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.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December Newsletter

Ken preaching after the flannel-graph and music part

Christopher doing the flannel-graph

Our group

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Col. 1:10,11

In Colossians v. 9 mentions others praying towards the things in 10 and 11—as we reach the end of another year, we still need your prayers that we would always remember year's end indeed is not an 'end' nor the New Year a new beginning but just a continuing effort to fulfill God's will in our lives in 'his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness;' no matter what the year 2011 may or may not bring forth.

Although we strive to use every opportunity in daily life to witness in word and in deed, December is a month of concentrated effort to tell of Christ's birth and hand out invitations to our evangelistic program held this year again on the 23rd. Posters are made and invitations printed and handed out all across town both here and in neighboring towns. We also hand out special ordered English language Bible verse calendars (calendars are a popular year end gift in this country) in which Ken has also added a page of the verses translated into Japanese. Many school classes talk about Christmas but only know about the commercialized Satan—oh of course, just move the N and you have the Santa version that has exploded here in Japan in recent years. When these conversations come up Ken is able to briefly explain again the true meaning of Christmas with an invitation to our program. Christmas themed speeches given in many of Ken's classes all were around receiving gifts or Christmas cakes which are a Japanese version of something special to eat on Christmas Eve. Many times there is a piece of chocolate on top of the cake with “Merry Xmas” on it instead of Christmas. We were especially happy that one of the teachers Ken has taught with at the junior high for a few years now was eager to receive the advertisement invitations to hand out to the students even though Ken wasn't even scheduled to teach at the junior high this month. That teacher and several students did attend.

We have held our Christmas program on the 23rd of December for 3 years now. It is a national holiday and because 5 out of 7 years it is a weekday, more people are apt to be around and not have conflicts during the day. This time of year many parties and events are held on Sundays and can keep many away. We also hold it in the afternoon so that, hopefully, more children will be able to attend as well as it being in between meal times so women can come and not be worried about meal preparation. Westerners and Europeans have a concept of holding regular meetings for religious purposes but there is no such thing in this country so simple daily events and jobs can keep them away from even something like this if there is conflict.

God gave answer to one prayer right away for the 23rd in holding back the snow storms that started later that day. We had several coming from as far away as an hour and we did not desire the weather to be a hindrance and it wasn't! Fifteen adults (including two of our believers, Christopher Collins and ourselves), 13 junior highers and two grade school students attended. Four adults attended for the first time and most of the junior highers had not attended before. Two of the adults were a couple from Enbetsu and the husband is one of Christopher's bosses. Christopher is very vibrant in his testimony with these people and at work. We hope to have more opportunities with them as well as for the Word he shares with them during his stay would give them a yearning to know more.

One of the doctors at the hospital where Vicki gets her monthly eye check done was able to come (she drove an hour). She claims salvation but admitted has not been real faithful to the Lord in her daily life in recent years. She accepted an invitation to spend the late afternoon and early evening with us so we were happy to get to know her a little more. Please pray for us to be an encouragement to Dr. Satomi Fujii.

Ken and Christopher worked up the birth of Jesus story into a flannel-graph presentation and we interspersed Christmas hymns into the story relevant to the scene just presented sung in various combinations (men or women or all of us believers). Christopher did a wonderful job even down to memorizing scripture passages of conversation between those involved in the birth of Jesus. One of our unsaved contacts who has attended almost every program we have given, said she had never seen flannel-graph before and having the story given in such a format really helped make it even clearer to her. Ken ended the program with preaching on the reason why Christ was born and that the true story of Christmas did not end there but on a cross and again did not end there—but He was risen again and in heaven desiring that all would come to know the truth of the Gospel. We both sang “Born to Die” at the closing of the service. Although we did not see quick evidence of God working in people's hearts we trust the promise that the Word of God will 'not return void' and just praise God for the opportunity to again share the true meaning of CHRISTmas with so many.

Serving Christ Together,

Ken and Vicki Mansell

Just A Prayer At Night – your evening is our daytime

Tea Time after the Program

Ken talking to Jr. High teachers and junior highers

Merry Christmas from our place to yours!
And God bless your year too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

November Prayer and Praise Letter

(Ken reading some verses during our missionary thanksgiving get-together)

Dear Praying Friends,

Thanksgiving is a special time each year here in northern Hokkaido Japan. We get to host the missionary families in these northern areas at our house. This year there were 35 people that gathered for a great day of food, fun and fellowship. We have much to be thankful for each year, but God did two special things this year to remind us that He is still able to supply in special ways without us asking any one but the Lord. We have followed a practice over the years of not putting money or need requests in our prayer letters. Rather, we take them to our heavenly Father and He decides whom He will bless. We do that by responding when someone is prompted by the Lord to ask us if we have a need. Through this method, we have seen the Lord provide some pretty awesome things over the years. Recently God prompted a military church here in Japan to supply the turkeys and hams for the missionary gathering! Also, a pastor emailed us requesting information about helping pay down the principle on the personal loan we took out to reside the mission building. We praise God and thank these servants of the Lord for these special answers to prayer.

November is a busy time of year here for several reasons with various events that go on. But as with every month it is mainly just staying with the day in and day out maintenance of contact with the people, continuing the studies with those that God allows and continuing to reach out. Sometimes we have to announce that another contact has had to move to a different place and it's always with sadness that is said. We have asked you to pray over and over for Dr. Mitsu as he studied with Ken each week. Due to health difficulties, which praise God ended up being totally operable, he had to resign his position at the Enbetsu hospital and has moved back to Sapporo. He and his wife made one more visit to our home this month to let us know of the final decisions and how the surgery had gone. Praise in the midst of this is that he hopes to get Skype set up as soon as possible and keep up contact with Ken via this means. He said that included more Bible study as well. So we pray that will happen. We had hoped that might happen with Dr. Nao as well but never did. So no matter the country we don't hold our breath but just wait on God and His plans. We know our studies and times with various ones that come and go in this country are many times limited to a certain time period due to the Japanese system of transfers. So we do our best to be faithful to our calling even with these knowing that God can use each step as "some plant, some water, but God gives the increase". We will now be praying for others to come into Dr. Mitsu and Dr. Nao's lives. Seeds have been planted...pray that there will be others to water as we continue to pray for increase as well!

November is also when we take part as judges in a Junior High English speech contest every year. Up until this year there have been 14-20 students take part but there were only 6 young ladies this year. Still it is an opportunity to get a Gospel of John and a tract into their hands and make contacts that we know might be used further along in their lives as the Lord tarries. We just never know how this one time contact may used by God in their lives.

