Saturday, March 10, 2018

UNFINISHED

Musashi-Kosugi, Japan  (new church plant location)
I had no idea things would pile up so fast. Wasn’t it just Christmas?

In the thick of church outreach activities, message prep, meetings, people needs, and countless Bible studies, I ignored the growing stack of unfinished work on my desk. “I’ll get around to all that when things settle down after Christmas,” I figured. But the stack grew, until it occupied parts of my floor, too. My digital inboxes were filled with urgencies. And little emergencies kept cropping up.

Come mid-January, I was in deep clutter. “Where did all this work come from?” I muttered. I consider myself pretty neat, but messy stacks were piled precariously around me like a bad Dr. Seuss illustration. I like finished projects, so this was all very stressful!

Even as I still deal with my personal catch up (in time for Easter?), I realize there is a greater unfinished task to be done. I live in the middle of it.

It’s ironic -- or perhaps necessary for my discipleship -- that God would put someone that likes neat, finished things into the middle of the World’s Biggest Unfinished Task in mission history. Yes, I’m talking about Japan. Japan’s 99% without Christ is one BIG unfinished project in missions for the church -- that’s you and me both.

We may never finish the task of evangelizing the 99% of Japan. Even through a multiplication effort of the entire church in Japan, many will choose to live without Christ. But there’s a part of the task we CAN finish:

We CAN plant an evangelical church witness in Tokyo’s growing urban centers -- starting with Musashi Kosugi (photo above). This is finish-able! If the world can add all that infrastructure and all those people to that tiny area, surely God’s people can add a mission outpost and church planter. Or do we think -- like I did with my unfinished tasks -- that “we’ll get around to it when things settle down” ?

We invite you to consider investing in a new church work in Musashi Kosugi, as a church, family, or believer that loves Japan. May we ask that you first help underwrite the monthly financial support of a local church planter (that’s us) for Musashi Kosugi? You may use WorldVenture's online giving here.

You might prefer to give toward our “Musashi Kosugi Project.” In the days ahead, we’ll share more, but you may give any time through WorldVenture and mark it “MK church seed fund.”

By the way, at the end of the day, and in the middle of my unfinished work, I am so glad to rest in the FINISHED work of Christ at Calvary!

We envision a version of this with 1st floor “store-front” space for outreach ministries and new church to gather, and living space above for ourselves/staff. 

This vision is so beyond our power. Please pray God will open up a house that can be renovated or cheap land that can be built on, and provide needed financial resources.


Monday, January 1, 2018

A "Barky" New Year?

Wan Wan!    

Ah, 2018. The year has only begun and it's already going to the dogs!


Today, January 1st  (1/1), can be pronounced “wan-wan” in Japanese. “Wan-wan” happens to be the way that dogs bark in Japan. (And all this time you thought they said “woof-woof,” right?)

Perhaps it’s appropriate that the year begins with a couple barks. After all, 2018 is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese (& Japanese) zodiac. Japan knows how to market this idea. Dog-themed ads, products, foods, stamps and greeting cards are everywhere. And our local pet shop has a great discount on Shih Tzus (while supplies last) this first week of the year.

But wait! Is it really THE YEAR OF THE DOG? 
The Bible says that it’s actually “THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOR


v18 "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 

v19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."    Luke 4


Jesus, quoting from Isaiah 61, pointed to the fulfillment of the prophecy in himself. Because of Christmas. Because he came. This would now be a favorable year! Jesus was not referring to a calendar year of 365 days, but an era of time during which man can be redeemed by His work at Calvary’s cross. This year, 2018, and every year until the rapture of the church, is an era and year of God’s favor! It is a year of possible forgiveness in Christ, and hope for this life and eternal life to come!

But how many Japanese will know that 2018 is anything but the year of the dog? Frankly, very few. In fact, 99.5% percent have no idea. We have to tell them the year can very different!

While it is still the year of the Lord’s favor, and before this era of time comes to an end, we are all entrusted with good news to share with our world. Kaori and I believe God would have us to preach this good news and “proclaim the year of God’s favor” in Japan. It is this conviction that moves us forward here in the year ahead of challenges and blessings.

So, thank you for sending and supporting us in this work! Your confidence in God to work through us in Japan is encouraging and humbling!

If you would like to become a support partner with us in 2018, it’s really easy to do, and it’s a really critical time for us in our start of Vision 2020. In 2018, we’d like to be fully supported again for this work. We’re making progress, but still need monthly commitments. Click here to begin, or here for more details. Pass this along.

God bless you in 2018, this year of His favor for the world. Happy New Year!


Kevin & Kaori Laverman


P.S. Cats really rule as pets in Japan. (And wait until you hear what they say in Japanese. Hint: ニャーニャー)