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.

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