November is also a time of fellowship with fellow Hokkaido missionaries and their families. This year we got to include two Assistant Language Teachers from our area. Christopher Collins has been attending church here since he came to Enbetsu and Elizabeth Hall attends the work in Wakkanai. We had 35 of us all together so the house really had no 'silent' spots and that was wonderful. As usual there was wonderful food as well as the fellowship including the men enjoying their yearly 'touch' football game. The various families' children are similar in ages so always look forward to this time too. Remember to pray for your missionaries' children as many times they live 'solitary' lives in many ways and cherish this type of gathering as much as the adults. They worked up their annual Thanksgiving themed play and did a wonderful job! Our next get together is always the winter gathering after the first of the year held in Nayoro. These are precious times with 'family' that God has provided here on the field. We trust your days were special with those you love as well.

Once Thanksgiving is over we start looking ahead and continuing to plan our major evangelistic outreach of the year through our Christmas program. We hold it on the afternoon of the 23rd of December because this is a mid-week Japanese holiday so more people are able to attend beings they have school and work just before and after it. We are working around a theme of "the Joy of Nations " to hopefully give them a glimpse that Jesus Christ is not just the God for westerners or Americans. So often when witnessing to Japanese they will say something like, "well that's fine for you but WE JAPANESE..." How we long for them to understand that God loved the whole World and died for the Whole World! Please pray often for the outreaches throughout Japan for this is one time that they might accept an invitation to attend as they think that it's OK to attend a Christmas program. Satan will fight us tooth and nail but we are up for that fight!! Thank you for marking this date on your calendar and for your prayers for this outreach.

We also want to thank a special group of people this month as one of 'our' prayer warrior senior saints went home to be with the Lord this past week. The prayers of each one that receive our letters is SO important and we don't take any of your prayers for granted but there is a special place in our hearts for the seniors that may not be able to do much even in their local church due to health, etc. But this one thing they can do:pray. This dear lady prayed fervently for 80 some missionaries over a two day period. She and her husband, who preceded her to heaven by a couple years, have been a part of our ministry in various ways and especially prayer for all of the 27 years we have been in Japan. They were members of our home church and always opened their home to us when we were there. Even this last time when in the midst of not feeling well, she insisted Ken was to stay there. We will miss Evelyn Gumm but thankful her pain filled days are over and she has heard, "Well done thou good and faithful servant!"

Prayer Requests:
1. contact with Dr. Mitsu to continue
2. Word of God to work in Miss Tsuzuki and Miss Hanawa's hearts
3. Christmas evangelism program preparation
4. Health and safety during snowy wintery months

1. Miss Tsuzuki's open heart to the Gospel, but still feels her family would oppose IF she got saved. (we sent out a separate special short report on her study a week ago. If you did not get that and would like to receive it please let us know.)
2. For some of the needed funds for the siding and door that God has provided
3. For only a little change in the couple of kidney stones that the hospital is watching in Ken yet. Next check-up will be in May

Thank you for your support of love and prayers! Have a wonderful December proclaiming that Christ is the REASON for the SEASON!

Serving Christ Together,
Ken and Vicki Mansell

The main Thanksgiving meal put together by all of us ladies

Gathering to eat

The food shower provided by Lighthouse Baptist Church

After the English speech contest with one of the teachers and participants

Square Fruit

at today's rate in yen/dollar this equals $157!!!

Japan appears to have cornered the market on square-shaped fruit.

Farmers in the southern Japanese town of Zentsuji have figured out how to grow square watermelons. It's not a fad. The technique actually has practical applications.

“The reason they're doing this in Japan is because of lack of space,” said Samantha Winters. “A fat, round watermelon can take up a lot of room in a refrigerator, and sits awkwardly on the shelves.”

Japanese farmers have solved this dilemma by forcing their watermelons to grow into a square shape. Farmers insert the melons into square, tempered glass cases while the fruit is still growing on the vine.

The square boxes are the exact dimensions of Japanese refrigerators, allowing full-grown watermelons to fit conveniently and precisely onto refrigerator shelves.

These watermelons are more expensive, but they are refrigerator-friendly.

Source: T Patterson, writer 2001-06-15

What is good for watermelons may not be good for you and me!

God does not want us to be molded like watermelons, forced into a box and firmly set in the standards and customs of this age!

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

God wants us to change our way of thinking to a fresh - and newness in all our words and actions once we are a Child of God!

Friday, November 5, 2010

October Prayer Letter

Ken doing fall outside winter prep

Miss Tsuzuki and Miss Hanawa during Christianity Explained Bible study

Ken teaching the Bible study

Tea and brownie time afterwards

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith, although it is intangible, is a real substance. It is the solid thing that we can claim and cling to in every circumstance of life. It is so substantial that it can be used as legal evidence of facts. Facts, not in sight or in hand yet, but never the less, as real and assuring as already having or knowing what the reality of a situation will bring. Praise God for this wonderful gift!! Let's walk in this truth today.

Faith is the point of study that we have reached in our "Christianity Explained" course on Sunday evening. We now have two ladies attending on Sunday evening. Both are school nurses--one for the junior high and the other for the high school. Miss Tsuzuki has been coming for a year now but Miss Hanawa just started a couple weeks ago so everything is VERY new to her. Although each step is an important part in leading towards salvation, faith is a major issue here so we truly appreciate your prayers.

We just received a letter from Dr. Mitsu who had surgery a week ago. One item was taken care of but it also revealed that he needs to have his gall bladder out. There are some complications though so it might end up being open surgery. We appreciate your continued prayers for him. He thanked us in this letter for 'remembering me and praying for me'.

Our weekly studies on Sundays and Tuesdays with Christopher Collins are a great blessing to us. He continues to study hard and is a great testimony amongst the people of Enbetsu. We ask that you specifically pray for him as he is in the midst of a 'hub' of Jehovah Witnesses. He takes every opportunity to talk to some of their people. We are thankful Christopher's desire is to be a light of truth in Enbetsu. Vicki is also doing some communication with his girlfriend who is back in Canada so would appreciate wisdom for this as well.

Ken has been busy Thursday through parts of Saturday getting the outside ready for winter. We had our first snow this last week so it must not be too far off. Thankfully God has provided good weather and he has been able to get almost everything done. One day a fellow missionary also spent the day helping and that was a great blessing.

There has been several events in the last month that Vicki has been a part of or we have attended. This always allows some interaction with local people and for that we are grateful! The winter months do not provide as much of that opportunity beings everyone wants to be inside during the cold months. We are planning our yearly missionary gathering for Thanksgiving this later this month. It is an event we all look forward to with great anticipation of wonderful fellowship and of course, food. We praise God for a special provision of turkey and ham this year that was completely unexpected! They may not be expensive in the States but here to special order one takes about $80-100 for a 20-22 lb turkey!

