What a year it has been for us. As we look back at what God has done through us and our church plant this year, it’s evident that his grace has been at work amongst us the whole time. Thank you to each and everyone one of you who prayed for and supported us this year. Here is a look back at 2017 and what’s in-store for us in 2018.
Just Getting Started
2017 was our first full year in Japan. The year started off rough as we struggled with loneliness and worry but through God’s grace, we were able to grow through it. We learned to be patient with each other and communicate better. We also grew in learning to show grace and love towards each other and our children. Whenever it was evident that we were believing a lie God was quick to speak to us through his word or brothers and sisters in Christ to remind us of our identity in himself. As a family, we were able to bless our neighbors in various ways and sow seeds of the gospel. We were given multiple opportunities to proclaim the truth about Jesus to our friends.
Despite difficulties and struggles in our marriage and family this year. We were able to see that God is using us here for his glory as we served his church together.
His Church On Mission
At our first ever staff retreat in January, we prayed that God would use our small church family at Soma Fuchu to make much of his name in our city. As we grew together, God gave us the opportunity to serve nearly 80 kids at what is now our annual English Camp. We also welcomed over 150 folks to our annual Christmas party where we were able to share the hope of Jesus with many for the first time. We multiplied from 3 missional communities to 5 in an effort to reach more of our city. Through these efforts, several folks in our communities began to put their faith in Jesus.
Beyond our city, God gave us the opportunity to equip fellow leaders throughout Japan to make disciples in the everyday stuff of life. We did this through two saturate events that we held in the spring and fall. Through the events, we shared our experiences as a church plant and taught how our missional communities enabled us to better reach the busy, overworked folks in our communities. As Japan lacks an abundance of gospel-centered resources, Megumi also began working on the first of a series of translations that we hope to publish in an effort equip the Christian community of Japan with more resources.
A Big Vision
As we look to 2018 as a church family, our vision is to see our church double. We hope to accomplish this by God’s grace through a focus on growing our MC’s and equipping them to be more effective on mission. We also aim to make our Sunday Gatherings more accessible by gathering in public spaces. We’ve been blessed by the support of partner churches over the past two years that have enabled us to have a space to grow intimately as a church family. Gathering in public space is the next step for our church to engage our city with the gospel.
We also have the vision to build off the momentum of our Saturate events in 2017 by providing coaching for those who are working to put into practice what they learned. We also desire to develop a program that will help raise up a new generation of leaders in Japan through the hands-on experience of serving in our church. To help our church accomplish this Drew will be taking on an executive role, overseeing the planning and execution of church gatherings, events, and other daily activities. I will also oversee the creation of our coaching network, immersive learning experience, and translation projects. We hope to publish our first project, the Saturate field guide in early 2018 and Megumi will begin her second translation then as well.
Our family vision for 2018 is also one of growth. We desire for our home to become a gospel lighthouse to our community. We recently launched a missional community, in our neighborhood, and our hope is to establish regular rhythms with our neighbors and invite them into our home as often as possible. We pray that God would give us the patience to listen to their stories and present the gospel to them when opportunities arise. Takumi will begin kindergarten in April which will provide us with new opportunities to meet even more neighbors. We pray that as we strive to parent our children with the gospel that even more opportunities to share the good news of Jesus would come. We are also praying for physical growth in our family. Over the years our hearts have been stirred towards adoption so in 2018 we want to begin taking steps to do just that.
Support Us in the New Year
We have been overwhelmed by your faithful generosity and continued prayers for us throughout the year. After a year on mission here in Tokyo, we’ve gained a better understanding of what finances look like for as a family on mission. In order to remain faithful to the work God is calling us to, we’ve realized that we’ll need to increase our funding for 2018. We will be seeking to raise an additional 2000 dollars in monthly reoccurring support to cover additional expenses and help establish an adoption fund. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with us to help us meet this goal in the new year? Thank you!