Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A New Team

As we go into the fourth year of the Hiragishi church plant, many changes lie ahead.  This will be our last year here as we move to a new role towards the end of this year.  Our former colleagues JP and Nora Koch have just gone back to Germany with baby Leo for home assignment, but plan to be back in Hiragishi early next year.  We had a student from the Bible College with us for the last church year (April to March) but she has now moved on to another church.  We are pleased though that we now have another student, Mr Sugimoto who will come here each week for the next year with his wife and baby girl.  And to complete the new lineup, we have just welcomed some new OMF colleagues, Richard and Catherine East along with their daughter Mari and baby Amy.  It's great to have co-workers to help us here in what are still the early stages of this church start.  Richard has been in Japan before for some years but after marrying Catherine in the UK, returned a year ago as a couple with (at that time) baby Mari.  They worked at another church plant during this last year covering for missionaries who were on home assignment.  The dynamics of our Sunday service have changed as we now have three young children here as well as our two school-age boys.  Over the coming weeks we will have the opportunity to talk, pray and plan together with the Easts as we seek the Lord's leading as to the future direction of the work here in Hiragishi.  Richard will become the leader of the church around the beginning of July.  We are looking forward to partnering with Richard and Catherine and excited to see how the church will begin to grow as the work of building on the foundation already laid continues.  We have just rented an office for the church in a central area right next to the subway station and have various ideas as to how that can be used beyond simply being a workplace for Richard (which it also is).  For us, as we have finished the double role of leading a church as well as OMF Hokkaido, we will hopefully have more time and energy to give to the church plant here and also to encourage and help the Easts as they settle in and develop their own thoughts and ideas.  We value your prayers for us as we work together in Hiragishi so that God may be glorified as this small church is built up. 

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