to tell me when to expect the repairman to come (tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or in 10 years). She replied that they were so busy that they can never help me (for all eternity). ‘Lord, have mercy on their sinful, wicked, rebellious souls to bring them to repentance and salvation, so they will not weep and wail and gnash their teeth for all eternity!’
I found another electrician who did not mind helping a Christian missionary. Please pray for his salvation also. He quickly replaced the 2 worn out circuit breakers, restoring full electrical power to House of Prayer.
“Lord, I beg Thee for a Fullness of Holy Ghost Power.”
I immediately started preaching in public this day I arrived, also passing out Gospel flyers that also invited people to come to my place for Bible teaching or English class.
During this stay, only 3 souls came unto me, the fewest ever in Ibusuki. Covid is one reason. Here, the Japanese are most cautious, cutting back on their going. Another BIG reason is that as I faithfully hold forth the word of life to them out in public, the devil that has enslaved them makes this missionary more and more repulsive to them with passing time. ‘Lord, set them free, I plead!’
The realtor thru whom I bought this building, 79 year-old Mr. Takuma, came for English class twice. Please pray for his salvation. All my other previous English students stayed far away.
In late December, as I was walking to the grocery store after dark, a 55 year-old Japanese lady, Hiromi, stopped me when she saw the prayer printed on the back of my jacket. She talked. I invited her to come for Bible. Two or 3 weeks later, she started coming in January and then came for Bible each week till I left (except for the 1 Sunday that I was away). From the 1st time she came, she listened intently to the Truth I taught. I spoke of Help, Hope, Victory and Joy in Christ. When I asked her to follow me in prayer, she willingly did so. I encouraged her to attend Ibusuki Church Sunday mornings. She readily started attending there and didn’t miss a Sunday AM church during the time I was in Ibusuki. Then she would come to my place Sunday afternoons. She steadily brightened as we stayed in the Word. Such a blessing to observe the change.
During my stay in Ibusuki City, I traveled about 60 miles away by train on a Saturday to a pastor friend to spend the night in his house and to attend his church the following day. I told him and his wife of Hiromi and asked if they would invite her to come on a Saturday evening to be in their church service the following Sunday. They heartily agreed, and she went there on March 6th to attend their church Sunday. the 7th. Fellowshipping with those good Christians did her much spiritual good. Please pray for steady spiritual growth for her.
I left Ibusuki before that, on Saturday Feb. 27, heading back northeast to Mino Mission. The next day, Feb. 28, I preached in the 10:30 AM service and 7 PM service in Tomidahama Bible Church. Rich blessed fellowship I had there. And I will end Winters News with that.
I pray for our Lord to richly bless you and reward you for caring, praying, and giving unto this missionary work.
Christ’s servant in Japan,
(Let’s sing that glorious hymn MORE ABOUT JESUS)
① More about Jesus would I see,
More of His Grace in you and me.
Loving our neighbor every day,
Helping the pilgrim on his way.
Chorus: More, More about Jesus.
More, More about Jesus
More of His Saving Fullness see
More of His Love Who died for me.
② More about Jesus would I learn,
Making my soul and spirit burn.
Filled so full of His Holy Ghost Power.
Living in Victory every hour.
③ More about Jesus would I preach,
To every lost soul within my reach.
Begging my Saviour as I pray,
To save them from Hell this very day.
④ More about Jesus would I hear,
Filling my heart with hope and cheer.
Listening for the trumpet sound,
Then I will be Heaven bound.
“Missionary Richard, what number is that song in my hymnal?”
‘It would be a vain search to look for that one in your hymnal.’