In May, during the Golden Week holidays, our family attended a youth camp for three days. Sarah and Timothy as participants while John and I to help out with translations and anything else needing to be done. Over 20 young people from supporting churches of the Australian missionary family from the church hosting the camp came to help out. John and I helped out with translations during game time and being host and hostess for the meals. Sarah and Timothy thoroughly enjoyed taking part, listening to the sermons and special music, making friends with Japanese and Australians, joining a choir, and being around Christian young people.
On June 7th, John and Hannah left for Fargo, ND. John was there for a month visiting with our son David and his wife Bella, working with his father-in-law on KJV translation matters which Satan continues to throw up road blocks to the work, and visiting a few churches. Hannah’s adjustment to life in the USA has been going well and she was able to find employment. She has joined membership with Fargo Baptist Church and has been enjoying attending the church services and getting to know the people there. We are grateful that she has a church family. While John was gone, the rest of the family was hit with illness, but we thank the LORD for protection and a return to health.
Sarah and Timothy have been working hard to get Sunday School going again, but it has not been easy as children have many activities and private tutoring lessons that they are involved with on Sundays. Reaching children and young people with God’s Word is a very real need throughout the world. Please pray for these labors to bring forth fruit.
On August 9th, we held a Summer Bible Time. The theme this year was “What is Noah’s Ark?” Although attendance was lower than previous times, the Word that went out was well received and a good time had by all.
September brought unexpected weather to Hokkaido with typhoons, which usual do not occur as far north as the northernmost island of Japan. It also brought much damage to crops and flooding to Wakkanai… It was the worse flooding to happen here in over 50 years. We are grateful that there was no one hurt.
For close to a year, John and RuthAnna had been driving to Nayoro, a city 3 hours south of us, to teach English classes for a missionary family on furlough. The end of September brought this service for the LORD’s work in Nayoro to an end. We are glad to have been of help to the missionary family while they were gone and happy to see them back again!
Late October, we had the opportunity to attend the wedding of the son of a missionary family we know well. It was encouraging to see this young couple pledge their lives to each other before God and man!! May the LORD bless their marriage.
Twice in the autumn, we were able to visit with the Wada family who formerly lived in Wakkanai but now live in Sapporo, a 6 hour drive away. Two of their children have come to stay with us during summer vacation a number of times including bringing their friends with them a couple of the times. We have had many opportunities to share about God’s Word with them over the past 13 years. We continue to pray that their hearts will be open.
December our family was hit hard with influenza and lingering coughs. We are grateful that we recovered sufficiently to hold our Christmas Program on the 25th. Due to illness and not being able to get out and invite as many people as we usually do, attendance was low. It was good to see the adults who came stay behind and visit afterwards. May the Lord God bless his Word and may the Holy Spirit continue to work in the hearts of those reached with His Word. Disappointingly, we were unable to participate in caroling at a local kindergarten and nursing home because of illness.
Towards the end of December, a man stopped by unannounced on his way back home from a local hospital where his elderly mother had been admitted. She lost consciousness soon after and the son was quite distraught. He asked John to pray with him. We have not seen him again but continue to pray for them both. After talking with him we found out he was the one who had called the church in the summer when contemplating suicide.
We praise the LORD for the faithful attendance of several men to Sunday services. They seldom miss a Sunday and their desire to learn from God’s Word is very encouraging. We enjoyed visits from our nephew and a close friend over the past couple of months. It was a blessing to see them and fellowship together. We also appreciated being able to meet up with other missionaries in Hokkaido to enjoy fellowship, singing, good food and fun.
For our LORD’s glory, John and RuthAnna Mather with Hannah, Sarah, and Timothy
May we continue to encourage one another that our labor for Christ is not in vain despite what is or is not happening and what others may say.
1. KJV Bible translation work
2. Sunday School
3. Wada family
4. Building repairs needed
5. Continued safety and health