1. Vicki's eye continues to stay away from the active state of herpes
2. the needed funds for the church door has come in including a special 'offering' given by one of our ladies who had been saving 100 yen coins for a year.
1. salvation of our believers' husbands and families
2. baptism allowed for our ladies
3. plans starting to be put into place for 2 young ladies desiring to join us next summer for the internship and 1 continuing on for a semester study done online from Japan via a 'study abroad' program at her college
4. plans being put into place for our yearly evangelistic Christmas program
5. yen/dollar exchange to improve

May God bless you for your part through prayer and support for His work here in the Teshio area. We are always grateful!

Serving Christ Together,
Ken & Vicki Mansell

Just a Prayer At Night


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

September Prayer Letter

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Revelations 3:20

A door is an important part of any building. Without a door, one can not enter or leave. There is no access. Jesus Christ is the door to eternal life and salvation. (John 10:1-9) In practical terms, a door is an essential element in a church building. Our church door after 20 years of salty rain and snow was rusting away. Recently the Lord opened the way for us to get a great deal on residing our church building. With the economy in bad shape, even worse than the USA, companies are offering deep discounts just to get business. God opened a way to get a loan to cover the cost of the siding that we can repay over the next three and a half years. What we didn't plan on was having to pay for a replacement door in that loan. So we need to come up with that money in cash by the first of November. We are challenging our few believers to raise the money for this with special offerings. Please pray with us that the funds will be raised in time to meet this need. We have had great witnessing opportunities with the workers for this project.

We asked prayer for Vicki as she underwent gall bladder stone removal (including the gall bladder). Although she did react to the anesthesia drastically the surgery itself went well. We praise God for His hand in protection while waiting for that surgery and for another opportunity to witness to both patients and staff alike at the hospital. Her stay was short by Japanese standards (4 days) but she was very glad to do her recuperating at home. Thank you for praying for this need. The eye doctor also feels that Vicki's eye is stabilized now but she will have to remain on some form of eye drop for the rest of her life. We are thankful for good care in this country. Lord willing, we will both remain in good health for awhile.

We asked last time for prayer for two of our contacts facing health difficulties. Dr. Mitsu will be taking a month off from work and from study with us here as he undergoes surgery to find out how extensive his cancer is. We continue to pray for his eyes to be opened to the truth of the Gospel before it is too late. Mr. Mino has been moved to a hospital closer to his home in southern Hokkaido. We have not heard from him by email for some time. He did not look good when we last saw him. A tumor had started in his brain that had caused paralysis on one side. We got in contact with a Japanese pastor in his area who we trust can have contact with him. Again time may be short for this man who so desperately needs Christ.

We had an unexpected event this last month. We were contacted by a Hokkaido TV station who wanted to include us in a special they were doing on Teshio. The local city offices had told them about us. We were able to give tract packets to the 4 men that came to do the filming and Ken was able to give them a 2 or 3 minute sermon when he showed them the 'church' area of our building. Although they did not include the preaching part in the segment they showed about us, we are thankful for the opportunity to give the Gospel to these men. At the end of the segment about us, they also showed a map of where we are in town with our address and telephone number as a church in Teshio. Vicki and her music was also featured in the segment. We praise God for any little piece of information given out so others may know!

Bible studies and teaching opportunities with the Assistant English Teacher, Christopher Collins, continues to go forward with great joy. He is an eager learner. Ken is meeting with him during the S.S. Hour, then he is here for the a.m. Service, sometimes having one more study in the afternoon before he goes home as well as a separate one on Tuesday nights in Enbetsu before Ken begins classes there.

Prayer Requests:

1. financial struggles with a couple of our believers

2. Salvation of our believers' spouses and families; baptism of our believers

3. Funds to cover the replacement of both doors (we also had to replace our house entry door)

Serving Christ Together,

Ken and Vicki Mansell

Just A Prayer At Night – your evening is our daytime

Below are pictures of 1. original building redo and beginning of new addition (1988/89)

2. 2nd renovation and completed new siding (done by ourselves that time) -completed in 1991

3. New siding and doors completed 10/6/2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


For the first time in automobile history, car-makers who have been trying to make cars quieter, will try to make their cars noisy! If they run too quietly, pedestrians may fail to notice them approaching!

HVs (Hybrid Vehicles) make hardly any sound when they are driven slowly. The Toyota Motor Corp.'s ‘Prius’ makes a sound of about 30 decibels which is as quiet as a whisper. Experts are concerned that visually impaired people may fail to notice the vehicles approach due to this quietness.

The transport ministry is paving the way for HVs to make artificial sounds in order to insure safety on the streets. The ministry has set up a committee comprising of university professors and other experts, to address this problem. However, experts point out that the task will not be easy.

“We want car-makers to individually make efforts to develop their own sounds, and we hope such a situation will automatically narrow down good ones,” a senior ministry official said. “We don't want them to make background music as used in stores or other sounds that could be mistaken for something else other than cars.”
Source: Yomiuri News, 2010-04-10

The greatest sound that followers of Jesus Christ are yearning for today, is not of HVs creeping up on us, but the thunderous voice of the Lord!

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:16,17).

So powerful will this voice rip through earth and sea, that those who died in Christ through all the ages, will miraculously be snatched from dust, ashes and sea to miraculously come back to life, in order to stand alive with many millions before their Creator and their God!

God's children are intently waiting for this great trumpet blast!
Will you be one to hear it?

Monday, August 30, 2010


A 39-year-old man recently finished an 11-year bicycle journey covering more than 150,000 kilometers -- equivalent to circling the globe nearly four times!

Daisuke Nakanishi spent six years working for a construction firm in Osaka in order to save enough money to pursue this goal.
He left Japan for Anchorage, Alaska, the starting point of his journey, on July 23, 1998. During his subsequent bike trip through 130 countries, Nakanishi changed 82 tires, 15 chains and five pedals and fixed more than 300 tire punctures. “Only the frame is the same as when I left,” Nakanishi said.
He carried a tent, a sleeping bag, cooking utensils, clothes, books and maps; as well as spare parts and tools for repairs and other goods on his bike, a load totaling about 50 kilograms. The bike itself weighed 20 kilograms.
Nakanishi averaged between 100 and 150 kilometers a day on his bike.
He returned to Japan, on Oct. 1, 2009 and was awarded the fourth Grand Prix for his feat.

“I'm relieved to end this long journey, " Nakanishi said with a shy smile on his suntanned face. "Nonetheless, I’m at a bit of a loss now that my long-pursued dream has been accomplished.”

Nakanishi had a number of life-threatening experiences during his journey. On an August night in 2001 while in the Namibia Desert, two hyenas circled his tent. “I lay still for two hours clutching my kitchen knife,” he said.
Nakanishi got another kind of scare when he contracted Malaria in Equatorial Guinea.
In South Africa, Nakanishi approached a police station looking for a place to stay after he had no luck finding affordable accommodations. An officer said he could stay in one of the detention cells. Nakanishi agreed and even shared a meal with the detainees while there.
“It was comfortable because I was sure that both my bike and I were safe, and because I came out of the rain,” he said.
“The most valuable assets I gained through my journey are the many friends I made all over the world,” Nakanishi said.

