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.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Brief Overview Prayer Letter July/August

July/August Prayer Letter
Dear Praying Friends,

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28
When we last wrote we were going to be seeing a specialist about Ken's back to find out what was causing the pain he was constantly experiencing. The long and short of that is that they found out through various tests that he had two kidney stones, one in each kidney. Both were about 1 inch in diameter but the right side was causing some damage and the extreme pain so they decided to take out that one first. This was all done in a hospital 3½ hours from Teshio in a larger hospital. He was hospitalized for two weeks beginning the last two days of July. Much of July was in going back and forth to Asahikawa for various tests. The verse in Matthew gives the offer of comfort and help from God Almighty. This is one of the verses that Ken passed out to doctors, nurses, patients and visitors. Each day he used a different verse card and gave them especially to the doctors and nurses. Ken used it to thank them for their help and assure them that he and many others were praying for wisdom and strength for them to do their best for the patients they cared for. There was much appreciation and witnessing opportunities as a result of the simple act of giving a word of encouragement from the Word of God. One nurse responded that the words from the Bible were profound in depth of meaning and in power of action. Amen! We appreciate your continued prayer for the two weeks ministry Ken had while in the hospital that God would bring forth fruit from that time.
In the midst of all the witnessing he was able to do, there were two people who stand out and we ask your prayers for them. One was a patient and one was his anesthesiologist!! Ken was put in a four-person room for the first four days of his hospitalization. Then after surgery on a Monday they moved him to a semi-private room. Ken and two others were in the first room.. One of the men, Mr. Minoshima (he asked Ken to call him 'Mino-san' and he called Ken- “Ken-san”) was very talkative. After Ken had to move to the other room, Mino-san would visit Ken's room at least once a day to see how Ken was doing. Over the two week's period Mr. Minoshima started opening up to spiritual subjects and would even ask Ken questions. Ken has exchanged email addresses with him and we trust that Ken can keep witnessing to him through this avenue. Mr. Minoshima lives 7 hours way from Teshio on the southeastern side of Hokkaido. We trust he will eventually seek service from a Japanese Baptist church in the area.
Beings Ken was in a university hospital there are around 30 anesthesiologists--God chose Nao Nishino to be his so that she could hear the Gospel and be friends with us and so we would be helped by her English ability!! Just seven months ago she was finishing an exchange study time in Canada where she improved her English speaking ability. This opportunity also gave her an understanding of Western openness that made her unique in the relationship she chose to take with us. She took time to visit Ken's room several times even when one time she only had 30 minutes and she was also on a 24 hour shift!! She also came several times after a long shift day and stay for just a few minutes. Ken was able to give her a Japanese Bible and some study materials as well as the daily verse cards. The last couple times Ken was able to see her, she specifically asked if they could study the Bible together. She continues to be open. She also allowed us to pray with her each time she visited. We had several items to give her one day when she came so Ken was able to share with her, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" and use the gifts we gave her as an example....she didn't earn them, we were giving them to her. In the same way, we can't earn God's love or salvation but He freely gives it! We have given her contact information to fellow laborers in Asahikawa with her permission. Doctors and nurses' schedules in Japan in the hospital system are quite challenging but she seems to be eager to continue study in both English and the Bible.
While waiting to be admitted to the hospital, we were taking a walk here in Teshio one afternoon and were able to spend about 30 minutes talking to Mr. and Mrs. Honda while they worked outside their home. We have been trying to set up the introductory six-week Bible study with this couple for some time and have mentioned them in our prayer letters. He is the previous mayor. They finally agreed if they could start some time this month. We are going to contact them again now that Ken has pretty much recovered so that we can get this study started.
Vicki joined Ken in Asahikawa for all but 3 days of the two weeks he was in the hospital. She took the chance to get a couple health issues addressed as well while she had the opportunity to be at a larger hospital. One of those is the lingering herpes eye infection which began 1 year ago this month. The doctor said that stress and life in general and can have an effect on the body that make it difficult for this type of virus to heal. We know God is able and continue to ask for it. Fellow missionaries, Dean and Sue Zemke graciously gave of their hospitality to put Vicki up in their home while Ken was in the hospital. What a blessing this was.
Prayer requests continue to be the same as last month but please also add salvation of Mr. Minoshima “me-know-she-ma” and Dr. Nao Nishino “naw-oh knee-she-no” to your list.
Serving Christ Together,
Ken and Vicki Mansell
*Remember-Just A Prayer At Night (your night is our day!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One more Edition!!

