Saturday, September 16, 2006

Newsletter September 16, 2006

As we sit here waiting for a typhoon to hit, I am reflecting on an awesome week we've had. God is really at work in so many ways. The last two weeks you've heard about the men, well this week God was working in the women.

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

Newsletter September 10, 2006

I am seeing God at work in so many ways around us. You all must really be praying for the men, because it was another Sunday of great stuff regarding some men.

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

Newsletter September 4, 2006

What an incredible Sunday we had yesterday. It was AMAZING! This newsletter is going to be long, but you won't want to miss a word of it! God is powerful and working many miracles.

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 about
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.
I 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?!

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,

The Ayatsuka's