The Winters Family
August 13, 2020
After promising to send out a prayer letter in June, I failed to do so, and I sincerely apologize. We were stalling to see whether the situation with the Corona Virus would change in order to make a decision about the scheduled furlough in September. Unfortunately, the travel restrictions have not been lifted and there is no way to come to the States at this time. There are some exceptions to the travel ban such as family emergencies etc, but not for “nonrequired business travel” which is how the Japanese government has classified missionaries returning to the States for a short trip. Hopefully the furlough I had scheduled for September and October can be taken next Spring.
In our May letter, we asked for prayer regarding the purchase of land near our church to use for a parking lot. Thank you for your prayers. The owner did come down in price and we signed on the property at the end of May. We can park almost 10 cars right now, and we are currently building a retaining wall which will allow a greater portion of the property to be used for parking increasing the number of cars that can be parked to 15.
Ministry in Kitakyushu
As we also mentioned in our last letter, another church in our prefecture (about 1 1/2 hours away) contacted us regarding helping them for a while until a national pastor can be found. We have started going there twice a month on Sunday morning and changed our church services back to the afternoon. Next month, we will start going every week. The missionary that has been pastoring the church is nearing retirement, so we will be leading the church after his retirement until a pastor can be found.
Mr Hashimoto, who had visited our church off and on for the last 8 years, passed away last week and his unsaved family asked me to do the funeral. I have done 100’s of weddings, but no funerals, and so needless to say I was nervous. Because of the Corona virus, the funeral could only be attended by his family. Please pray for them as they grieve, and the Gospel seed that was planted in their hearts, as well as for us to be able to follow up with them.
Obon Buddhist Festival
Just before I sat down to write this letter, I saw my 80 year old neighbor walk down the street with a lantern and stood at the bridge that crosses the river entering our neighborhood. She was standing there to welcome and guide the spirit of her deceased husband, which according to Buddhist teachings, visits family from the 13th to the 15th of August. It is so sad to see people reject the Gospel and yet believe in such pagan traditions. I am so glad that I have hope because of Jesus Christ. Thank you for standing beside us through your prayer and support to allow us to remain here in Japan to share the Gospel.