Birth and Death

Adapted from Joyce Oshiro’s January 2019 prayer letter. Joyce (far left in photo) serves in her grandparents’ home country of Japan, where Joyce also grew up as a BMM MK.

Our last few months in Okinawa brought us several births and deaths I want to tell you about. First, a birth. On November 4, we had our first-ever baby shower. Our people had never heard of a shower, so our pastor’s wife explained it and did a great job leading it. Baby Simeon Ichiro arrived on November 26. May the Lord bless this family as they seek to live for Him here in Okinawa.

Passing into God’s presence

On November 5, I got an early-morning call that the 84-year-old dad of handicapped siblings I’d been teaching, passed away. However, I had been able to lead him to the Lord in July 2018, so he’d already experienced new birth! 

Another elderly lady, with whom I’d had monthly Bible studies for the past year, passed away in September, and we had a simple service for her on November 6. Several unsaved relatives came and heard the gospel, and one even came back for our Christmas service. We’re excited that her daughter, Yuko, who was also saved along with her last year, is now planning to move to Uruma and join our church!

The Lord took away her doubts

And now, another new birth! Twenty-one-year-old Saya was invited to church in August by two of our young people who belong to the same ping pong club. I began individual Bible studies with her, but she kept giving me reasons why she couldn’t believe. Then, while I was in the hospital for surgery, she attended an evangelistic service. The Lord took away her doubts and she accepted Christ! She’s already told her family and coworkers about her new faith, and I’m continuing follow-up studies with her in preparation for baptism. What a joy to see her coming week after week with questions on how to better live for Christ!

Safe in Jesus

One more November death was the father of our pastor’s wife. But thankfully, she was able to lead him to the Lord just the previous week! Her siblings had opposed her talking to him about eternity, so we prayed for the Lord to provide a witnessing opportunity. Then the hospital transferred him to a private room when no other relatives were present, so she was able to share the gospel with him, and he prayed with her with tears of joy. 

The message of life

On December 23, our church was packed with 52 people for our Christmas service! Half of them were visitors and included Mr. N, the unsaved father of our pastoral intern, Takashi. This was N’s first time to attend our services and to hear his son preach. Mrs. N sang a solo, and Takashi preached a wonderful evangelistic message. Please pray with us that the Lord would continue to work in Mr. N’s heart, and in many others who heard the true meaning of Christmas—our Savior’s birth, as well as His death for us. What a joy that through his death, people of all countries can receive new birth!