Source: Yomiuri News, by K. Okumura, 2009-05-11

Nakanishi learnt a priceless lesson - the value of friends. I cannot imagine moving through life without friends!
More significant even than riches, knowledge, or fame are your friends! Our first friend should be our you know the Friend of Friends? You can!
And we thank God for all our friends who love, pray, and keep in contact with us even from afar as well as our friends here in Japan. Thank you for being a part of our family of friends.

Friends come and friends go,
but a true friend sticks by you like family
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

Jesus indeed is the best Friend of all! Nurture His companionship every day!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

July/August Prayer Letter

A Christian's mission in any country to reach the lost is this:

2 Tim 2:25, 26- In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Pray for us to be patient to continue the ever before us task of reaching the Japanese whose eyes need to be opened to the truth of the Gospel and the falsehood of their many gods and traditions. God loves each and every one of them and does not desire them to go to hell. Neither do we. Thank you for helping us be the light in this northern area and pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers.
We apologize for not getting a letter out last month and will try and catch you up as we can. For two months we had Amanda Blain from N.C. with us studying the language, the culture, the ministry and taking part in any way she could. It was a very busy time but we feel it fulfilled hopes on both sides.

We know the Lord has a special ministry in store for her as He tarries and pray for wisdom for her to know what that will be when the time comes. These are her words about the internship:
Amanda Blain in front of Church building

"During my two-month Internship, I was able to get a glimpse into a culture very different from my own! Learning a new language was a challenge, but understanding a new mindset was even more difficult. I enjoyed being in a foreign country. I was able to visit quite a few cities on the island of Hokkaido, including Wakkanai, Otaru, and Nayoro. I helped to teach English, both public school lessons and private lessons. During the church services, I was able to play several duets with Mrs. Mansell. I’m very thankful for the opportunity the Lord gave me this summer and for the many lessons I learned during my Internship."Although Mrs. Tokumaru has not been able to be back in services much we praise God that we get to see her about once a week when she brings her daughter in for piano lessons in Teshio. She seems to be more desirous of a closer walk with God and is concerned about those around her. She recently asked about a Bible for a friend who showed a desire to read the Bible although not interested in attending services yet. We are thankful for this one step and know the power of the Word can work in this lady's heart.
In July Ken went to the States for two weeks on family business and was able to include a Sunday in our home church. He gave the a.m. message on July 4th and had a first time oportunity to preach on this theme. It is not a theme not usually used here of course but he was able to also use it here upon his return. Ken had a safe trip, some things were accomplished and he thoroughly enjoyed the back to back family reunions he attended from his parents' side of the family.. While he was gone, Vicki held a Bible study one Sunday a.m. and then the 2nd Sunday Pastor Kusakari from Kobe, Japan, was able to be with us and preached. He used to travel all of Japan working just with JW's trying to get out of the cult or reaching JW's. He now has his own church down in the Kobe area with members saved out of the cult and has more limited work in the outlying areas.
Dr. Fuji
(located at a hospital one hour from us)

Christopher Collins from British Columbia, Canada

Three Christians have come to the Rumoi District within 30 & 60 minutes, and 2 hours from us as of this month and earlier in the spring. Two are associated with Assistant English teaching and the 3rd is a Christian single lady doctor. We hope to have opportunities to encourage them in the future and for them to be a great witness in our county. We were able to meet Dr. Fuji recently when we took time to stop in her hospital and introduce ourselves. We are connected via email so even when she can't get here to a service we trust to get studies to her. The interesting part of her past is that she and her parents were in the U.S. until she ws 14 and were members at our the church of our home church pastor at that time in New England. Now we are connected to her--what a small world it is. We also met Christopher Collins from Vancouver, BC this last week when he bicycled for an hour to get to us from Enbetsu where we go once a week for English. He had no way of getting ahold of us yet having just arrived, so made that extra effort!! He is 23 and a young Christian and we trust the Lord can use us as well as His Word to disciple this young man while he is in the area.

One of the things God has encouraged us in the work over the years is that our work hasn't just been for or with the Japanese. He has allowed others to come for just short periods and had we not been here they would not have gotten saved OR had extra training and growth while here. We thank the Lord for these opportunities as well as our local day by day work.

Vicki leaves with a small group of Teshio people on the 21st of this month to go to Homer, Alaska, our sister-city. One of the programs we have been involved with over the years (it started the year we moved here) has been the Sister-City Association. It has brought us into contact with people we might never have met except through this program. It has allowed various means and opportunities of witnessing. This will be another opportunity. She would appreciate your prayers not only for a safe trip but to be a strong witness to all she is with and comes in contact with. Please also pray that she would have no side effects from the gall stones she has as she has been experiencing some pain.

Prayer Requests:
1. Vicki's trip and then gall bladder surgery right after she gets back (September 10th)
2. Salvation of our believers' spouses and famlies; baptism of our believers
3. Opportunities with Dr. Fuji, Christopher Collins & Austin Duffy
4. Decisions need to be made concerning the need to replace the siding of our ministry building. A special offer by a siding company is being made if we take it right now.
5. Health of two of our contacts is not good at all, including Dr. Mitsu who has a weekly Bible study with us. Please pray for Dr. Mitsu and Mr. Mino to be open to the Gospel especially now.
Praise & Prayer:
1. We have the priviledge of announcing that we are 'expecting' our 7th grandchild!! Pastor Joshua and Alicia Appel in Georgia expect their next bundle the end of March, Lord willing. Please pray for health and strength of Alicia and the baby. She is the mother of 3 others and home schooling their oldest. During the months of morning sickness it can be a challenge to face those tasks each day. Know she would appreciate your prayers too.
2. Our eldest son, Pastor Richard Mansell in Newton, N.C. now has a new mailing address. If you are interested in this, please drop us a line and we will send it to you.

Serving Christ Together,
Ken & Vicki Mansell

Just A Prayer At Night

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Free Electric-Car Recharging


Gasoline stations, in cooperatio n with the local governments of Japan, are beginning to install systems that guide electric vehicle drivers to unoccupied charging stations, hoping to popularize electric vehicles by making it possible to recharge without waiting in long lines and without any cost.
Electric vehicles will have charger-outfitted gas stations displayed on GPS navigation devices in their cars. At a single glance, drivers will be able to tell where recharging stations are available.
Current electric vehicles must be recharged more frequently than gas-powered vehicles refueling during a single journey.
When a charger is in use, the displayed icon will change color accordingly, making it easier for drivers to find nearby open chargers.
As even a high-speed charger takes more than 10 minutes to fully recharge a vehicle, long lines at recharging stations could be a potential pitfall in the quest to popularize this environmentally friendly form of transportation.

