Monday, November 23, 2009

November 24, 2009

How is it possible that it has been so long since my last update! I'm sorry to have left you all hanging!

Our fall schedule has been filled with lots of basic ministry activity and a few concert engagements. We had one ten day trip to Hokkaido (the most northern part of Japan) and were very blessed in three cities there! What a privilege it is to get to do what God has called us to do here.

As the Christmas season approaches we are preparing for a few exciting events.

In early December every year, many churches from around our city gather for a Christmas worship and celebration. This year Rocky has been working with that committee again and we are ready for a wonderful two hour event taking place on the 6th. Please pray that this event would reach out to unbelievers in the city, and they can learn the true meaning of Christmas!

The day before the city Christmas worship, we will have our annual English Circle Christmas Party. Last year was a wonderful party for my Saturday children's English class. This year we pray it will once again be a wonderful time of games, songs, crafts and the Christmas story for these children and their families who attend. Please pray with us!

The main goal of our English Circle is not to learn English but to expose them to the Bible! Through the class a mother's Bible study has also begun and I am excited about teaching these mother's the Word of God. It is so fun and refreshing to discuss the Bible with these women who have never learned about this God before. Their perspectives are fresh and interesting. It is evident that God is working in their hearts. Pray for these women as I and my English Circle ministry partner meet with them on a monthly basis.

Rocky is hard at work on the finishing touches for his second acoustic album with Shuhey, who many of you met in the Spring/Summer of 2008 when we were last in the states! The album is expected to be released in January. Pray with us that God would use each and every CD to minister to the people who hear it.

Regarding Kai's adoption proceedings, we are waiting on further notice from the family court system. We have been interviewed and there are a few more steps left in the process. All of which are completely out of our control! We have no idea how long it will all take but we are praying that the process will be finished quickly! As soon as that is all done, we will be planning a trip back to the states for you all to meet him and for support raising! We can't wait to see you all, so please pray for a quick resolution to the whole process!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Newsletter August 2009

Hello from hot and muggy Japan!

What a summer we have had. July was busy busy busy busy busy! I mean sooooooooooooo busy!

We so enjoyed having CMA with us again, and you can enjoy details of from their mission log. Entry #3, #4, and #5 are all about their time in Kitakyushu. The impact the Lord makes through them continues to resonate year after year. He plants many seeds through their beautiful dance and awesome testimony. You will enjoy reading all about them on their blog!

We also had the privilege of being the guest speakers at Seinan Jo Gakuin's Jr. High and High School Summer Bible camp again. It is always a great opportunity to spend time with these students in a smaller group. We speak at their chapel services about 6 times a year but meeting them and spending time with them in person like this is priceless. We continue to pray that the Lord plants and waters seeds in their hearts during their years at this Christian school! Here are some pictures of summer camp...

Making our way to the beach for some fun in the sun! We also got to watch a solar eclipse on this day! It was awesome to see God's creation do such a neat "trick"!

The perfect afternoon snack on the beach, mmmmmmmmmmmmm

The last day of camp ends with a bon fire. This is always a great time for the group to reflect on the two days we've spent looking into God's word! Pray that Rocky's message of salvation will come to mind often and give them a thirst to know this God more!

This picture represents what August has been like for us! FUN! Lots of well deserved rest and family time! We spent a day this last week at the local water park. It was a blast for the whole family, as you can see...

It has never happened before, but August was a slow month for us and we really needed the rest. It has been a whirlwind year, with a new infant thrown into the mix of our already busy ministry life! Kai is such a blessing and fills our days with laughter and joy, just like his big sister! Please also remember Kai's adoption in your prayers. All of the paperwork should was finalized today and once our adoption agency approves it, we will officially file it with the Family Court. From there the rest of the process takes at least six months. Pray that all goes smoothly!

We are spending the rest of this month preparing for ministry to start up full force again very soon. Also, Hana will begin home school kindergarten (which you can also pray for) as Mommy and Hana (and sometimes Daddy too) embark on this incredible adventure together!

Hana turns 5 this Saturday! How is it possible that she is already five!? I don't know, but we are so thankful for this thoughtful, helpful, fun loving little girl! She is an incredible blessing!

We'd love to hear from you! Please drop us a line or leave a comment here on the blog! Blessings from the Ayatsuka's...

Rocky, Marla, Hana (5 this week) and Kai (7 months)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Newsletter May 2009

Hello from Japan everyone! It seems like time is totally getting away from me. I could not believe when I saw I haven't posted an update since February! With Kai's two hospitalizations and all our normal ministry and life in between, it has been a whirlwind!

Thank you for all your prayers for Kai. He is doing well now, and a detailed update can be found here on Mommy's blog.

We had a ten day tour to Nagoya in April that was an incredible blessing. The 12 hour drive up and back were quite an adventure and the Lord blessed us with safe and fairly smooth travel, even with an infant! In Nagoya we did 12 events in 8 days. We were so blessed to meet lots of new people, make new connections with several new churches and connect with some friends and fellowships we knew from before! We are so thankful for these opportunities to serve God on tour!!!

