Re-new year

Our deepest desire for this new year is for it to be one of renewal. We’re praying for a renewed sense of awe inspired by the gospel message, a renewed longing to be like Jesus, a renewed passion for Christ-centered, church-driven youth and family ministry to spread across Asia, and a renewed vision for how we can help.

Will you renew your commitment to this ministry as well? You’re our lifeline. Your partnership keeps us motivated, accountable, focused, and determined. More importantly, your prayers are the fuel behind what we do each day. They’re the engine that drives God’s mission (at least that’s what the Apostle Paul thinks):

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

– 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Japanese New Year is a major holiday here. Hatsumōde  (the first visit to a shrine) is an important custom. Most people go right after midnight on New Years to make their wishes for the upcoming year.
Japanese New Year is a major holiday here. Hatsumōde (the first visit to a shrine) is an important custom. Most people go right after midnight on New Years to make their wishes for the upcoming year.

A friend of ours recently emailed us because she wanted to teach her kids and some of their neighbors more about Japan, our ministry, and how they could pray. We’ve included her questions here with the hope that they might help you and your family to renew your commitment in this new year.

Q: What are your top prayer requests for your ministry but also for your area as a whole?

1. That God would raise up Christian men to serve as elders in his church (in our church and in all churches in Japan). There is a huge shortage of Christian men in Japan, and the number who are qualified to serve as leaders in the church is even smaller.

2.That God would provide Christian husbands for our female seminary students and other Christian women here. Over 70% of  Japanese Christians are female. Becoming a Christian in Japan could mean lifelong celibacy.

3. That God would cultivate a heart for the next generation within the members of the aging Japanese church. Japanese society at large is facing rapid gentrification. On top of that, many churches are losing young people to cram school, clubs, and various other activities that have become more important than corporate worship. Many of their parents were not raised in Christian homes and have a hard time figuring out how what it means to disciple their children. We need people in local churches who join us as we intentionally move toward these kids instead of letting them slip away.

4. That God would cause missionary kids across Asia to find their security and identity in Christ rather than their performance or assessment by their peers. They’re just like kids anywhere else, struggling with questions of purpose, belonging, and identity, and we want to help them find those things in Christ.

5. And then personally just for our family as we figure out how to adjust to a family of three and what effect that will have on our language study as we return to studying Japanese full time.

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Christmas program at our church – lighting candles and singing hymns
Saying goodbye to the Cain family - one of many sad goodbyes over the holidays.
Saying goodbye to the Cain family – one of many sad goodbyes over the holidays.
Q. Any fun cultural information (especially that an 8 and 11 year old will find fun)?
Most children here grow up eating seaweed for lunch
Kids as young as elementary school will ride the train by themselves even up to an hour across town (because public transportation is so easy and the cities are so safe!).
Japanese houses are very small – often the whole family sleeps in the same room together.
They have 3 different alphabets (one has over 5000 characters!) that they use to write.
If you met 4000 people in Japan probably only 1 of them would be a Christian!
Brooks practicing with some of our youth group for the Christmas program at our church.
Brooks with some of our youth group leading our church in some christmas songs and trivia for a Christmas outreach event at All Nations Fellowship.
Q. Can you send me a few Japanese words to teach the kids? 
“Good morning” is “ohayou” – pronounced “ohio”
Before each meal everyone says “itadakimasu” which is an expression of gratitude before meals – it sort of sounds like they’re saying “eat a duck he must”
My favorite word is “sometimes” which is “tokidoki” pronounced like “okie-dokie” with a T in front.
Quinn's passport picture valid for the next 5 years. The life of a missionary kid.
Quinn’s passport picture valid for the next 5 years. The life of a missionary kid.
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3 thoughts on “Re-new year

  1. What a precious baby!!! Of course, the two of you are not bad either! We pray you have a blessed New Year and that all these prayer requests will be answered fully. May God grant you both wisdom, courage, good health, and good time management! Love to you all, Sara and Jack Sanders

  2. What a FUNNY santa!!! White beard over black beard :-> Tooooo Funny!!! I bet that was a fun time! What a beautiful baby girl!!! She so looks like her daddy!!! Love you guys, Elizabeth Bailie

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