From the Superintendent's DESK
The presence of the Lord was very sweet as Director of East Asia Work, Bill McKibben, and his wife, Lori, met this past weekend with the saints at our church in Kawasaki, Japan. This was the McKibbens’ first visit to Japan in four years due to the strict travel and quarantine restrictions during the pandemic. They arrived on Friday, July 28, and were greeted at the airport by the new pastor, Yoshiki Ohno, who was ordained during this year’s Portland camp meeting.
The next day, they were privileged to attend the official engagement ceremony of Brother Ohno and Rei Takahashi, who also attended the Portland camp meeting. This ceremony has a long tradition in Japan, but for Christians has been adapted to emphasize God as the author and sustainer of marriage. It included encouraging words to the couple from those present, prayer, and an exhortation from Scripture. It closed with a solemn pledge from the couple to seek God and remain pure until the marriage ceremony. Afterward, Brother Bill stated, “In Japanese culture, less than two percent claim any form of Christianity, so the potential of establishing a Christian home is certainly cause for rejoicing.”
On Sunday, the McKibbens arrived at the church early to find children preparing for Sunday school. They said that saints they had met on previous visits began to arrive, and greetings were heartfelt after the long absence. The morning service began with Masahisa Mashimo welcoming all and leading the congregation in several songs. Then, a clarinet and French horn ensemble played a lovely number before the reading of the Word from Hebrews 11:1-6. The message was taken from Jude 3 with an exhortation to contend for the same faith that was brought to Japan over sixty years ago by Apostolic Faith missionaries. A lasting faith was another cause to rejoice, and the time of prayer following was very sweet.
In the afternoon, a Board of Directors meeting was held to discuss potential future building improvements. Then, the McKibbens attended the afternoon English language Sunday school session, a program recently started by Brother Ohno. To finish the day, they gathered with the saints at a nearby restaurant for a time of joyous fellowship.
On Monday, the McKibbens departed for South Korea where they will attend the camp meeting, which begins on Thursday, August 3. Our prayers are appreciated for the saints in Japan as they share the wonderful news of the Gospel, as well as for the upcoming camp meeting in South Korea.