May has been busy with regular ministry! We seem to have had a lot of chapel services to speak in and lots of Bible studies this month. English classes continue to go well and are such a blessing. We really enjoy the chance to build relationships with these students and look forward to watching God work in their hearts and lives.

Prayer requests and praises...
1. For Kai's healing, health and safety. His kidney is at risk for infection and he seems be especially susceptible to respiratory issues. The good news is that his chest is totally clear right now, his urine test today was perfect and he doesn't have to go back for regular follow up visits anymore!

2. Pray for stamina as our ministry schedule seems especially full right now!

3. Pray for the time to take care of administrative details for ministry!

4. Pray for Jesus to shine through us in each chapel, Bible study, English class and concert!

Some pics to enjoy from our recent Spring cleaning day at church...

Everyone got in on the action...

It is amazing each Sunday to look around and see that our church is filled with MEN! A rare sight until recently. I would venture to say that at times the men even outnumber the women! Praise God!

And there is an ever increasing population of international students in our church. On a given Sunday it is now VERY normal to hear conversations going on in at least FOUR languages around the church! Praise God! Pray for students who are attending that are not yet believers and are seeking. Some of whom do not enjoy the freedom to learn about and worship God back at home!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Newsletter February 23, 2009

Spring is in the air in Japan!

So much is going on in our lives, in ministry and personally, we apologize for the sporatic newsletters. There is so much to tell you about all that God is doing.

In January my small English Circle group started a Bible study for mothers. We are meeting just once a month for now, on a weekday while children are at preschool. So far two women have attended both times, and they both are really enjoying the Bible study. At our first meeting I shared my testimony, and one of the women shared with me how she too has faced infertility. She confessed she is searching for that peace I talked about and I told her I think she's going to find it here!!! At our second meeting we began to talk about "Who is God?" I let the ladies share their ideas about God and then we compared them to what the Bible says. When we looked at Psalm 139 to see that He is a God that created us and knows us intimately, there were tears! They were so touched to find out how much God cares for them. At our last meeting 3 other mothers were planning to attend but sick children and other obstacles kept them away. Please pray for future meetings and for the hearts of these ladies!

I also teach a mother's Bible study at one of the private kindergartens where I teach English to the kids. That group has been meeting monthly for the past year and several of the ladies have really responded to what they are learning about the Bible. The group is consistently about 10 women! We will have our last meeting for this school year next month (the Japanese school year ends in March). Some of the children will graduate and these mothers will no longer be active at the kindergarten. I am praying about a way to continue to teach them the Bible and minister to them even after their children have moved on to elementary school! Please pray for these women as well.

Our church is also going through a lot of change, and some wonderful things are happening. We have called a Japanese pastor who will move here and begin ministering in our church at the beginning of April. We are so looking forward to getting to know him, and ministering with him! One sad note however, at the end of March all of the missionary presence in our church will be gone! Our volunteer couple, Nick and Angie Carter, who have been ministering here for 2 years will be returning to America. Rocky and I will take over their English classes on Thursday and Fridays, to continue that outreach which has built this church. Church cafe is also going strong. I am handing over the managerial position of cafe to another church member as we take over the English minsitry and it is so exciting to see all our church members active and excited about doing ministry! Please pray as all this transition takes place! We are on the edge of our seats with excitment concerning what the future holds. It feels like big things are in store for our church's future!!! Also pray for Nick and Angie as they prepare for all that making an overseas move involves, and for all the resettling in America entails! Pray especially for a job for Nick!!!

Our concert calendar is beginning to fill up for this year! Praise the Lord, our family has adjusted quite well to its newest member and we are looking forward to ministering as a family of four this year! If you happened to miss that news, please check out the announcement here. We are still amazed at God's incredible grace and mercy!!!

We would love to hear from each of you. Please leave us a comment here on the blog or drop us an email! Many blessings!

The Ayatsuka's
Rocky, Marla, Hana and Kai

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pictures of Kai...

Check him out!

** Edited to add the following **

For privacy and protection Kai's blog has been set to private for the time being. If you'd like access just drop me an email and I'll add you to the list of allowed readers. Thanks!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Newsletter January 15, 2009

Happy New Year everyone!

We have awesome news. Our new year started out fairly normal but all that changed yesterday morning. We woke up a little family of three and by noon we were a family of four! We are getting a baby boy! His name is Kai!

We have been on a waiting list for exactly two years and we were about to decide that God might not intend for us to get another. Shock is just about the only way I know to describe the feeling when we got that call.

We are excited, but have had only two days to prepare, so it has been a whirlwind. He arrives tomorrow around 5pm Japan time (Friday, 16th). We will be in touch with news and pictures soon, and a new blog especially for Kai.

We appreciate your prayers for this transition. Hana is excited, but will surely face a lot of adjustment in the next days and weeks. We have a normal busy schedule of Bible studies, English classes, concerts, chapels, etc. So please pray for us!

Many blessings!
Rocky, Marla, Hana and Kai