Saturday, November 25, 2006
Many of you know about our monthly bilingual worship meeting called Afureru! It has been such a blessing to watch it grow and be used by God! We have always known it would be used to encourage Christian to grow in their faith and share the Gospel with non-believers. We recently have been excited to watch God use it to build a network of churches in our city, allowing pastors and church bodies to worship together. But this week, God showed us He can use it in another big way too!
Recnetly one young girl, who is the daughter of the leaders of one church in the Afureru! network, has been deeply affected by watching the leadership of Afureru!. She watched this summer as the CMA team worked hard along with our staff to put on so many ministry events. She has been attending Afureru! worship and witnessing how the praise team and other staff so enthusiastically give their time and talents to be used by God. She now wants to use her time and talents for the Lord as well. She has decided, upon graduating for High School, she wants to attend a 6 month ministry leadership training school in Hawaii and prayer about the direction she wants to go with her life from there. She is so excited and her parents are excited for her too.
I know God uses Afureru! in big ways, and now He is using it to call others into ministry! Pray that God continues to work in big ways through all that we do!
Monday, November 13, 2006
Rocky is always building on the equipment he has in his studio. There are always new things becoming available and he tries hard to get only what he needs at reasonable prices. His next project looks like it will likely be an acoustic album of hymns and maybe some praise songs. He will play with another very talented guitarist and close friend of ours, Shuhei. In order to do this kind of recording they needed a portable recording system. Rocky was looking at a specific mixer that has all the "stuff" he needs, and we were about to make that purchase. Then this morning he was talking on the phone with a friend in our neighboring city. This guy has a lot of studio equipment. Rocky just jokingly mentioned, "If you have something laying around that you don't need, loan it to me and I will use it." And the guys says that he just so happens to have a mixer that he isn't using, it is brand new and really good. He starts describing it to Rocky and it is the exact mixer that Rocky was wanting. We are going to do a concert in that city tomorrow and the guy is going to bring it to him and basically indefinitely loan this to us for FREE!!! TOMORROW!!!!!! God is so awesome!
I told Rocky that he has to get to work NOW on this CD then, cause I want to hear it myself as soon as possible. You all are going to love it too, it will be totally accoustic, so no language barriers there! Please pray for this project, that God will bless it and bless Rocky and Shuhei as they practice and prepare. They are meeting weekly to practice because they want to record each song together, live so that it sounds as natural and live as you can get!
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Thanks so much for all your prayers and support. God continues to be at work here all around us.
We are so excited about the growth in our church! One more person is preparing for Baptism. One long time attender is finally moving his membership to our church after he was recently able to tell his parents of his faith in God (this is sometimes a difficult thing for believers in Japan and this was a very big step for this young man). Now, this week, a college student who has been attending for some time has expressed she wants to be baptized. Please pray for leaders as they determine where her heart is in her belief in Jesus!
Pray for Rocky's CD recording projects. He has been asked to do so many things and we also want to get to recording our own next album. Please pray for decision making, timing and all the details involved with CD production!
Thanks for your prayers!
With Love from Japan
Monday, October 23, 2006
I had my second mother's Bible study. This time, because of another kindergarten event that was underway, I only had two in attendance. But two ladies who missed it want to meet some other time to go over the material they missed!
There are a TON of other things going on. I believe however, the one I want to ask you to pray for is both personal and ministry related. It is about schooling children.
For many reason, Rocky and I have been praying about and considering homeschooling our children for some time. We feel strongly led NOT to educate our children in the public or private school system in Japan. We have been pleased to find there are a few others in our network of friends who also wish for an alternative. One couple in particular is very serious about "group homeschooling" OR even forming a "church school" where we educate our children together in a church setting on weekdays and welcome other children to the school. These church schools are becoming more and more popular in Japan.
Today we visited a church school in our neighboring city. We spent a couple hours asking a ton of questions and listening to our friend, the founder and director's reasons for starting the school for her children. We were very inspired and also overwhelmed! There is so much to consider, but this could be a HUGE thing for the lives of our children and possibly others whose faith, family relationships and more may otherwise be destroyed by "traditional" schooling.
