Our team impatiently waited 2 years to travel back to Asia. In late April and early May we got our craving. It came with 3 weeks of traveling, ministry, learning, meeting new people, and connecting to reach Unreached People Groups. Our team purpose is to come alongside leaders and equip them to start gospel movements among Unreached People Groups (UPGs). Well, as you will see below, that is what we moved toward, 5 amazing opportunities in just 3 weeks. Through the pandemic we got acquainted with some key leaders and now was our chance to meet with them face-to-face and carry out some practical training for them. We were waiting for this trip to bust out and it certainly did. Now after returning to the US John and Elaine anticipate a busy summer visiting out west and then out east, this fall looks like possibly 2 additional trips to Asia including visiting in at least 4 countries. More opportunities come daily online and other opportunities are planned when we can visit in person.
FOCUS ON ASIA
1. In one Asian region our team provided training for 40 leaders from 8 tribal groups. These groups have long-term key contacts with Converge. Training for these pastoral leaders was in preaching, pastoral work, evangelism, and Bible study.
2. In another region an entire church network of 160 pastors gathered for several days to consider Gospel Renewal and Kingdom Vision for their local church ministries. We provided messages, times of reflection and application, along with practical training. The following weekend, one leader reproduced the gospel sharing and Bible study training in his church with his leaders!
FOCUS ON THE UNREACHED
3. We met with two missionary sending organizations, one interdenominational and another a denomination. One group of 200 churches is currently sending 25 missionaries to Unreached People Groups throughout the region. They want our team to help them do a better job in preparing, sustaining, and increasing their number. We met with leaders of another organization working with over 20 missionaries throughout the region.
FOCUS ON JAPAN
4. Being away from Japan after two years seemed like torture. We had to get special visas to enter Japan just for 6 days! (Even now Japan is still shut off to foreign visitors). While in Tokyo for one day, John was able to meet with Church Multiplication Vision Festa Coordinator Pastor Yoshiya Hari and Pastor Nagai and discuss plans for national strategy for planting 50,000 churches in Japan. We asked you to pray about the Japan Church Multiplication Vision Festival annual strategy meeting. Due to Covid it had to be postponed to May 30th to 31st in Nara Pref. and John just missed being there for it. The meeting was blessed with discussions on how to collaborate more in church multiplication. John hopes to be at the next Vision Festa in November this year.
5. John spent most of his Japan time in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture on Shikoku Island. He had never been there before, and one highlight was going to the famous Ritsurin Japanese gardens. John traveled with Converge MidAmerica President, Gary Rohrmayer, to meet with Japanese partners regarding some church property in the area. Pray for ongoing developments and for God’s hand to be evident and God’s wisdom to guide everyone.
FOCUS ON ELAINE’S WORLD
Elaine recently started a Japanese cooking class as an outreach in the Rockford area. Her Bible studies continue through the summer, though there is a break from the grandkids school routines. Beginning this month the adult Sunday school class at our church will use Elaine’s Grace for Everyday Bible study lessons into September. She will be traveling with John on the trip east to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky in mid-July. This month they celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary!