Dear Family and Friends,
Before you read this blog, I encourage you to read the post entitled "Revelation 7:9" here: http://ronblough.blogspot.com/ (The live link is on the sidebar.)
Our time in Japan was truly awesome. We were very much humbled at everyone's display of love, hospitality, and generosity. We rejoiced over the young men who are now pastors of fine churches and the Christians who are continuing faithful in the Lord. People kept introducing themselves as our (spiritual) grandchildren. We were treated like royalty. Ron preached 13 or 14 times in six different churches in a 22 day period. Vicky and I got to speak at ladies' meetings and give our testimonies at church gatherings.
We had to keep reminding the people that it wasn't because of us--God had chosen them from before the beginning of the world. He would have saved them without us. But we are humbled that He allowed us to be His instruments. Anything that is accomplished in the kingdom is totally attributable to God's grace and His good pleasure. We are merely His earthen vessels carrying the treasure of the Gospel "that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" 2 Corinthians 4:7.
Hokkaido pastors Kiyokazu Honbo, Katsutoshi Kamidate, and Toyoharu Kamidate had often expressed their hope that sometime we could come visit their churches. They got together and arranged and financed the trip through the sacrificial gifts of their people. We were also privileged to visit Mino Mission in Yokkaichi, which also sacrificially gave to us. A special blessing was to have evangelistic meetings with Pastor Nakajima who had been led to the Lord and mentored by Pastor Honbo. Pastor Kamidate escorted us around Hokkaido stopping to meet missionaries in various cities. We admire their faithfulness and zeal.
The trip fulfilled the goal of these Japanese pastors--that we would be encouraged. That we were. I cannot express the overwhelming gratitude and satisfaction we experienced. We know that anything that was accomplished through our Japan ministry was solely the Lord's doings. "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake" Psalm 115:1.
Our ministry in Japan was at the Lord's bidding, at His time, to be used as He saw fit. We know that He could have used any other means for anything that was accomplished. "So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase...We are labourers together with God..." I Cor. 3:7, 9. There were those who sowed the seed and those who nurtured the sprouts, and at very stage--nothing but God's grace!
We left Japan with our bags bulging with thoughtful gifts and our hearts bursting, not only with praise and gratitude, but also with a renewed burden and determination to be more faithful in prayer.
Vicky was the photographer on our trip. She took most of the photos in the albums I have posted. We trust that viewing these photos will give you a burden to pray with us for the the furtherance of God's kingdom through the ministries of these missionaries and Japanese pastors.
A debtor to His marvelous grace,
You can view our photo albums here: http://picasaweb.google.com/mblough99829/ (The Live link is on the sidebar.)
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