We have SO MUCH to pray about and to consider. We want to do this, IF and ONLY IF it is God's will. Would you pray for us as we begin to pray and seek God's direction! This of course is many years down the road, but we agree to begin now seeking God's guidance. Thank you for praying!
Rocky, Marla and Hana
Saturday, September 16, 2006
I, Marla, teach a mother's Bible study at a private kindergarten I've been connected with for years. I also teach English to the kids there. Until now the Bible study has been infrequent and inconsistent in its members. But the last two meetings have been the same group of women really interested in the Bible, and they really love the study. They are full of questions and can't wait until our next meeting. The kindergarten has also decided to have the Bible study every month instead of 4 or 5 times a year. I am so excited about the opportunity to meet with and teach these women more often.
At the same time, the kindergarten has a once a week morning preschool for 2 & 3 year olds. Three of the mothers in my Bible class have children in the preschool class, and they were begging Hana and I to join. I could see these women on a weekly basis, not just once a month at the Bible study.
I am really feeling called to minister to these ladies. Pray for their hearts as they search for God! Pray for me as I try to convey His truths to them IN Japanese! This could be the beginning of a really amazing ministry to mothers!!!
Sunday, September 10, 2006
First of all thanks for praying for Mr. Koga and for your many responses to the newsletter. He will be hospitalized this week, and please pray for preparations for his surgery, as they map the brain, and the tumor, etc.
This evening we had a neat family over for dinner. One new church member, baptized this last Spring is Naomi. She and her Dad, her older sister, and older sister's fiance all came over for dinner tonight. We had such a great time of conversation. God gave Rocky and I many, MANY opportunities to talk about our faith, the journey God has brought us on, and our walk with the Lord. I was especially struck by the father. You might recall that I noticed at Naomi's baptism that he cried through her testimony and baptism and seemed so genuinely happy for her. Well this evening he was such a blessing to get to know, he seemed so open and attentive to all the was said about our faith. And the most striking of all, Hana crawled right up in his lap and sat with him for a while. She loved him, and she is a great judge of character, she always knows a sweetheart right away. Please continue to pray for chances to minister to this family. They want to have us over to their home in return. I look forward to really getting to know them more.
We also had a couple visiting in church this morning for the second time. The husband was bold enough to share with the group during family time, that he is extremely shy and usually not good in groups but he wants to know more about the Bible and about God and wants to come to church as much as possible! I was amazed at such candid honesty from a Japanese man. Please pray for he and his wife to continue to be faithful in attending and to believe!
Keep praying for Japanese men! Our prayers are being answered.
Marla, Rocky and Hana
Monday, September 04, 2006
Many of you have been following our newsletter for years and know our heart for Japanese men to respond to the Gospel. You may especially remember our asking on occasion for you to pray for the husbands of our church members. We were overjoyed at the baptism of the husband of a church member this last spring, and it seems that was just the beginning of what God is doing.
This Sunday morning there was a baptism, one that we didn't know we would be having until late this last week. It was the baptism of Mr. Koga, the husband one of the first members of our church. For more than 10 years he has been attending church as well. Even when his wife can not come, he is in attendance. All of us have wondered over the years where his heart is and what he believes, but no one could seem to get an answer from him though several have tried. He has got to be the quietest person I have ever seen and I wondered if he would ever find the courage to make a profession of faith.
Well Mr. Koga found the courage last week, when he was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor. In his testimony before baptism he told the church that he believed in his heart something like 12 years ago but could never find it in himself to make a profession of faith. He was afraid to lose himself, if he became a Christian. When he was told he had this brain tumor he decided he had nothing left to lose. He could do nothing else but give himself to God and let God take over! There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Mr. Koga's prognosis is very serious and yet on Sunday morning I sat before a man filled with genuine joy and peace. He said he can not explain the peace he is feeling except for it comes from God. And during family time at worship later yesterday morning he said, "I plan to be very open about my condition and what is happening to me. Please stick around and watch and see God be glorified!"
Earlier this week Mr. Koga picked up a Bible and the verse that he stumbled onto was Luke 12:22-31 , which was read at his baptism...
22Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry aboutI was humbled and filled with praise! Mr. Koga's conversion is powerful and will be far reaching in its impact. It already has been. Yesterday at his baptism, many miracles happened, there were people there who haven't been to church in years. THREE unsaved husbands attended the baptism. There were also people in the room who haven't spoken to each other in years as well. And Mr. Koga's son, sat in the back quietly crying through his father's testimony and baptism. What must God be doing in his heart?!
your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23Life is
more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do
not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how
much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single
hour to his life[b]?
26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell
you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If
that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and
tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of
little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not
worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your
Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will
be given to you as well.
Will you continue to pray. Mr. Koga will be having surgery on the 19th. The tumor is in his cerebellum, and is already having an effect on his speech, thought process and motor skills. His condition is deteriorating daily. Removing the tumor could leave him with disabilities, and surgery of such a serious nature is always risky. Also please pray for his 3 children, and his parents, that God would work in their lives through all of this! And also lift up Mrs. Koga, who is of course overjoyed with us at the long awaited salvation of her husband, but must be filled with so many emotions facing such uncertainty in the future.
We can not wait to see what miracles God has in store, and we will keep you posted.
Glory to God,
Saturday, July 29, 2006
So we would appreciate your prayers! CMA has already had a two day dance workshop and yesterday had a full concert in the evening. Tonight they will have a purity seminar for girls. They will also do a 3 day Vacation Bible School, another purity seminar and perform on Sunday morning at 3 different churches over this next week. They are doing awesome! You can see tons of pics here... www.afureru.org/blog
More pics and news to come, but God is blessing this ministry and we are so amazed.
By the way, our trip to the states was AWESOME and God provided some major new funds for our ministry! Thank you, and please continue to pray about whether God might lead you to support Aroma Ministries on a monthly basis. We are still in need of monthly support and in need of giving for a special fund for Rocky's recording studio!!!
I'll give a more detailed report later, for now I have to run! OH and I almost forgot, Robynn is here too, serving and helping in a HUGE way, send a big prayer of thanks for her also!!!!!
With love from Japan,
Marla, Rocky and Hana
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
We are in Granbury, Texas right now just outside of Ft. Worth staying with my brother and his family. Saturday and Sunday we were so blessed to sing and speak at a Japanese church in Dallas! It was so interesting to me to be IN Dallas, but surrounded by Japanese people and speaking Japanese. It has been two weeks since we spoke Japanese, Rocky and I both felt strange and a little rusty! It was an awesome time of fellowship with that church and we met many college students also. God does great things in the lives of Japanese people when they come to America (or go abroad).
Later this week and next week we will be in churches in and around Lubbock, Texas. Then we are on to Oregon on July 10th. We look forward to seeing many of you soon. Please continue to pray for safety, health and blessings on our fundraising.
I will be updating some photos on Hana's blog today too if you want to see what she has been up to!
Love from Texas,
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Rocky is almost finished with the mixing and mastering of Ai's CD! It sounds GREAT. Now it is up to her to finish the cover and get it ready for printing. Rocky will be immediately back in the studio with another project as soon as we get back from the States. He's such a busy guy!
Please pray for our trip to the States. Some specifics would be...
- Safe and uneventful travel. We seem to always have something crazy happen to us in airports, AND now we are traveling with a 21-month old too.
- New churches and individuals that want to support Aroma Ministries! We are BELOW our monthly budget needs in support and would like to bring the amount of consistent monthly giving back up to at least meet our monthly budget needs.
- That God would use us to minister to those who are needing it now.
- For quality time with family and friends.
- For Hana to cope well with all the changes and adjust easily. Oh and that she won't get too spoiled by all the "pampering" she will get when she is there :) (Must be nice to be the youngest in the family and spoiled rotten - oh, I almost forgot, I should know! hehehe)
- For the last minute preparation before we leave.
Our schedule is as follows (so far)... some items are still pending, check back for specifics later
June 12 leave Japan, arrive in Lubbock around 7pm
June 18 lead worship at FollowThru Fellowship, Littlefield, TX
June 23-24 Georgetown, TX
June 25 Possibly singing in a Japanese Church in Dallas
June 26-27 Granbury, TX
June 28 DeLeon, TX
June 29 back to Littlefield
Littlefield FBC, Littlefield Temple of Adoration, Littlefield FollowThru Fellowship, Lubbock Chuch at the Barn, and possibly Springlake Baptist Church, etc. will be having us in their worship in these days, contact us for specific dates.
