Long Overdue Blog Post

Anna, Mon 02 March 2020, Posts

Hello, everyone!

It looks like we’re long overdue for a blog post, so here we go!

From what I remember, Anna focused the last post on the three month trial we had for the English conversation group we started as an outreach in our church’s basement. During this time with the church members, I think we and many of the others in the group learned how to support each other and newcomers once we began to officially advertise the group. Thank you to everyone who prayed over this!

As Anna described, our conversation group has two sessions: one for English conversation and one for Bible reading. Both sessions are optional, with time provided for everyone to come or go according to their preferences or schedules. Still, most of the non-church members who have attended have stayed for the Bible portion as well, and this has resulted in many of them seeing and reading from the Bible for the first time. Some who have participated have expressed interest in the stories we’re reading (we’re now at the end of Joseph’s). One woman spent some time examining the Bible in front of her during our meeting and told the others at her table that the Bible was different from what she had thought. It was not from the East or from the West. She realized the words of the Bible come from a totally different time and place.

On that note, an unexpected praise we can share is that we were recently able to buy both easy-to-read Japanese and English Bibles to use at our group. For several months, April copied the lesson’s passages onto a paper with English and Japanese side-by-side. Then, to our surprise, we received a significant anonymous donation meant specifically for us to use at our own discretion for the needs of our group. We felt a heavy responsibility for this money, at first, because we weren’t sure how to use it. After holding onto the donation for a month or so, Anna had the thought to buy physical Bibles for everyone to use (and to take, if there is ever any interest). After seeing everyone open and use the new Bibles for the first time last month, we all agreed that there is something about reading a physical Bible that can impact people differently.

Our group typically has an attendance of around 15 people, including ourselves, but other times there have been more than 20. Of those people, the majority are either from our church or from area churches, although there are still usually a few non-Christians present each week. We estimate that around 20 non-Christians have come to the group since September. Of course we would love to have more people from the community involved on a consistent basis, but we know everything is up to God and in His timing.

On that note, the coronavirus has caused a bit of panic. At the prime minister’s behest, schools around the country decided to shut down for the time being. The decision has naturally affected people’s schedules and lives, but many groups and organizations have done the same, including our English group. You can help by praying Japan will be able to contain the virus well and that people here will remain calm. Once this has passed, we can continue to reach out to the community through our English group and through MICF events. Please pray that we would be able to offer both English and Bible lessons that people will enjoy and that those who attend would have ears to hear.

In Christ, Audra