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A Place in the Mountains

A Letter from Bill and Ann Moore, serving in Japan

Summer 2021

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Dear friends in Christ,

We write this letter to you during our week-long vacation in the beautiful and cool Japanese Alps. The month of August in many parts of Japan is oppressively hot and humid, so it is a blessing to leave bustling Kobe in western Japan and have a time of rest and renewal in a much cooler and quieter atmosphere.

The place that we have come to is Lake Nojiri in Nagano Prefecture. Over 100 years ago, a group of foreigners living in Japan envisioned a place in the cool of the mountains where their families could go during the oppressive humidity and heat of Japanese summers. Most of the founders of the Nojiri summer community were missionaries from various denominations and countries. In those days, travel was by slow ship, so returning to their home countries for a summer vacation or family reunion was out of the question.

After a careful search for a place or respite, they found an exquisite location in the midst of the Japanese Alps in northern Japan. What drew their interest the most was the large pristine glacial lake that was surrounded by beautiful mountains. The lake was large enough for small sail boating and excellent for fishing as well. Beside the lake was a village that was happy to have the visitors come so that they could sell their produce and build the cabins. The cabins were gradually built, and now there are many on a forested mountainside that faces the lake. To keep the cabins modest, there is a rule that a cabin may not be torn down and replaced by another. However, it may be restored if kept close to the original footprint.

The community at Nojiri is more than just a place to escape the summer’s heat and humidity. It is a place for spiritual renewal, encouragement and rest. Bible studies, as well as prayer and fellowships groups, are organized. Effective ways of sharing the Christian faith in the Japanese context are discussed. Other activities on Sunday mornings are set aside for Sunday School and worship in the large assembly building.

From the very beginning, the Nojiri community has been operated by members who volunteer their skills and time to keep the activities and management running smoothly. Popular activities for children such as swimming lessons, soccer, and craft-making are organized. Adults enjoy tennis and sailboat racing. Every year there is a picnic for all members and guests.

Originally, Nojiri community members were mostly missionaries, but now it has become more diverse. Many children who grew up going to Lake Nojiri have continued to return each summer whether they live in Japan or not. In addition, quite a few Japanese and others have become members. This diversity has enriched the community.

This year marks the centennial of the Nojiri lake community. Due to the COVID pandemic, the centennial celebration has been scaled down, and many members living outside of Japan cannot join us. However, those of us who live in Japan have come to the lake for rest and renewal. Masked and at a distance, we also meet our friends.

Despite the pandemic, our mission work in Japan continues. Most of our meetings are held on Zoom. It has now become the norm. While most private hospitals refuse to admit Covid patients, Japan Mission’s Yodogawa Christian Hospital continues to treat them with loving, tender care.

As always, we thank you for the prayer and support you have given us for many years. We could not be here without it.

In Christ,

Bill and Ann Moore

Please read the following letter from Sara P. Lisherness, the interim director of World Mission:

Dear partners in God’s mission,

I don’t know about you, but daily my heart grows heavier. News about the pandemic, wars, wildfires, gun violence, racism, earthquakes and hurricanes cloud my vision. It’s hard to see hope; our world is in a fog. Yet we trust that God’s light and love transcend the brokenness of this time.

God is at work transforming the world, and you, through your prayers, partnership and encouragement, are helping us share this good news. Thank you for your faithful and gracious support of our mission personnel.

How can we see through the fog? What will the church be after the pandemic? Could it be that God is doing “a new thing” and is inviting us to perceive it? Through all the uncertainty we know that God’s steadfast love and care for all creation will prevail and that God’s Spirit is at work in each of us.

We all have an integral part to play in fulfilling God’s mission. As we seek to grow together in faithfulness there are three important steps I invite you to take in supporting our shared commitments to God’s mission:
Give – Consider making a year-end financial contribution for the sending and support of our mission personnel. Your support helps mission personnel accompany global partners as together they share the light of God’s love and justice around the world. Invite your session to include support for mission personnel in its annual budget planning.
Act – Visit The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study to delve deeper into the work God is doing through the PC(USA) and its partners in ministry around the globe:
Pray – Include our mission personnel, our global partners, and our common commitments to share God’s grace, love, mercy and justice in your daily prayers.

Thank you for your faithfulness to God’s mission through the Presbyterian Church. It is my prayer that you will continue to support this work with your prayers, partnership, and financial gifts in the coming year. We hope you will join us and our partners in shining a beacon of hope throughout the world.

In the light of hope,



Sara P. Lisherness, Interim Director
World Mission
Presbyterian Mission Agency
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

To give please visit

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

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