In our last update we had arrived home and were really glad to be back. Little did we know that the 'testing' was not over!! Within 3 days of returning Ken was experiencing pain in his lower right leg along with redness and hardness along the top of the leg. Ken's father went home suddenly to be with the Lord several years ago after going through surgery, seeming to have a complete recovery. It was determined that a blood clot had released and gone to the brain. With this in our memory banks, Ken headed straight to the local hospital to get checked out. Then when he got back he called Idai Hospital where he was in Asahikawa to inform them of the diagnosis and what had been done. The doctor quickly assured Ken that what had been prescribed and advised was JUST what they would have done!! Praise God! Ken was diagnosed with "superficial thrombophlebitis" (his father probably had deep vein thrombosis) so we were much relieved although we still have kept it in our prayers. We are changing dressings on the area morning and evening and Ken is taking oral medication as well. Again we know God uses doctors and medicines but are still relying on Christ for the healing!!
Ken will be going back to the hospital in Asahikawa for a check-up the middle of next month. They will observe the other stone at that time to see if there has been any change in position or size. The recommended course though at this time is that he would have gall bladder surgery this winter some time. We will again wait on the Lord for His timing and the next phase of "Hospital Missions, Phase Two"!! Stay tuned!

Prayer Requests:
1.our believers: safety, consistency, growth; baptism
2.unsaved family members of our believers contacts and follow up able to contact Mr. Honda to begin Bible study
5.witnessing to English students
6.Ken's leg to heal and follow-up visits and Vicki's eye
7.Jonathan and Heather Marks, Matthew Johnson, Tim Turner—God's timing and blessing in coming to Hokkaido

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hospital Stay Update

The man we always get our used cars from lives in Asahikawa. We have given witness to him over the years. He came on the last weekend Ken was there to visit him. His name is Mr. Igarashi (ee-gaw-raw-she)

Mr. Minoshima was in Ken's first room and kept checking in with Ken every day! Several times Ken got to speak to him about spiritual things and the Lord seemed to be opening the door. How hard it was to leave this man as well. We will be keeping in contact.

We met this man a couple days after Ken's surgery. He was in for prostate cancer surgery. Mr. Kawana (kaw-waw-naw) is a grape farmer in the Shibetsu area where fellow missionaries, the Minks, are. We were able to introduce Brother Minks to him just before we left the hospital. How great to know there is a witness that can still reach out to him. He and his wife basically run the place by himself!!

We are thankful to have Ken home. The liver damage was all reversible damage through the medications they prescribed. He has a follow up visit in Asahikawa in one month. They will do blood work and ultrasound then to see how the other 'stone' is doing, etc.
You could tell that Ken had not slept well in the hospital because he slept 12 hours the first night and 10 the 2nd!! The hardest part about leaving the hospital was leaving the 'mission field' of that time period. By God's grace we certainly believe we have more freedom in this country to hand out pamphlets and materials without any 'voice' repercussions! Ken gave out a 'daily verse card' to every nurse, doctor, & patient he had contact with. By the end of his two weeks, several of the nurses had a very full name tag because they would put them on the back side of the tag. With the men he was able to witness to he also gave out other materials. Whether each person was being polite, as the Japanese can be, or truly were glad to receive them, we were just thankful to get the Word of God into their hands in any portion.

The other hard part was leaving Dr. Nao Nishino behind. At least we know there are godly biblical missionaries there that can carry on the ministry with her close hand as we also continue our friendship from afar. She has already started calling us her American "mom and dad". Although we knew she had been to Canada for some part of her doctoral studies and English study, we didn't know she just returned 7 months ago!! Because of this fresh memory of her time on foreign soil, that made her so much more open. Please pray that in spite of her crazy doctor schedule she would be able to contact fellow missionaries (Dean & Sue Zemke) so that they can carry on with the Bible study she has already started! Twice at the end in spite of being tired she came to Ken's room and asked to study the Bible with him. Her heart is open and God is drawing her--may His will be done and another lamb added to the fold! And may we be patient in waiting his timing. Please pray though for each of these major contacts and for Satan to be defeated in ANY way in preventing the furthering of the Gospel being given to them:
Mr. Minoshima and family;
Mr. Kawana and his wife
Dr. Nishino

Thank you for whirling through these two weeks with us and especially supporting us in prayer.
"In everything give thanks for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you." --this along with Romans 8:28 reminds us that all of our days and hours, in health or in sickness are a part of God's plan!

Last of Hospital Stay in Asahikawa-some fun Pics!

Because Japanese have a superstition about the number four there are no room numbers ending in four. Beginning numbers don't seem to be a problem (such as 401, 402, 403 but there would be no 404). So notice that 704 and 714 are not there either.
One of the sounds for 4 is the same sound as for death--that's why they avoid that number.

Ken talking to Alicia!

Vicki: I am a very directional challenged person! Easily turned around and takes me awhile to get used to very large cities as well as 'back routes'. Ken made up several pages for me with highlight routes for both to and from Teshio as well as within Asahikawa!! Thanks, Ken it worked!

So this was how I drove all the time until I got used to the route!

A beautiful partially cloudy sky one night, right at sunset as I traveled by to where I was staying.