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, 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!