Source: Yomiuri News, 2010-01-05

Followers of Christ are in direct contact with Heaven’s power house to recharge their spiritual batteries! We do not need to wait in a line for an open charger!
A good time to get their batteries charged for the activities of the day is early in the morning!

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up (Ps. 5:3, KJV).

King David felt he needed a new charge, three times a day!
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice (Ps. 55:17, KJV).

Anywhere at any time for any task, we can plug in to heaven for strength and help Let Him help today!

Monday, June 28, 2010


Using specifically trained dogs to protect crops from wild monkeys is increasing in Japan. Farmers are using them in their battle against marauding monkeys. First, two German shepherds were trained in Aomori to be full-time monkey-scaring dogs.

Now, forty-two other municipalities also authorize police dog training centers to train dogs for this purpose. Training time at the facilities is three to four months, and by the end of 2008 they had already trained 194 of the monkey-chasing mutts for farmers.

When the farmers give the go-ahead, the dogs set off into the nearby-forested areas populated by monkeys. The forest at first is filled with monkey calls, but when the dogs bark, the calls stop and the monkeys retreat, driven away from the edge of farmland and into the mountains.

According to Katagawa, a dog trainer, the only quality monkey-chasing dogs must possess is a simple, innate desire to chase monkeys and keep at it.

Source: Japan Newspapers

Even dogs, God has created for a purpose!

And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
(Luke 16:20,21, KJV).

Lazurus did not resent the tongues of dogs that eased and mollified his sores in the absence of human pity!

Dogs are helpful to numerous people and are a comfort to countless numbers of human beings!

Let’s learn from our four-legged friends to comfort the comfortless and help the helpless with the same ardor that dogs do it!

Also be reminded of the Lord's command:
2 Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Interesting week for our summer intern

It's a new week! Wonder what kind of opportunities the Lord has for us this week! We appreciate prayers for Ken as he leaves on July 1st for a short family/business trip for two weeks. Our summer intern, Amanda Blain, has written a newsletter and we thought you might like to enjoy it too!~~

This week has been filled with one adventure after another!

It began with a shopping trip - on bicycles! Most, if not all, bikes here have baskets on the handlebars, so Mrs. Mansell and I biked to the store, and to transport the items back to the house, we placed the grocery bags in the baskets and on the handlebars. It was the first time I had ever done anything like it, and I really enjoyed it! Biking is a very popular means of transportation here.

This week I did a little exploring of Teshio on my own! I didn't venture too far out, though. There is a "bookstore" on the street the Mansells live on and it's filled with all sorts of neat odds and ends! Office supplies, unique toys, craft supplies, and snacks leave little room for actual books! I've visited the store several times already and it seems like every time I go I find something else that I didn't see before! I also visited a local shop that is hardware on one side and pottery on the other. The prices were a bit expensive, but it was interesting to browse the aisles!

On another day, the Mansells had me go out to a couple stores on errands for them, and I made it back with the items they wanted... later that day I went out to the corner grocery market for a certain kind of onion - and came back with leeks. I'm experiencing that mistakes are a part of learning; thankfully, this one was a little mistake. =)

Another lesson I'm learning is the importance of personal spiritual growth and maturity on the mission field. Living in another culture brings out a part of you that sometimes you didn't know you had... sometimes it's a good thing; other times it's not. I'm very thankful that the Lord is gently pointing out areas in my life that need changing and re-directing to make me more prepared for the mission field and effective service for Him!

Today the Mansells took me to the Northernmost part of Japan, Cape Soya, and to one of its neighboring cities, Wakkanai [Wah'-kah-nigh]. (On the way, a police officer saw us by the side of the road taking pictures of the fields and mountains; he stopped and asked us for our ID! The Mansells said that was the first time an intern has had to do that... I guess I looked suspicious or something. :D Praise the Lord it was just a routine check and we were soon on our way. =) (after being able to give him a tract too!) On a clear day, you can see the Russian island of Sakhalin from Cape Soya, but today it was a little too hazy. The wind was incredible! At times, the force of the gusts was so strong that I needed to brace myself or else the wind would have knocked me down! Hokkaido is surrounded by 3 oceans: on the west by the Sea of Japan, on the east by the Pacific ocean, and on the north by the Sea of Okhotsk. Since I've been able to stand in two of the three, which has been neat.

At Wakkanai, we visited another missionary family for a little while and then stopped at a McDonald's for some ice cream! We also drove up a mountain to a lookout point were we could see the city and across Soya Bay to Cape Soya. On the way home, we stopped at a beach to take some pictures of the sunset; it was amazing!

Week 4 is when culture shock is supposed to hit. So far I've been doing well and would appreciate prayer that I would continue to adjust smoothly, especially this week. Also pray for continued personal and spiritual growth. I'm so thankful for this preparation time and practical experience on the mission field! Praise the Lord for the opportunities to be a witness in the schools through the English classes. This past week another student specifically asked me why I came to Teshio! I was able to answer simply in English, "I came to Teshio to tell people about Jesus" and Mr. Mansell explained more in Japanese. Praise the Lord that I'm beginning to venture out into the community. So far, the language barrier has been one of the biggest frustration about coming to another country. At first, the language sounds like garble until your ear begins to identify various sounds. You don't know what things are, you can't ask what they are, you can't read anything, and you can't understand what people are saying. Your language skills drop to less than a toddler's level of speech and understanding. It's humbling to realize you are totally dependent on others to communicate for you!

Thank you so much for your investment in my life through prayer this summer!

Kept for the Master's use,

Links to photos:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pictures from our lives

Our home and mission building. We live on the 2nd floor. Services and office on first floor

Mrs. Sonoda and Amanda our summer intern from N.C.

Miss Tsuzuki (in Bible study with us on Sunday evenings)

Our large carrots here in Hokkaido!

not to mention our large apples

left: eating cabbage 'pancake' and shrimp tempura

Ken checking class homework at school

Amanda helping out at school for English class

May Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

1Ki 8:41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake;

When we go beyond our Jerusalem, we do so for the Lord's name sake. We have a command to go beyond our comfort zone and reach the people in a far country. From the perspective of one on the field of ministry in Japan, we appreciate when others come to learn and help in that work in a far country "for thy name's sake". God has given us to privilege to work with fellow missionaries and missionary interns over the years. God provided through some special circumstances our current summer missionary intern, Amanda Blain. She has come half way around the world to learn from and serve with us when she had never met us. We were strangers. Praise God that He has directed her to us this summer. Pray for her as she adjusts to the Japanese language and culture "for the Lord's name sake" to show forth Christ with us this summer. Amanda will be with us through the month of July at which time she will return to get ready for her senior year at Ambassador Baptist College.

