Over the course of this year, we've been working on an album of original Japanese worship songs and hymns along with brothers and sisters in Christ at the house church we meet at in Wako-shi (which my father-in-law pastors). It has been a joy to see everyone at Wako Bible Chapel using their individual creative gifts to make this project come together, and I’m happy to announce that the CDs have finally arrived from the pressing service! The record is titled "Shukufuku no Sakazuki" (祝福の盃 - Cup of Blessing). All of the songs were sourced straight from scripture and were written by Shin Hattori, one of the elders at our church, and melodies were written by my father in law Dai Masaki and my wife Ai. Shin-san’s wife Risa and his brother Yutaka created the album art (that’s Risa’s own Japanese calligraphy on the cover!). I produced and recorded in my home studio here in Higashi-kurume (and had a couple of friends in Nashville, Michael Ball and Galen Crew, lend their talents on drums and mixing, as well.) We will be sending this album out to churches all over Japan and some in the states and hope that this musical offering will encourage Japanese believers everywhere. My personal desire is to highlight the importance of creating art for the corporate Church that is sound in doctrine and rich in the Word. I shared this sampler in my last newsletter, but for those who may have missed it, please have a listen. If anyone would like to have a copy, please reach out and let me know. We’ll be glad to send you one!
In more music related news, last month I helped Japanese Christian singer Daisuke Yokoyama and his wife, Kazuko record a small Christmas EP. It's called "Advent" and there will be a CD release party on the 1st of December coinciding with the release (See below). I was musical director, did string arrangements and played mandolin on a couple of songs, as well. As I connect with Christian musicians here, my prayer is that God would use me to encourage them in their art. As I mentioned above, I have a heart to see creative believers in Japan actively seeking truth from the scriptures so that what they create is indeed truthful, glorifying to God, and is effective for teaching and admonishing those in the church (Col. 3:16). After working with Daisuke and Kazuko (and having known them for about a year) I see how they are both trying to be mindful of what they create and are seeking the scriptures for their inspiration. Please pray for more of this in Japan as art has a big influence on what people think about Christianity. You can hear clips from this project below.
Click here for more info on the Dec. 1st CD release show at The Playhouse Machida.
Our home is still being used regularly for fellowship gatherings and also for hosting visitors while they're in Tokyo. My wife and I both have a heart to facilitate fellowship among believers and give them a place to connect, grow and be equipped. We see a need for basic things that are lacking in many churches, such as prayer meetings, Bible studies and fellowship times outside of Sunday morning, so we are thankful that the Lord has provided a place for us to do this very important type of ministry. We believe that God will multiply the church when the church is strong, and that equipping the saints in their individual spiritual gifts will cause the growth that's needed for this to happen (in other words, not JUST outreach, but 'inreach' and outreach together.) I've started to understand my role as an "Apollos" who is called to water more than a "Paul" who is called to plant. We need more workers who are called to this sort of ministry here to co-labor with the ones who are already here working hard in the planting process. Please pray for the Lord to continue to connect us with the right people not only to minister to, but to co-labor with. Additionally, please pray for God's provision towards our financial needs as we hope to take out a loan to own the house we're renting so that we can continue ministering and do even more in that regard.
Finally, we are continually praying for God's guidance as we do a little bit of tent-making to make ends meet and continue in our ministry. I’ve taken up an English teaching job on Wednesdays and we are doing private lessons here and there, but our desire is to be able to minister full time if it’s God’s will for us as a couple. As this is a supported ministry through A.C.T. International, please pray for God to provide according to His will. If you’d like to help us continue to minister in the arts and in the midst of the body of Christ, please see my giving page here.
As each connection turns into an opportunity to minister, we are asking for God’s guidance and wisdom, trusting in His leading us in faith. We also are learning how to operate in His power as work and ministry take a lot of energy and time. We appreciate your prayers for us as we seek to be faithful stewards in the ministry He’s given us to do.
Kyle and Ai