Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.
II Thessalonians 3:1
These verses make an appeal for prayer to a local church on Paul’s behalf to be intercessors in the battle of seeking souls for Christ. Like in Paul’s day, there is today a battle that you can help win on the mission field by praying for us in the same way. Every day we meet men and women that do not have faith for their eyes are darkened. Therefore, they are unreasonable to the truth of the scriptures and would rather follow superstitions and age-old customs. They are wicked in their souls and actions and turn away from the Light of the Gospel. Only the Word of God can penetrate those kinds of oppositions and your prayers are needed to do that. “Brethren pray for us.”
September seemed to slip by in a flash and we are not sure where the month went. A few extra events allowed us to be out and amongst the people for which we are always grateful. The Japanese will not come easily to your home even when invited over and over. We will always have the distinction of being ‘foreign’ and being of a different religion so they will want to keep their distance unless they get to know us well. Even then it can be hard to meet us on ‘our turf’ if you will. So as much as possible we go to them.
Two events were particular to our section of town and were gatherings for those that live in ‘2 Chome’. That is a part of our address so are welcome to attend. The first one was a BBQ –Japanese style—with fish, thin sliced beef and pork, onions, green peppers, bean sprouts, squid, and fried noodles. With various ones gather that we normally do not see on an average day it is one more opportunity to visit with people. Even there it can be challenging to get them to include us in the conversation but we will keep on keeping on.
The other opportunity that arose again had to do with the 2 Chome group but this time with just ladies. This was the first time they held something like this at a time Vicki could attend part of it at least so enjoyed lunch and a game time with the women. We can only pray that taking time to attend these events will continue to open doors in the future.
Vicki is a member, now president, of the community women’s choral group. Their director is the local high school band teacher. Beings it is a young man, he had for some time wanted to bring in a woman teacher to give the women some voice tips for singing. When the opportunity arose to have a friend of his that is a voice major come and visit Teshio and attend one practice, the women took him up on his offer. In order to save him and the group some money, we offered to have Miss Atsuko (aw-tsoo-koe), age 22, stay Sunday night and Monday night with us. We knew it would be one more opportunity to get the Gospel to someone even if for a short time. Miss Atsuko was a lively young woman and so easy to have around. The director and Miss Atsuko did not get here until around 10 p.m. that night. We invited Director Marumatsu (maw-do-maw-tsoo) in as well for a bit. He stayed about an hour. It was the first opportunity to do any real talking and witnessing to him.
As we got to know Miss Atsuko we found out she had attended an all girls’ voice major high school in Sapporo which is essentially ‘Christian’ by Japanese standards so the students are required to take a Bible class. She was not surprised by our praying before meals and was happy to join us in our morning Bible study both days!! We were able to share several things with her and she joyfully took a full packet of materials home with her that we give out here in Teshio. There is an invitation to also have a Bible study via email or snail mail as well in that packet. She said she would like to come back again and visit. Pray for Miss Atsuko and that this opportunity provided by God (we told her it was not an accident that she came to us) would eventually lead to her salvation.
Miss Atsuko and Vicki making pizza together.
Ken’s work with the two adult English Bible studies also still provides the means to get the Gospel in verse-by-verse study to several adults. Although it may at times seem like it takes forever for them to come to some understanding we know it is worth the time…for eternity is an even longer time if you are going to spend it in hell.
- Vicki’s eyes and finger: Until about two weeks ago Vicki still had her little finger bandaged at all times but finally the last of the scab and healing area was well enough to expose to every day tasks. She still favors it a bit as it is quite tender yet in the scar area. She will be getting another eye check this coming Friday but has been keeping up her medications three times a day. Until this week, she hadn’t felt as though there was much happening in the final stages of healing but is now thinking that maybe there has been some more improvement. She still has to wear two pairs of sunglasses when out driving or riding her bike because of brightness. We thank God for continued care.
- With Ken and Mr. Minks feeling the deadline of winter months and the snow and cold it brings, they knew they still have some outside foundation work, siding, etc. that needs to be worked on before then. Due to one holiday this week and two more days where he was not involved in teaching at the schools, Ken was able to go to Shibetsu so the two men could work on these needed repairs all week long instead of just on Thursday and Friday. Vicki is covering the home bases and other English classes for him. Appreciate your prayers for their safety and wisdom as they work this hard schedule this week. (Sept. 13th-17th) Ken’s back can seize up after awhile so pray that he would be able to pace himself and not get too done in.
- The grandmother of one of our ladies (Kozue --Koe-zoo-e-- Kuwata) who is a secret believer, passed away today (7/13). There will be many pressures to be involved in various idolatrous activities in memory of the dead both in the next couple of days and in the weeks following at various points in time. Pray for her to be strong in her faith and commitment to Christ and testimony. We are also praying that, as this was one of the reasons that she was not able to attend services at all, that in time, this will allow more contact with her.
Praising and Serving God together,
Ken and Vicki Mansell