Greetings once again from Japan, where Spring has started to bloom after a record breaking cold winter. I had hoped to send out an update in early February, but something occurred that I thought I should include but wasn’t sure how to write about it. One of my good friends and a former roommate in Nashville, Zac, took his own life on Feb 7th. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, so I knew I should be prepared for the possibility that I might encounter such a thing here, but never did I expect to get the news about a friend who was one of the most encouraging and upbeat people I knew. It's a sober reminder that no matter how joyful someone seems on the outside, we shouldn’t assume they are without depression or torment on the inside. Please pray for Zac’s family as they go through this tough season, be mindful of those God has put in your lives and love well, and count your own blessings knowing there’s always a reason to be thankful and a reason to live. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
The last time I played on the Grand Ole Opry, I invited my roommates Zac (Left) and Vince (Right) as guests
As for news in my life, God is continuing to work behind the scenes to help me do what He’s called me here for. It is more evident with every seemingly random encounter with other missionaries and believers (literally bumping into them at unexpected times and places among the millions of other people in Tokyo) that God is guiding and moving in the lives of those He’s placed here, which is very exciting. I’ve made more connections among those in the creative community and am excited for the future of that side of my ministry, and we’ve been able to be minister more on the fellowship side of things by continuing to offer our house as a place for people to meet, and we also have become more involved with ICF (International Christian Fellowship) which meets twice a month at Musashino Chapel Center in Kichijoji, which is a great opportunity to share the Gospel, but also to encourage deeper connections among believers from different countries who are here for school. My wife and I have been helping there with worship and as group leaders in Bible study time, and we had a great meeting with William Wen, the new director for ICF, a couple of weeks ago to talk about some future opportunities to encourage deeper growth among believers outside of ICF.
Leading worship at ICF
Speaking of Musashino Chapel Center, they recently relaunched their cafe night ministry after a year hiatus as “Good News Saturday” in order to refocus on sharing the Gospel as opposed to just another music night, giving musicians (or anyone else, really) an opportunity to share their testimony. They asked my wife and I to be the first guest artists, so we gladly accepted and shared some of the new music we’re working on (as well as a couple of older songs) and used those songs to share our testimony. I specifically focused on striving for approval vs. accepting God’s approval in Christ, and according to comments by several people we talked to afterwards it seemed to be the message that people needed to hear. One song in particular, that Ai wrote and based on Matt. 6:26-34 seemed to really impact people. As this was our first time ministering together in this way, we were both very honored and thankful, as well as encouraged ourselves, and we are praying that the Lord would provide more possibilities for us to minister in this way with our music.
On the topic of new music, my main project these past few months has been working on an album of songs along with the other brothers and sisters in Christ at Wako Bible Chapel (the little house church that my father in law pastors). It’s been a fun project, especially seeing each person do a different part. One who writes lyrics, one who writes melodies, one who sings, one who records/produces, etc. Soon I’ll be employing some help from a couple of talented friends in Nashville to help finish up the project, so I hope to have something to share soon! I have some specific prayer requests for this record. Please pray that the Lord would use it to encourage and edify the church and individual believers here in Japan, as all of the songs lean heavily on scripture. On that note, please pray that this will help inspire musical and creative believers in Japan to start writing songs that are suitable for corporate worship and songs that are steeped in the truth of scripture and testify of Christ and all God has done. Most importantly, pray for these songs to be used for God’s glory here in Japan.
With wonderful friends and family at Wako Bible Chapel
Lastly, as spring arrives I’ve had some great photography opportunities lately, so I’ve set up a photog page on my site to share some of God’s beautiful creation here in Japan (with more to come as the cherry blossoms start blooming and the weather gets warmer). Please enjoy!
Thank you all again for your continued prayer and support for my wife and I as we continue to be faithful to the Lord here in Japan. May God bless each one of you and reveal His love to you more and more every day. Thanks for reading and please feel free to reach out anytime! I always enjoy hearing from friends back home.
Kyle and Ai