March 2021 Update for Mission To Japan
Mission Statement since 1993: Mission To Japan exists to share the gospel with Japanese people and to make disciples of those who come to faith in Christ.
Mission Fact: Less than 1% of Japanese are Christian, but many are open to learning about Christianity, especially when experiencing life abroad and encountering Christians there.
Here’s a quick update of some things going on with Yukari and me (Warren) and Mission To Japan.
Praying we'll be able to have our August 2021 homestay program
So much depends on the state of the coronavirus and the speed of the vaccines in both the U.S. and Japan. But we are optimistic about having our August homestay program at Mosaic Church in Winter Garden, FL. It seems most Americans (who would like the vaccine) can get it by the end of the summer. Japan is a couple months behind us. If a potential host family has their vaccine, would they be willing to host a Japanese student who hasn't been able to get his yet? Will travel between the U.S. and Japan open up in time? Will we be able to see a clear picture of how things will be in August by May, which is when we'll need to commit to potential participants? Will Japanese students be ready to travel (and will their parents let them)? These are the questions we hope to have answered as we get closer to May. We have had a couple of inquiries for the summer program already. I'll be meeting with the missions pastor of Mosaic next week to get his perspective.
It's been a year since we were affected by coronavirus
Last March 19th, we had to have our spring students go home 11 days early because of the covid outbreak. We thought everything would be back to normal by that summer. Little did we know! (Below: the 2020 March group that had to return to Japan early)
We continue to keep in touch with our Japanese students through Zoom meetings
Below are some Zoom reunion meetings including the spring 2016 group we talked to last week. This Saturday we'll be meeting with the 2019 Summer group.
Update on a couple Christian students
One of the girls Yukari has been doing a Bible study with over Zoom is Yuka (pictured below), who became a Christian a couple years ago. Yukari has been impressed with her spiritual growth and consistency with their online Bible studies, often going over two hours. She's been through a lot of challenges recently but has been consistently growing and learning as a Christian. Recently Yuka got a very high score on an English achievement test, and perfect on the listening portion! We're so proud of her! She graduates from her college in Japan this week.
Seiga (pictured below), who also became a Christian a couple years ago, has gotten very busy recently with job hunting. One of our friends following up with him was a little concerned that he isn't in a church community group now although he is attending church online. So I've been reaching out to him online to see how he's doing and how I can pray for him. He recently wrote me back with a very kind and encouraging message: (translated from Japanese) "I am so thankful that through meeting you Warren, I could become a Christian and through Christ I could make other very special friends too. And I think it's really wonderful that by God's plan, I could get a glimpse of Christ through you Warren." Wow! I am humbled and hope to live up to that! I'm encouraged by this message which is an indication of his faith and gratitude toward the Lord.
Pressing on with Japanese study
Between various projects, I'm very thankful for some time to continue improving my Japanese, which I usually don't have much time to do. The Japanese language is considered by many to be one of the most difficult languages in the world for English speakers. Almost 30 years ago, I went to language school in Japan for 9 months and attempted the highest level Japanese test for foreigners (the school required it). I came within 11 points of passing! Though I've maintained a basic level, I've always wanted the time to improve. It's a lot of work memorizing, reviewing, and cramming so many words and phrases in my head, but I think it's worth it to be able to communicate better with Japanese people, especially when it comes to communicating the gospel. 主に栄光がありますように (to God be the glory).
Next board of advisors meeting
Our next board of advisors meeting is scheduled for April 19th. As usual, we'll go over Mission To Japan's financial information. We are so thankful that we have been sustained financially through this crazy time when we haven't been able to have our regular programs. We've gotten some financial help from the government relief aid, but mainly it's the faithful supporters of Mission To Japan that have kept us afloat. Thank you to all of you who have supported us in prayer and/or financially! We thank the Lord for his provisions through you!
We appreciate your prayers. Please pray:
that we’ll be able to have our August homestay program
for Yuka and Seiga to continue to grow in their faith
for wisdom to navigate this challenging period
Again, thank you so much for your prayers and support! Let us know how we can be praying for you too.
Warren and Yukari Griffith
Mission To Japan
4551 Jona Free Ln #108
Kissimmee, FL 34746
Contributions to Mission To Japan (a 501(c)3 non-profit) are tax deductible.
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Thank you for your prayers and partnership for reaching Japan!