English and Bible studies have started up again with Dr. Mitsu and Miss Tsuzuki. Dr. Mitsu (in his 70's) has been trying to stop smoking. When explaining that to Ken a couple weeks ago he said, I want to stop and then I don't want to stop. Ken took him to the verse in James that said: A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Dr. Mitsu replied, "That's me!" while pointing at the verse. So Ken talked to him about the verse. The doctor continues to be open in many ways but his spiritual eyes are still 'unseeing'. We pray for a great break-through in his 'vision' and that he will only see Christ as the answer to His needs! Miss Tsuzuki attends on Sunday evening and we are halfway through the Christianity Explained course. So far whenever we ask for questions she says she has none. We have more opportunity for questions from us at the end of the course which we trust will open up more conversation about the study. Please pray for her also that her spiritual eyes, which for the moment are 'darkened', will be opened and the truth clear and plain. From our experiences with single young people no matter how old, we can't just pray for salvation...we have to continue to pray for Satan to be defeated in his clear plan to not only keep one from being saved but to snatch them away once they make a profession. You may remember we had that happen in a major way just 2 years ago with Mr. Kikuchi, age 31, (and this wasn't the first time) enthusiastic and growing in discipleship UNTIL he talked to his parents and for whatever reason, he walked away, never to agree to speak to us or see us again. The demonic hold on this land both as a whole and person by person is EXTREME in ways we can not even see or fully understand. Pray for victory in our believers' lives and the challenges that face them day to day no matter what age they are.

With the new school year beginning in April, Ken returned to his classes at the schools with several new teachers involved now. This always means new possible contacts!! He is also praying for an opportunity to get to know one of the new principals who had a painting of a church hanging on the wall behind his desk. This is a first so opens again the doors for possibilities! Although the required constant transfers of most people within their jobs brings challenges when trying to plant a local church, we praise God that we have come to see them as new 'fields' in which to plant seeds. We also continue to pray for those that have come and gone and that the next place they are moved to in their job will have faithful workers for Christ to continue the seed planting, watering, and harvesting as the Lord allows!! The need for those kind of workers is still great here in Japan. Please continue to pray for those to work in the harvest fields of this country and for those that are trying to get here!

Health Update:
1. Ken's remaining large kidney stone continues to be stable and has not moved to a more dangerous place. Praise God.
2. Vicki's eye with the herpes infection had been stabilized for some months and was very slowly receding. During the first week of June, 4 new cuts appeared on the eye but with a quick reaction to the possible symptoms and a doctor's visit, within 4 days, 3 of the 4 small cuts had cleared up. Stress is said to be a major factor in allowing the herpes to become acute again so we continue to pray for healing and for her to be able to 'rest' all plans and challenges in her Saviour's arms.
3. Vicki also went through a few days of lower right back pain which she wondered about so had some tests done. What a surprise to find out that she also has a gallbladder filled with stones!! They wanted to do surgery right away but said they would try and control any inflammation via medication until the first part of September when the major events of the summer will be completed and she can just have the surgery and rest as needed.

Prayer Requests:
1. for the devil to be defeated in his attempts at keeping our unsaved from getting saved: "...then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."
2. that the "...cares and riches and pleasures of this life, ." would not keep the saved from growing--two of our ladies especially have fears still that fight against them
3. for believers to be able to be baptized and fully understand this need of obedience
4. for those with fears to be able to rest in Christ
5. for new contacts to open up to the Gospel
6. for Vicki to not have any more gallbladder difficulties until she is able to have surgery

1. for continued contact with our current seekers
2. for Ken's continued health
3. for Amanda's safe arrival and enthusiasm
4. for safety and protection of mind and spirit for Mrs. Sonoda during the two weekends of death anniversary ceremonies
5. for you in upholding the work of the Lord here in Teshio

Keep on praying!! It's so important!

Serving Christ Together,
Ken & Vicki Mansell

Just A Prayer At Night

March/April Prayer Letter

Dear Praying Friends,

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night" Ps 92:1,2

We give God thanks and praise for the mornings and nights of fellowship, travel and safety on our recently finished short reporting furlough. It was a blessing to visit with family and fellow laborers through out the USA with over 9,000 miles traveled in the van from Baptist Missionary Transport Ministry. We thank God for this great ministry out of Grace Baptist Church in Harrisonville, Missouri. We are thankful for the opportunities to present the work of the ministry, generous love gifts received and kindnesses shown us from brethren in six supporting churches from Florida to Montana. We would love to share details from each place but suffice it to say, God truly showed his loving kindness and faithfulness to us through you.

In our last prayer letter we asked for Divine appointments and we saw several that only God could have arranged:witnessing opportunities in hotels we stayed in; being able to witness to a blind young man at one of our supporting churches; and after our presentations having a young man approach us and tell us that he and his wife were already studying Japanese and wanted to be missionaries to Japan but were not sure what step to take next! We are now in contact with them concerning the 2 year internship training for working here in Japan! There are two other couples who desire to come to Hokkaido in the future and we were able to contact them and encourage them on this trip.

The prospects for a missionary internship this summer were late in coming but the Lord opened the doors for a student from Ambassador Baptist College. Although it works best for this training to be done in groups of two or three we couldn't find a partner for Miss Amanda Blain. We trust this is what God has planned. She will be with us through June & July. Please pray for preparation on both sides and that the Lord will use this opportunity according to His will. This type of outreach always provides special opportunities with those with whom we work.

Three of the five unsaved we had been working with in Bible study last year are now living in different areas so our outreach to them is going to be more difficult. We are praying for continued opportunities through email and Skype but also that there will be other biblical Christians to pick up the chain of communication while their hearts are tender. Dr. Nao Nishino is now 5 hours away from us at a hospital in Sapporo. We do not know if she will get to come to our area as she did before. Dentist Motomi Minemura is in Vietnam. We have given her contact information for someone there and are keeping in contact with her. Dr. Mitsu is now at a local hospital in Enbetsu where we have English classes once a week. We are hoping to keep his study going while there. Satan may want these diversions to break the pattern of seed being sown but God is the Victor and we claim the promises of His Word to reach them still with the truth of the Gospel.

The Lord protected the building and the people we work with while we were gone as prayed for. Thank you for those prayers. One special praise is that the elderly mother of Mr. Hashimoto (his wife has made public confession of Jesus Christ as her Savior) has moved out of the home (after some 30 plus years) and taken her family Buddhist alter with her!! We pray for more openness in his heart now through this change of living situations. Mrs. Tokumaru had not been able to meet with us on Sundays for quite some time. She confirmed in a conversation with her Sunday evening by chat, that her husband will not allow her to come any more on Sundays. We are very disappointed for her sake that he has come to such a decision. She lives about 30 minutes away but we still want to try and keep in touch with her via other means. Mrs. Sonoda faithfully opened the doors on Sunday and studied by herself here with web messages by a fellow missionary. She asks special prayer for the last two Sundays of May as death anniversary Buddhist ceremonies will be taking place in her home for her husband's relatives. The Lord continues to protect her mind and actions during these times but the spiritual strain and pressures are very difficult.