July 10 Portland, OR
July 17 back to Japan
We hope to see you if we are going to somewhere near you! PLEASE email us so we can get together.
We have daily activities right up until we leave. On Sunday we have TWO concerts out of town, and then we leave Monday morning! Pray for these ministry activities to be filled with God's work and blessing also.
While we are in the states, I will be updating this blog regularly. Check back often! We appreciate your prayers, especially that God would send new supporters!
Rocky, Marla and Hana
Sunday, May 28, 2006
We are so crazy, crazy busy! We had a guest here for three days doing concerts, Hiroshi Yoneda. It was great, pray for God to work in the hearts of those who attended concerts and those who took home CD's and will continue to be ministered to through his music. Here is a GREAT shot of Yoneda-san and Rocky playing at our church's cafe on Friday night.
Tomorrow (Sunday in Japan) we have an a.m. concert and then Afureru! worship in the afternoon. It will prove to be yet another hectic day. But we know God will work, thank you for your prayers. Please pray for Hana, this busy schedule is starting to take its toll on her, she needs some more sleep and some time with Mommy and Daddy! That is coming on Monday, but pray for her to handle tomorrow OK.
We are planning a trip back to the States June 12 - July 17. We will be in Texas (for about 3 weeks) and Oregon (for the last 6 days). I am still working on the schedule, this trip has kind of snuck up on me and we are waiting on family members to finalize plans and so forth too. I will post our schedule as soon as I get it worked out. If you are interested in having us at your church, please drop us an email!!!
Pray for Rocky, he is finishing up Ai's CD, and trying to get a million other things done before we leave in two weeks!
Thanks soooooooooo much for your prayers and love and we can't wait to see many of you VERY soon!
Love from Japan,
Rocky, Marla and Hana
Monday, May 08, 2006
Weekend concerts in Yamaguchi...
A week long holiday and family...
Monday, April 24, 2006
Today was all for testimonies. We do this special kind of Afureru! about once or twice a year. It is always a blessing to hear about the work God is doing in peoples lives. I wish I could give you detailed versions of all the temionies shared, but I was too busy chasing around a 20 month old. Just know that God is doing great work!
Love from Japan,
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Today at our church two people were baptized. Easter is the perfect Sunday for a baptism and it was so special that these two new believers had family and friends present to witness their baptism, many of whom have never been in church before. But today they heard and saw an illustration of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ throughout the service. It was so moving, I've been crying all day.
In our church here in Japan, on baptism Sunday, those being baptized share their testimony before the entire church during the worship service and then immediately after worship we have baptism. Today both testimonies were so touching!
Ken, the husband of one church member told of how he thought it was right to make it through life on your own strength and work hard. When his wife and children started attending church he was worried she might be getting into some strange cult. But then he was bombarded DAILY with stories about church from his wife and kids and eventually he wanted to see what this place was all about. He slowly began coming to events and then at one point just knew he wanted to make Jesus his Savior. He boldly stated at the end of his testimony that he wants to walk with Christ and be a witness from now on! WOW!!!
Naomi, a young lady whose been coming to church for a while now shared how she'd lost her mother to cancer. In Jesus Christ she found healing from the loss and from unforgiveness in her heart. I sat down the aisle from her father and watched as he cried through her testimony and then cried as he watched her being baptized! How amazing to watch a grown Japanese man cry like that. You could see the respect and love he had for his daughter in his eyes. I don't know for sure, but I imagine this was his first time in a church and possibly his first time to clearly hear the Gospel. Naomi's sister was there as well and was equally moved.
As I have thought about the power of Christ to change lives today, I've been unable to keep the tears from flowing. What a beautiful way to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord today. New life was abundant in our church this morning! Will you pray for those unbelievers who were there today. Pray that they will want to experience new life in Christ for themselves! And pray for all the believers, old and new that we would share the Gospel and more would come!!!
Praising Jesus because He LIVES!!!!!!!!!
Rocky, Marla and Hana
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Thought you might like to see Rocky and Ai while they are in action upstairs in the studio! Things are moving along well. Ai will be here until the coming Wednesday! She is feeling a little like a cold is coming on, so please send up a prayer for her!
