And hello August! It’s hard to believe fall is just around the corner. Earlier this year I mentioned taking a course and an exam to become a certified travel agent (CTA). While there is a few more administrative items to take care of before I can “officially” start booking travel as a CTA, I am excited to announce that last month, I completed the course and passed the exam!
In other news, The University of Tennesee reached out to us this week asking if CHN could put together a team of people willing to work the concessions during the UT football games and 10% of the proceeds would go to our mission.
This of course depends on our ability to provide volunteers. There are 8 home games and our goal would be to represent CHN at all 8 games.
- September 2
- September 11
- September 18
- October 9
- October 16
- November 13
- November 20
- November 27
If you or anyone you know would be willing to volunteer for 1 of these dates, we would be so so grateful! Volunteer teams will be between 4 and 14 people. (Minimum age requirement is 16 years old so if any of your kids or grandkids need volunteer hours for school or sports this could be an excellent opportunity for them.)
We are currently seeking donors to participate in our matching gift campaign. This would be a commitment of $5,000 to be donated during the year of 2022. This could be from a small group, church, Sunday School class or individuals. Would you prayerfully consider this opportunity to support CHN?
Japanese Christians pray for mission opportunities in Olympics without spectators
ARTICLE BY: JONATÁN SORIANO | EVANGELICAL FOCUS EUROPE
Three evangelical leaders in the country share their impressions about Tokyo 2020. ‘1 Million Hours of Prayer for Japan’ is one of the initiatives to bless the country during the Games.
A survey published in May by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun showed that over 80% of the population of Japan was not in favour of the celebration of the Tokyo Olympic Games in this pandemic context.
In the last weeks, images have been seen of groups of protesters calling to put the Olympic event on hold due to the increasing numbers of Covid-19 infections. Among them was Kayoko Takahashi, a 53-year-old citizen who tried to extinguish the Olympic torch with a squirt gun.
Not even the last-minute formula of celebrating the competitions without public, seems to have helped to ease the disagreements in a country with over 4,000 daily infections, according to the Our World in Data platform.
“Right now we have a critical situation, especially the capital area: the Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, and Chiba prefectures. The rate of infections is quite high if compared to the last year and we as a country are in the 5th wave due to the delta variant”, Takahito Iwagami, a pastor of Immanuel General Mission and a leader of the evangelical churches in Japan, told Spanish news website Protestante Digital.
Churches not divided over the Olympics
The debate around the celebration of Tokyo 2020 does not seem to have divided the Christian communities in the country, according to local evangelical leaders. “This issue has not affected the churches a lot. It is rare for Japanese churches to take a certain stand about a social issue such as this”, says the Office Administrator of the Japan Evangelical Missionary Association (JEMA), Atsuko Tateishi.
“Of course, each church has some who are for the Olympics and others who are against them”, she adds. “Different opinions are tolerated, and they do not have a dividing effect within a church”.
The pastor of Immanuel General Mission agrees that “not all Japanese Christians are welcoming the Games. However, anti-Olympic feelings in the Covid-19 situation are more like personal responses”, says Iwagami. “There is no official statement against the Games issued among the evangelical churches in Japan”.
He adds: “Some Christians are very concerned that the Tokyo Olympic Games might become a super-spreader event. But Japanese Christians wait and see how it goes”.
An opportunity for mission?
In the past, the Olympic games have been a great opportunity for both local churches and international mission agencies to intensify their evangelistic efforts in the city that hosts the Games. But the decision of not allowing public during the competitions has changed the scenario.
“Japanese evangelical churches and organizations are supporting the ministry of the Japan International Sports Partnership for the Tokyo Olympic Games”, explains Iwagami. “They are organizing a prayer movement among Christian churches in Japan”.
“As we have almost no opportunities to actually meet and to get to know the Olympic athletes, our focus is now on prayer”, underlines Tateishi. Some of the initiatives that have been organised are the 1 Million Hours of Prayer for the Olympic Games, daily online prayer gatherings, special Bible reading plans through the YouVersion app, and the publishing of specific materials for athletes and fans, such as the Olympic Bible and Manga comics with a message about sports and the gospel.
An evangelical pastor in the city of Tokyo who also responded for this report but preferred to remain anonymous, added: “Due to less personal encounters with people caused by not having spectators in the games, I think the spiritual impact will be reduced. But this provides believers with more time to pray for Japan and the people of Japan. We may see the spiritual outcome after the Olympics as the Lord answers our prayers”.
Lakeside Oasis is a private suite of two awesome bedrooms with a private bath. Included with the suite is a private breakfast nook opening onto a huge screened porch and magically beautiful landscaping – relaxation is guaranteed! Although not a swimming lake, enjoy fishing from the dock, or choose a hammock, three swings or rocking chairs for your chill zone. This beautiful setting, including our neighborhood, will help provide a much needed escape!
The space with an open floor plan, this immaculately maintained 1900 square foot home is very open with massive windows and tiled floors through out with carpeted bedrooms. The 720 square foot screened in patio porch is open to the lake and woods. It has a swing, several tables and an outside lounging area! Come on in and sit a spell! Make yourself to home!
I was reading a post shared by a relative the other day and wanted to share it with you. Here it is below with some modifications and additions of my own.
A group of women were studying Malachi ( how many of you have done that lately) and in chapter 3 there is a verse that talks about God sitting in His place ‘as refiner and purifier of silver.
They tossed it around a bit in discussion but one of the ladies wanted to delve a little deeper as to how those words underscored the character and nature of God …. so she made an appointment with a silversmith.
She asked him if she could actually watch the process of taking a lump of metal and make it into something useful. He said he would be happy to have her watch and began the process by holding a piece of silver over the fire and letting it heat up. He also added that it was important that the fire was hot enough to burn away any impurities.
As she continued watching him her mind drifted back to the scripture in Malachi that said ‘God sat’ as a refiner. She asked the silversmith if he sat in front of the fire the whole time that the silver was being processed. He replied that not only did he have to sit there but he had to ‘keep his eye’ on the silver so that it wasn’t damaged by the intense heat.
“How do you know when the process is complete,” she asked?
He smiled and said, “That’s the easy part. When I see my reflection in it.”
That thought flooded my mind this morning as I read Psalm 11 in The Message… these words in particular: God’s business is putting things right. Setting us straight.
Once we’re standing tall, we can look Him straight in the eye. His refining process ‘sets us straight’ so that we can ‘stand tall’ and do what? Look Him in the eye and gaze in the brilliance of His face reflecting His glory! Why? So that our lives may disperse some ‘light’ in this very dark world.
But how do I get there?
It is simple, but hard. We get there through His refining fire. Our good Father cares enough about His children that He disciplines, chastens and humbles them even if it means causing a great deal of stress and pain. The same thing we do to our own children, right? Why? Because we love them beyond measure and truly only want what is best for them. The refining process is not only critical, but necessary. If we don’t we all know too well the outcome of the path of an undisciplined, unfettered child. It is heartbreaking.
Secondly, when He sets us straight, whatever form of ‘heat’ that looks like….. He is not unaware and He is not a casual observer— He is intensely watching the work that He has started in us and He will see it through to its end. There is great comfort in that promise.
Thirdly…… He will never leave us. Never!! This promissory note is not crypto-currency. It is a promise that you can bank on time and time again. Trust me on this one. He will never leave you.
Then finally, when refined, we can stand tall. Stand tall, look Him in the face and reflect His glory. He will then bind up our wounds, pat us on the back like a proud Father and say, “well done, my child…. well done”
Father, “let us arise and Christ will shine on us.” Let your image be greater in me than my own. Amen.