Although we didn't talk about our time with family on the east coast, it truly was a blessing in so many ways. We will post pictures and some updates on our blog if you would like to know more about them.

We are adjusting to climate, schedule and Japanese speaking again fairly well. One of the advantages to these very short furloughs is that the body and mind are not put to such extreme adjustment if we took one year furloughs every once in awhile. Several asked this trip why we take our short furloughs in March and April instead of in the summer or at Christmas time to be with family, too. The Japanese school year runs from the middle of April to the middle of March of the next year. At the beginning and end of the school year Ken is not required to be in the schools and then there is a short vaction time in between. This then allows for a convenient length and time for the 6-8 week visits we like to make. Christmas time is a busy time for any church and we also have one of our main evangelistic outreaches during that time. Although winter vacation is right after that, it is also one of the times as well as summer vacation (month of August) when the ticket prices for flying are extremely higher. As the Lord allows we want to continue the schedule we have kept as it has worked out well for the most part. Now we look forward to what God will do in the months ahead—thank you for being a part of that work through your prayers and support!

Prayer Requests:
1. renewal of outreaches
2. believers to remain strong; baptism of believers; unsaved spouses and families
3. preparation for summer internship
4. new doors to be opened to the Gospel

Serving Christ Together,

Ken & Vicki Mansell

Just A Prayer At Night – your evening is our daytime

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February Newsletter

Dear Praying Friends, February 2010
Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Most of us spend all of our timel, effort and resources on the outer man. However, that outer man will perish. The outer man will only last for a few years and counts for little. Yet, the inner man is where Christ lives, where Christ strengthens, where Christ gives eternal riches, where the Spirit works and forms us to glorify God. The inner man will continue when the outer man is old and cold. Let's take more time today to build up and encourage the inner spiritual man that every real Christian has. As Paul prayed for the Ephesians to do this, we pray for you to do this today and emplore you to pray the same for us. Thank you for your prayers.
February is always a fast month for us especially as it usually is the time we are preparing for a short reporting furlough to the States. This year has been no exception and more involved because of still keeping up with those we have currently been dealing with here in the Teshio area. Besides those that we have mentioned in the past couple letters the Lord has given some one on one time with a couple of adults from the Monday night adult study two weeks in a row. There are usually 3-5 people in this class but for various reasons this month only one has been able to make it and a different one each time. This has given some great opportunity for dealing with them on a more personal level than when the whole group are there. We appreciate that you patiently pray these people. We know that faithfully giving out the good news and trying to find the 'key' to unlocking one person's heart is just a time after time, day by day ministry. Dealing with Dr. Mitsu on Wednesday nights continues to bring new avenues of helping him come to a spiritual understanding of the Gospel and his need for it. Right now there are many things being talked about. Each topic brings about the doctor's desire to study it some more and bring back new ideas so for that we are grateful. We got to have both him and his wife in our home this past week so trust there will be more opportunities like that in the future.
We leave for our two month furlough on Feb. 25th arriving back in Japan on May 4th. We will be reporting to churches in FL, ID, MT & WY, & Nebraska. In our absence Mrs. Sonoda will be opening the doors on Sunday mornings for the ladies that can to meet together. They will get the messages via the web from a fellow Hokkaido missionary. We are thankful for some kind of continuity to this short time so it is easier to pick up the ball and roll again when we return. We appreciate your prayers for the ministry to be protected in a very special way while we are gone. Satan would love to confuse and disperse but God is able! You may still reach us via the email addresses ( and
Dr. Nao Nishino, who we have remained friends with since Ken's surgery and continue to have Bible studies with at least once a month, is currently in the USA. We will be traveling right through St. Louis where she is at this time and we are hoping to spend an evening with her there including a time in God's Word! Pray that we might not only be able to get with her but that there might be other Christian doctors and nurses that would come across her path and be a witness to her. Many times Japanese are much more open to spiritual issues outside of their home country. We know God has a plan for Dr. Nao and are excited about this opportunity. She will be studying at the university hospital there for a little over two weeks.
Vicki had a major fall on snow covered ice this past week and hit her tail-bone quite hard. She is still recovering but we are thankful nothing was broken. Her eye difficulty has been stabilized enough that it can be treated by the drops she will take with her and then continue treatments when she gets back. Thank you for remembering this as well.

Prayer Requests:
1. current outreaches to remain stabilized while we are gone
2. believers to remain strong; unsaved spouses and families
3. protection over the building
4. safety during our travels (over 10,000 miles by car)
5. Divine appointments that will bring glory to God's Name!

Serving Christ Together,
Ken and Vicki Mansell Just A Prayer At Night – your evening is our daytime

Sunday, February 21, 2010


“Everyone has only one life...,” is a project prompted by a message from a middle school girl fighting a chronic disease.
Poets have been holding readings across the nation to introduce her message to the general public in Japan, asking people to finish the sentence that begins with “Because everyone have only has one life....”.
“Because everyone has only one life, let's laugh joyfully every day,” a high school student replied.
A mother, whose son committed suicide, finished the phrase as follows, “...let’s live! Live! Everybody, live! I want to live, too.”
A book containing about 60 of the best messages is in print, with the hope that it would inspire people to love life.

Source: Yomiuri News, by A. Kobayashi, 2007-09-30

If only the Japanese would realize there is a reason to live and there is a Book that teaches how to live!! Then those of us who know Christ must also realize we are accountable to the One who gave us our life.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
(Hebrews 9:27).

‘Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last.’

Let’s live every day as though it were our last day on earth! And if you don't know Christ you can come to Know Him!

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Toys are not just for children any more!
Primopuel is a knee-high Japanese doll with soft apple cheeks and big black button eyes. It comes in green and pink. When you cuddle it or talk to it, it talks back. It is designed for grandmothers.
The two-tone doll can ‘master’ up to 5 songs and 380 words in the course of a year, provided it is cuddled and you talk to it.
“Families are living apart these days, so grandchildren are giving the dolls to their grandmothers and also daughters to their mothers,” said Bandai's Tajima Toy Store. “It's a little odd, but the dolls become like a substitute.”
It's now Bandai's best-selling doll with more than a million sold, mostly by women in their 50s and 60s.
Sega Toys Co.'s Dream Golden Retriever is also for adults. The life-size puppy robot wags its tail when petted, looks lovingly into your eyes when you pat its cheek and responds to six commands, including ‘sit up and beg’.
“A robot is probably better than nothing. People want companionship,” said Tomoyoshi Inoue, 54, a professor of education at Kyoto's Doshisha University. “I don't know if I'd buy one, but I guess people are just lonely.”

Source: Japan Times, 2008-07-01

We pray that families still make various members of the family important even when apart--phone calls, emails, letters. We also encourage our lonely young and elderly friends with the powerful Word of God:
Lamentations 3:21-25 ¶ This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

God’s faithfulness towards us is new and fresh every day!