Ai will be getting married early next month! We are excited for her and praying God will use this CD to provide for her and her new husband, and give them a way to minister to many Japanese!
Friday, April 07, 2006
By the way, we brought a karaoke machine too! His name is Rocky!!! haha
Hana's favorite part was the SLIDE!
Thursday, April 06, 2006
A BIG PRAISE!!!
This company just keeps on growing on me! I got in only to help out Mom. My interest was peaked when we were in the states last year, and NOW I am a believer. Because of what happened today...
The products at CyberWize are amazing. I would have never known about this stuff if I hadn't been a part of this company. Tunguska Blast is so wonderful. I could go on and on about the benefits we see from it, and that our family and clients are seeing. But today it is another product that totally amazed me...
PSP+, is a Glyconutrient and it is supposed to help the body heal itself. Well a little over a month ago, Rocky had an eye check up and it was found that his eye pressure was pretty high. borderline I think they called it at 21. This was concerning because Rocky's brother lost his eye site to glaucoma, where the eye can't regulate it's internal pressure properly. Rocky had also been having headaches around his functioning eye pretty often. He started taking PSP not long after that, and today at his appointment his eye pressure was down to 16, well within normal range. AND he realize he has not been having headaches. You can not imagine how relieved I was.
I LOVE this company. It is helping us provide financially for our future and helping us get healthy, plus we get to help others to do the same. But it very well could be preserving my husband sight, and that is priceless!
Today was a GREAT day!
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Praise God for all the amazing things he is doing around us, and for the many gifts he gives! I am especially thankful for Spring! It is so beautiful here in Japan, and the cherry blossoms are in full bloom this week.
News on the ministry front...
- CMA is coming back to Japan!
- Robynn is coming back to Japan!
- Baptisms and new people at church!
- Gospel Kitakyushu, internet radio ministry
- CD production
- You may remember that we had an incredible ministry of dancers come and do a concert last summer. CMA (Celebration Ministry of Arts) will be coming to Kitakyushu again this summer and we are so excited. This year, they will stay with us longer, and we plan to have a ministry dance workshop, a concert and a worship meeting for girls where the CMA team shares about "Purity". It is sure to be an incredible week, as last years concert was a huge hit! Check out this ministry's website... magnifythelord.org
- My wonderful cousin Robynn will be back to spend time with us this coming summer also! She has a huge heart for missions to Japan and has been studying Japanese at University. We can't wait to have her here and toss her out there and see how much her Japanese has improved! ; )
- Our church is doing so well right now. We have two baptisms coming up on Easter Sunday! One of those is the husband of a member, a first for our church and HUGE Praise! Pray that more husbands come to know Christ. How beautiful it is to see a FAMILY sitting in church together these days (other than our own of course, and the missionary couple that is planting our church). Also this past Sunday Rocky and I were overjoyed to pick up 3 young ladies and give them a ride to church. One young lady heard about us in New Zealand and is now living here in Kitakyushu and made contact with us through email. One other young lady is friends with a missionary couple who visited our church's cafe last week. She was at cafe to see them, and we offered to bring her to church anytime. We were so pleased to get a call from her asking us to come and get her, and telling us she was bringing a friend (pictured above left)! Pray that all of these young ladies continue to come and seek the Lord!
- Rocky and two other pastors are hard at work recording monthly talk shows and various other radio shows for their online internet radio ministry called Gospel Kitakyushu. Check it out if you want to at goskita.net
- And finally Rocky is in the studio beginning this week with Ai, a young Christian from our neighboring prefecture. Ai has written many of her own songs, and plays the piano! Pray for them as they record and for the Cd project as a whole! What an incredible blessing that we get to help young artists make their albums like this!
Hana has a blog too... www.hanas-place.blogspot.com New pictures from Cherry Blossoms this week!
Check back here often for news of our ministry and just stuff about us! We'll keep in touch...
Marla, Rocky and Hana
These days it seems inevitable that if you are on the internet, you need a blog! So we have a blog now. This is where we'll post news and updates about us and the ministry. Hopefully you may find it more convenient than the email newsletter we send out, or our regular website, although we will still keep both of those active as well! So feel free to bookmark this and check back often. I will keep it updated regularly!