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,