Have a great day and we trust loneliness is not a part of your day, but if it is, go to the Friend we can have in Jesus!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

January News and Prayer Requests

Ac 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

It is interesting that we often refer to this verse as Paul's call to enter Europe as a mission field and so it is. However, do we stop to think that no Macedonia man met Paul and his team at the dock when they arrived. No Macedonia man rushed to be saved when they began to preach in the first city, Philippii. In fact the first European Christian was a lady, Lydia. So where was that Macedonian man that Paul saw in his dream? I'm not sure if I have the answer to my own question. However I do know that when Paul got God's clear leading to a place to preach the gospel, he immediately endeavored to get there. That is what God is doing in the lives of many who are trying to get to the mission field in these financially challenging times. Please pray harder and give more so that more young people can not only endeavor but get to their field of service. Thank you for the many years of faithful prayers and support you have given us to follow our "Macedonian Call" to Japan.

January each year is usually a slow month for us with families concentrating on each other during winter vacation, no English classes until the end of the month and wintery weather that makes us want to either be inside or we are out shoveling! The Lord provided a special month
Getting the builtup snow and ice off our roof and deck.

for us in several ways, the first being we had an 18 year old young man with us for the month. Matthew Callahan is the son of Pastor Charles Callahan who has a church for the military in the Yokohama area on Honshu. Matthew's older brother had taken a 'senior trip' by joining us for 3 weeks in the fall several years ago. When it came Matthew's turn for a senior trip he asked if he could join us as well. Matthew hadn't experienced a snowy winter for a long time. Needless to say the shoveling was 'fun' for only a short time but he certainly willingly gave his strength and time to help us keep the heavy snow off areas that had to be cleared including our building and the two outlying buildings in Enbetsu and Horonobe. Matthew also has a unique hobby which he has become quite good at: the art of trick yo-yoing. His hands were constantly in motion when he had a few moments and he joined Ken in various opportunities of outreach both here We had a make it yourself sushi party before Matthew left.

in the home, in places we went, and the last week in schools. They worked up a biblical lesson especially for one of the tricks.
He also willingly helped Ken with a final project in the ongoing reformation of the kitchen area of our home. With his help the last step of getting the counters redone and a new sink put in was all completed, thanks Matthew!

Our month of opportunities with the unsaved we have been currently having studies with continued with fair regularity even though it was winter vacation. We are excited to see what the Lord is doing in Mirei Fukuda's, Motomi Minemura's, Hitomi Tsuzuki's and Dr. Mitsu's hearts. We only have one more time left with Motomi Minemura at this time because she leaves for at least a 6 month contract as a dentist in Vietnam. The Lord has provided a contact there though that we hope the Lord can use to further the work of the Gospel in her heart. We will also be connected with her via Skype so the connection will not be totally broken. Motomi told us recently her study of the Bible is a very serious one and one she cannot take lightly. She said she is afraid in some ways but doesn't want to stop studying either.

Mirei continues to come as she can when her husband (police station) has to work on Sundays. We still are praying about the timing of more questions into her concept of the Gospel and the truths she is hearing. She seems open but is not very verbal about it. We have been able to have her husband in the home on a couple of occasions and trust in time he might be willing to come with her. Miss Tsuzuki and Dr. Mitsu also continue to take the learning of English through Bible study to heart and we wait on God's plan for their lives and pray for each of these people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. It has been exciting to be here for these people and for this time period in their lives!

Our contact with Dr. Nao Nishino continues on an almost once a month basis. We had another weekend opportunity with her in January and she also continues to take the Word of God into her heart. There is a new twist to this story--she will be making a trip to the United States for a study on anesthesiology techniques in hospitals there. After a short visit to Canada where she did her home stay a couple years ago, she will be in St. Louis, Missouri for three weeks! We are praying that the Lord will put one or more Christians into her life while there which can continue the work that has been started here AND right after our arrival in the States for our short reporting furlough we will be driving right through St. Louis where she will have already arrived. We are trusting to spend the night in that city and be able to have an evening with her on our way from Kansas City to the east coast. She leaves the middle of February. We are praying that she would attend at least one church service if she has a Sunday off (many times interns don't) before she leaves.

We do have our trip to and from the States arranged for and continue to try and get the order of travel while in the States in place. We need to finalize some meetings, as well as finish several steps of preparation while here. Mirei Fukuda has a license to teach grade school children English so we have worked out a deal for her to cover our Teshio pre-school and grade school classes while we are gone that will allow some continuity to continue even though gone. She appreciates the opportunity to practice what she has seen us do and what she desires to try before actually getting a contract in the future in the public schools.

Health check-ups continue to have no change to them for Ken so we are thankful for that. Vicki is now consulting with eye specialists at the same hospital he had his surgeries to see if anything else can be done for her eye with the herpes virus. She is back on medications (drops, ointment-yes in the eye-, and oral) and we have to make the trip to Asahikawa once a week for a couple weeks for them to watch over the effects on the eye. The medications are quite powerful so one cannot avoid being checked regularly. Although the herpes damage cannot be completely healed and she will always have to fight this virus in her body, they are hoping that some of the damage to the cornea still can be repaired.

Thank you for your prayer support for these we are working with and for ourselves. We never take your prayers for granted. Don't forget that prayer support goes both ways and we would be happy to be informed of your needs too so we may remember you.

Prayer and Praise:

1. Continued health in spite of various things that have gone around through the schools

2. Salvation of believers' husbands and families and believers' baptism needed for ladies

3. Salvation of Miss Minemura, Miss Tsuzuki, Mrs. Fukuda (and her husband); Dr. Mitsu, Dr. Nishino

4. short furlough preparation

5. more healing in Vicki's eye (update since this was written: a little improvement so a stronger steroid has been started which also brings down the immune system. Praying for healing and prevention of other difficulties)

6. job and/or supply of Joshua & Alicia Appels' needs while still being youth pastor; leading for Richard and family in right pastorate for him; health needs in both families; supply of needs for Michael & Stacy

7. Jonathan and Heather Marks preparing to come and train with us and serve in Hokkaido!! Current training is taking place in Georgia. Also for Matthew Johnson to yet be able to come and in need of meetings

Serving Christ Together,

Ken and Vicki Mansell Just A Prayer At Night – your evening is our daytime

Ken with Miss Tsuzuki at the high school. She comes on Sunday nights for English Bible study.

from left to right: Mrs. Sonoda one of our faithful believers; Miss Tsuzuki, Matthew, Vicki, and Motomi, the dentist going to Vietnam.

We held a surprise birthday party for Ken and were able to have Miss Tsuzuki as well as another high school teacher, Motomi, and Mr. Fukuda (Akira) came with his wife, Mirei, too.

The fellas after they completed the counter project.

Dr. Mitsu who comes on Wednesday for study.