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.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Death Notebooks in Japan

Activities in preparation for the final stage of life are enjoying a quiet boom. These activities include taking photo portraits to leave behind, writing final thoughts and wishes in a special notebook and attending a workshop on how to write a will.

Experts believe that the recent rise in these activities reflects an uncertainty over the future that has taken hold since the emotional impact of the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. These preparations provide a candid approach to death.

“Please smile,” a photographer says to her client. “That's nice!” The photos will be used for portraits after death.

About 40 people in their 40s to 80s attended the photo session. It included a couple celebrating their golden anniversary and a woman in a hula skirt; each done up by a make-up artist according to their requests.

“So far, death has not been part of my daily life, but now I've decided to face it head on,” a participant said. “I'm not sure for what occasion a portrait of me would be needed after I die, but I want to leave one that depicts an expression that I like.” In addition to having her portrait done, she bought a ‘last notebook’ for messages to leave for her family. "As I gradually sort out my feelings, I'll fill in the notebook," she said.

A ‘last notebook’ is a book reflecting the final wishes of the writer, whether to disclose the nature of an ailment, feelings about a life-sustaining treatment or special desires for a funeral ceremony.

“These activities are an entrance to the last stage of life,” one of the workshop organizers said. “They give people an opportunity to figure out what they would like to do and feel they need to do before they achieve a positive outlook on life.”
Source: Yomiuri News 2012-07-27

One must be ready for life and then either life eternal after death in heaven or in hell...there is only one choice.  Christ said, "...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. " (John 10:10).  We can live life to the fullest when we have Christ as a part of our life.  " For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)  
What will you choose...A will and a living will are very helpful to those you leave behind but just to write words of hope and life in a book that has no affect on life after death will not help after you die--choose to believe the Words of Life from God's Book, the Bible and receive the gift of eternal life in heaven rather than eternal death in hell!  

March Prayer Letter 2013

A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.  Eccl. 7:1

In this our 30th year of service in Japan, we wish to honor churches and individuals who have supported this ministry during that time. This month we honor our prayer warriors.  Prayer is the most valued support a missionary receives.  It not only brings great power before the Lord of the harvest but it also is a great encouragement to know that there are those who faithfully pray for missionaries. There are so many prayer warriors God has given us over the years that it would be impossible to name them all.  Plus, we believe that there are many that we do not know of, yet they have humbly lifted us up before the Lord on a regular basis for which we are grateful.   Here we would at least like to honor three: Mrs. Clegg, Lowell Thompson and Mrs. Evelyn Gumm.  All three are with our Saviour now.  Mrs. Gumm, who was promoted to heaven last year, was a long time prayer warrior for us and so many others. We would see her in her favorite chair with her Bible open and her list in hand.   Her husband did our support reports for many years when we first came to Japan.  Mrs. Clegg prayed for us from the early days of deputation and also sent a true "widow’s mite" each month.  She prayed daily for a long list of missionaries and pastors.  That was her special mission.  Ken’s friend, Lowell Thompson, just went home to heaven last month.  This prayer warrior and man of God prayed faithfully for this and many other ministries.  We knew each other in church when we were quite young.  Although we did not communicate often through the years, he and his family faithfully prayed for us.  Thank you, Lord Jesus, for these faithful prayer warriors and others like them, who shall receive their reward for service from you.

This month marks the last month of a school year here which runs from April to March. Ken has attended all the local school graduations and with it has brought the opportunity to talk to principals, teachers and some parents.  It is hopefully also a month of spring weather returning but that was postponed quite a bit due to more snow storms. At least though, Mr. Moriyama’s job with the snow plows had slowed down enough he was able to be back in a church service with us. We were finally able to work out picking up the Filipino ladies from Enbetsu and having them with us as well on Resurrection Sunday for the a.m. service and dinner before taking them back for their dairy farm jobs.  Please pray that these young ladies and Mr. Moriyama will be able to come more often. 
Miss Tsuzuki remains faithful in either the a.m. or evening service with her studies.  We pointedly and lovingly asked her this month if she was ready to allow the belief she has in Christ to be turned into saving faith but she said although she understands she is still fearful of being ‘different’ than her family.  She needs continued prayer to come to an understanding that ‘fear’ will always be there but Christ will give strength, wisdom and grace to overcome and work in the hearts of her family as well.  We will patiently await the longed for date when she receives Christ as her Savior.
Mrs. Sonoda’s health continues to be a concern yet she faithfully attends each week.  We so long to see her relieved some of the symptoms which can lay her low so much of each month.  Thank you for praying for her as well.

Prayer Requests:

1.      Families of believers to be saved and baptism of believers

2.      Health of Mrs. Sonoda; salvation of her husband and father (father in poor health)

3.      Bible study with Hitomi Tsuzuki-her salvation; rehab and healing of her knee

4.      New inroads to be found into people’s lives and hearts; Mr. Moriyama, Miss Emi, Filipino ladies;

5.       March/April is a major transition in and out with jobs—praying for those that leave to have further Christian contacts and for new folk that come in and we may find ways of meeting them
6.   yen/dollar values; instability with North Korea

Praise God for 39 yrs of marriage this month with 29 of that here in Japan—

God’s blessings to us as a couple are innumerable!!

Serving Christ Together,   
  Ken & Vicki Mansell           
 Just A Prayer At Night – Your evening is our daytime!

Our next door neighbor's grand-daughter went into first grade this year--they hold kindergarten graduations.  This is Ayane in her kimono for that event. Vicki also made and decorated the cake for her. We moved into Teshio when her grandmother was pregnant with her mother.  Her mother, Tomomi made a profession when she was in high school but has fallen away from the Lord since she got married.  We pray that we can continue to reach Tomomi and her family.