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A letter from Barbara Easton in Japan

June 19, 2012

Dear Friends in Christ,

Yodogawa Christian Hospital Church

How are the signs of the season with you? At Kwassui Women’s University we are now past the midpoint of the first semester, which started April 1, or even March 31 in reality if thinking of meetings. With the American school year closing when we really are still getting started, the differences in rhythm can feel somewhat disorienting. Particularly at this time I feel the value of being connected, and your prayers and financial support in our larger connectional church family are appreciated even more than usual. Do you know that this year Presbyterian World Mission is celebrating 175 years of international mission by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church? Let us rejoice to be participating in God’s wondrous works. Apart from your generosity, World Mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) cannot respond adequately to God’s call upon us all.

Japanese are proud of having four seasons, and officially this is still Spring for another couple of days, but the regional rainy season that continues for several weeks has been spreading across most of Japan since about June 8 (sooner in Okinawa to the south). It is unclear whether this is still the end of Spring or rather the beginning of Summer. A typhoon is just missing Nagasaki today. As the humidity rises to over 80 percent, students and teachers find it harder to concentrate on learning, but we try to persevere.

Recently my sister, also a teacher, asked if I have been on vacation since mid-May as this Spring has involved me in an unusual amount of travelling, but it has all been related to work, and missed classes have to be made up. In mid-May Presbyterian mission co-workers from the Asian and Pacific region gathered in Indonesia for a period of study, worship, and sharing together. It is always inspiring to learn about what God’s Holy Spirit is leading people to do in other places. As you may be reading, in the Mission Yearbook of Prayer the focus for the next few weeks is on our mission work for Jesus Christ in this region of the world.

After less than two days back in Nagasaki, recovering from flu-like symptoms I brought back from Indonesia, I was off to Osaka for a meeting of Japan Mission, with Presbyterian World Mission director Hunter Farrell and Asia-Pacific area coordinator Mienda Uriarte as guest participants. The agreement for future cooperation that was affirmed at that meeting has been publicized in a press release this week that can be accessed online at http://www.pcusa.org/news/2012/6/17/major-agreement-reached-reaffirm-purpose-japan-mis/  

Next, within Japan, it was time for the regular May meeting of the board of directors of Fukuoka Jo Gakuin, where the bylaws require a North American missionary to be one of the members. It is a younger sister institution of Kwassui, started by one of the first two missionaries who came to Nagasaki in 1879 to establish higher educational opportunities for Japanese females. Then June began with a meeting in Tokyo of people from Japanese Christian educational institutions with Methodist heritage under the sponsorship of the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities in Japan, which includes Kwassui. It was agreed that Christian educational institutions, especially the smaller ones, could benefit by developing some joint educational programs and exchanges.

Finally, in mid-June there was the regular meeting in Osaka of the board of directors of Yodogawa Christian Hospital. Attending the meetings at our Presbyterian hospital is one of my more enjoyable administrative duties, as it is obvious that God is at work in the hospital for Whole Person Healing, starting each day with morning chapel service. We can rejoice because the beautiful new hospital facilities have been completed, ahead of schedule. People connected with the hospital are making great efforts to be ready for the move from the old to the new on July16. Although the rainy season may not yet have ended at that time, it is a national holiday (Marine Day) and we pray that with God’s continued blessings the transition will be achieved relatively smoothly. It is evident in the whole process of construction that God has been watching over this work. Please join in giving thanks to God through Jesus Christ that many people are receiving blessings through the services offered at Yodogawa Christian Hospital.

Like many people, I actually prefer being in the classroom to doing administrative tasks. After five weeks of various kinds of excitement I am well pleased to stop travelling for a while and focus on teaching about Christianity and English, although meetings of course continue on campus. Wherever you are and whatever you are called upon to do for Jesus Christ, please know that it is all for his sake and the results will be used by God for God’s purposes.

Let us pray joyfully without ceasing!

 

Barbara Easton

The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 200

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