Happy Spring! One of the volunteers says that everyday it is warm. And for the other days, well we just kinda ignore those days. Last week we had what seemed like the last bit of winter trying to stay around. With temperatures near freezing, it was definitely cold for a lot of the people around here. That is too say that all of our community members for 2016 have arrived. 28 students (participants, Training Assistants and 1 graduate intern), 8 volunteers (one from India, one from Germany and 6 from Japan) and 2 new staff members. Coming from abour 20 different countries and many more tribes beyond that, the ARI community has formed and just this past Monday the ARI training program started in full swing.
It was a joyuous occasion last Saturday when we held our opening ceremonies. Seeing people wearing their traditional clothes with pride while they introduced themselves in Japanese was quite a site! One woman who has had an influence in the life of Jonathan becoming a missionary, Dr Ruth Grubel, was also present and gave a very encouraging and challenging speech to both our students and those present for the ceremony. Our director though came through with a very deep reflection over the meaning of what we are doing here every year. Ms. Arakawa, the first Japanese woman to be the director at our institute, shared about one of our supporters who recently passed away. She shared his words with us that the staff and board had heard often. The existence of the Asian Rural Institute is a testimony. It is a reminder of what happened in the past and also is a sign of the redemption and reconciliation that God has and is working out in the world. We support this work as part of our own redemption.
We are not saved by anything we do, it is only through the grace of God. But we work out our own salvation as we are continually sanctified. This means that repentance as a confession and an act are ongoing. We continue to work out our Salvation, even as God has saved us and promised us a hope and a future.
As the Promise of Spring now comes into fruition we ask that you join us in believing and working out that promise. Pray for the participants at the Asian Rural Institute, that their learning here will be catalyst for lasting change in their home communities. Pray for wisdom for us and for all the staff. Also please continue to remember the people of Kyushu who struggle now with the horrible earthquake that struck last week.
Thank you and Happy Spring!
Pictures to come!!!!
That is the question that we are asking as we sit in the house at 10:30pm with the windows open contemplating whether to turn the AC on instead!
We have returned to Florida after a wonderful time in North Carolina and are on to our last stop in Florida. God has been good, surprised us in many ways and confirmed us in our ministry many times. Praise the Lord!
As we move forward and you continue to pray for us we ask that you would also pray for the people of Fiji. Whether you have heard or not there has been a terrible hurricane there that has caused havoc. We received an update from one of the missionaries there that I am linking here. Jonathan met him and the brothers in the picture below at a Missions conference in the Phillippines last year.
If you want to give financially I do not know anything yet but I’m sure if you check umcor.org over the next few days they will be able to provide information.
Wesley Neal’s update on the situation can be found HERE!
Well we didn’t quite make it up to West Virginia but we have been blessed to be in the Smokey Mountains here in Western North Carolina. Beginning our trip in Charlotte we were up in the mountains with the wonderful folks of Higgins Memorial UMC & over at Lake Junaluska and now have ventured a little East to Greensboro where we will be until the end of the week.
As we share about the ministry we are doing in Japan & at ARI, so many people come up after our sharing and thank us. We are grateful to serve but usually more humbled than not by how this ministry seems to entice and excite so many people. It really is wonderful the vision that God gave to the Japanese Christian Church, Rev. Dr. Toshihiro (Tom) Takami, & others. If you haven’t read about ARI’s history before, take a look at this link ARI History
As we keep moving we ask that you keep us in prayer as we continue to travel and share what God is doing in Japan. We will be in Florida again until the 2nd of March, then up to the Chicago area and from the 10th over to Oahu for our last leg. Prayers for safety and impact as we share about our ministry and ARI are much appreciated.
Thank you again to all who have welcomed us and we are loking forward to meeting more of you soon!
Jonathan & Satomi
Thank you so much Jim and Keitha Swaim and Higgins Memorial UMC for your welcome and Hospitality in COLDDDD North Carolina this past weekend!!!
After 14 years Jonathan met Pastor Michael Rich who was the pastor at Kobe Union Church when he was a student. Thank you for welcoming us to Lake Junaluska and showing us around!
With all the severe weather up in the North East of the US this past weekend we are thankful to be in Florida. The weather was definitely cold for Floridians, lows around freezing and highs not high enough for flip flops. We are thankful to continue to share with churches and people about our ministry. After Returning from Texas, we have been traveling around Florida. We’re posting dates for the next few weeks. If you are in that area you can let us know and we can try to connect.
Clermont January 26-29
Gainesville January 29
Tallahassee January 30 – Feb 2
Central Florida Feb 3 – Feb 11
Western NC Feb 12 – Feb 19
Fort Meyers Feb 20 – Feb 23
Palm Beach Feb 24- Feb 28
Some folks at the Florida Conference Center of the UMC with us in Lakeland.
Jonathan and Satomi with folks from Jonathan’s Home church, Ocoee Oaks.
Thank you Sebastian UMC for your welcome!
2 weeks since Christmas and the star is guiding us to Texas. We will be visiting some churches and supporters in the Dallas area from this Saturday and look forward to the new relationships and conversations that God has in store for us.
One of the best parts of itineration is meeting so many people that have been supporting us and those we minister to in Japan. Seeing faces, talking about what we do and what God is doing excites us and we hope encourages others so that we can continue to be in ministry in Japan.
If anyone will be in the Dallas area that we aren’t already planning to meet and want to meet with us, do let us know and we will try to work you in!
Now back to another couple of days with Jonathan’s family!
That’s how Simeon is introduced to us in the Bible. He was expectant of what God was going to do. That is our word as we move into 2016. Although we hear much about fear and the unknown, we await the promises of God. As our brother Simeon waited expectantly 2000 years ago, we do the same now. Maranatha!
Giving Tuesday is in 3 days!!!!
UMC #GivingTuesday 2015
Activate Love. Transform Lives. Change the World.
On Dec. 1, United Methodists will once again come together to support the work of Advance projects and missionaries on UMC #GivingTuesday. And once again, every gift made online through The Advance at http://www.umcmission.org/give on Dec. 1, 2015 will be matched up to $1 million.*
It’s almost time to double your money!!!!
If you are planning on giving towards Jonathan’s advance, his number is 3021131.
Anyone giving towards our project, the Asian Rural Institute, you are also encouraged to give on this day so that the impact can be doubled! ARI’s advance number is 220450!
Also Remember that this year it is Central Standard Time! So For the East Coast, (Most of Florida That will be 1am!!! Sorry it`s so late! Chicago and Pensacola that’s 12am, Californaia you’re at 10 pm I think and Hawaii that’s at 8pm!!!
For a complete list of projects you and your team can support, visit The Advance. (www.umcmission.org/advance)
– See more at: http://www.umcmission.org/Giving-Tuesday#sthash.TgebJ0jK.dpuf