Giving you a little view of Japan without leaving your home!

Prayer letters, curious subjects, events, people, customs, and more for you to enjoy and learn.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

July Report and Prayer Needs for August

The lanterns floating down the river to help guide spirits

The food put out on the altar at home

Dear Praying Friends, July 2008

And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. Ps.89:5

In the summer night sky, we can see the multitude of stars that tell of the vastness of space in the heavens. These declare the praises of God’s wonders. In the same way, God’s faithfulness to us, His children, gives us abundant cause to praise the Lord for our salvation both among other believers and unto those who don’t yet know that God is faithful to them also. Let us use the faithfulness of our God toward us to give Him praise before the world each day.

In the summer months because we can be out doing our duties on foot or bicycle, we have more opportunity for conversation with those we might see while out and about. Recently, Ken was able to spend some time talking to a welder in town. Tracks have also been left with this man before and Ken is always able to say a little about our faithful God during their conversation. Pray for Mr. Teramoto that he would be open to visiting a service and for him and others like him in this community who still need the Savior! God allowed Vicki to be at a grocery store right as another contact who we don't get to see very often (Mrs. Ueda [oo-e-daw] runs an inn here in town) and invite her to lunch. Her son is in a high school further south on our island and comes home once in August during summer break. During that time, Ryo always calls and visits with us for an evening. We are going to ask him to come at noon this next time so his mother, Lord willing, can come with him. She has to serve breakfast and supper at her inn but might have a little bit of time over lunch. She said she would be glad to come. We have witnessed quite a bit to him in the past when he visits and trust the Lord will use something to open he and his mother's eyes to the truth. He and another friend's comment is usually “I'm Japanese so I am Buddhist.”

August is one of the high idolatry periods in all of Japan. In study of this time period we found that Satan has been deceiving people of all generations and it was interesting to find that August 15th is also a Catholic 'high day' for worshiping Mary. Then in I Kings 12: 32, 33, (we know the month isn't August in this passage, but the “8th month 15th day” was mentioned so an interesting correlation.) --”And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves THAT HE HAD MADE: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which HE HAD MADE.(Capitalization added for emphasis.) Whether then or now; Catholic or Buddhist; anything or any religion not biblical is man trying to get to God, not man reaching out to accept what God has already provided through His Son, Jesus Christ..

Obon is a Buddhist event and is one of the most important traditions for Japanese people. The 13th through 16th of August is the obon period. It is the period of praying for the repose of the souls of one's ancestors. People believe that their ancestors' spirits come back to their homes to be reunited with their family during obon. People clean their houses and offer a variety of food such as vegetables and fruits to the spirits of ancestors in front of a butsudan (Buddhist family altar). It is decorated with flowers and paper lanterns. On the 13th, lanterns are lit inside houses, and people go to their family's graves to call their ancestors' spirits back home. In some regions, fires called mukaebi are lit at the entrances to homes to guide the ancestor's spirits. On the 16th, people bring the ancestor's spirits back to graves, hanging lanterns painted with the family crest to guide the ancestors' spirits. It's called okuribon. In some regions, fires called okuribi are lit at entrances of homes to send the ancestors' spirits back. The air in houses and cemeteries are full of smoke and the smell of incense at this time.
All of our believers are in homes where the rest of the family is not saved, so they need much prayer protection during this time. The spiritual warfare going on in their homes is beyond our understanding. Pray not only for protection and an inward peace in the midst of the heaviness in the home, but that our believers would be strong to stand against the idolatry that others may want them to impart in.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Believers to be baptized and believers' husbands/families to be saved

  2. Mr. Kishida to return

  3. To be able to start a Bible study with Mr. Honda

  4. Adults in Bible studies with English classes

  5. Summer opportunities of witnessing

  6. New seekers to be found in Teshio, Enbetsu, & Horonobe

  7. Vicki is having trouble in one eye which began 2 days ago. She will be seeing a doctor on Monday morning. Praying for healing and that it wouldn't be a return of a dormant herpes infection she had 20 years ago and fought for about 3 years.

    Serving Christ Together,

Ken and Vicki Mansell

Just A Prayer At Night – your evening is our daytime