Dear Covienetters,

Asa professed her faith in our father God and the Son Jesus Christ as her Savior and the Lord, and was baptized at Okamoto Keiyaku RPC, Kobe Japan last Sabbath. Our congregation worshipped our Lord together with gratitude, and had the Lord Supper after the agape-lunch.

I want to ask your continuous prayer for her, so would like to explain how she became a Christian in this pagan society of Japan. I limit myself within the limit of information which is already public. But my writing is now in English and most of you who read this is living beyond the Pacific Ocean, so honestly I have a little more freedom to explain the facts than writing it to our people in Japanese, for the sake of my desire to request your concentrated prayer for her now.

She had much trouble in her life and came to our worship with despair in her life. She saw everything cynically. In that sense the Holy Spirit prepared her heart enough dry for the heavenly water.

She first time came to our prayer meeting in the fall of 1998, introduced by her former college teacher, Miss Takita, who has been an assistant professor of kindergarten music of Shoei Junior College in east of Kobe city. Miss Takita has been in charge of the religious development at this small liberal women's Christian college and been brushing up her conservative Biblical training at KTH. At that time I was giving exposition of Eccl. of OT every week at our prayer meeting. In God's providence, she encountered the word which directly hit her problems. The Holy Spirit instantly had convinced her that the word of God was truth. She was seized by His spirit, but her struggle started from there.

She did not come to the worship because she hates "fellowship". She went away immediately after the worship. Her favorite was sitting in the prayer meeting and hearing the word, since there are fewer people, my family plus four or five. Her trouble of life had continued. We started the preparatory study for her adult baptism, but she was clear about God's word and the idea of one God, and also about sin of human being, but not ready to profess faith in Jesus. She quit coming to the church for about two years. Miss Takita's counseling has continued. Miss Takita was always open and firm in love.

And she showed up again last year, and we restarted our class. We counted 45 sessions for two years. She wanted to be baptized more clearly. She began to express clearer resolution of trusting her life in the Lord. And she began to stand firm and wanted to be consistent to God's word in her life. We began to talk about her baptism last summer.

But the temptation came to her. She fell in love to a non-Christian man and eventually ignored the warning. The baptism was postponed.

She moved to Hokkaido, the northern island, where the man moved into as a superintendent of a small hospital. He was a doctor. He also had problem in his life. She was his patient before he moved to Hokkaido, and, in spite of our warnings, she visited him several times for her special medical treatment using Chinese medicine, then eventually she began to live with him there.

But then, her conscience seemed to hurt keenly and had become demanding to obey God's word. She took him to the nearby evangelical church which I introduced, and they both began to worship there. It was his first time experience of the church. They married officially, following my advice, though there was no ceremony at the church yet. He began to prepare for the baptism at Kitami Grace Evangelical Church(OMF Mission), and she had been coming to our worship in Kobe by airplane once or twice a month. It is from over 1000 miles away. Her heart was so thirst in His word and the worship here.

The church over there approved his confession of sin as well as profession in Jesus, and decided to have adult baptism for him on April 20th. She wanted to be baptized at our church, and our session examined and accepted her profession of faith. Our elder wrote in the record that her strong desire and need of the Lord Jesus was clear for us through the interview. Both came to our worship on April 6 from Kitami city, Hokkaido, and she was baptized. It was hard for me to control my emotion during the baptism, since to see the work of God's hand is the best thing we can experience in our lives. The Lord has touched her and saved her.

The couple flew back to Hokkaido, but there was heavy snow over there and the airport was closed. The airplane touched down in Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido, and they took train for six hours to go back home. She e-mailed me from the coach that everywhere was snow, though it is spring. And she wrote that she was glad that she is sure that she finally came out from old sinful self. It was a consolation for me, my wife and my congregation.

But the spiritual battle continues. I beg your favor to pray for her, and for this new Christian family. Both just recently started regular devotion habit Please pray for their prayer life and family worship. May the Lord protect her from temptation and more and more cleanse her from sin. Pray the same for her husband, Hiroshi. Make her and her husband, a medical doctor, to become consistent to the Bible in their life. Pray for their church life. She feels difficulty in worshipping without the Psalter. Their parents are living close to my church, so there is possibility of their coming back to Kobe in future, if the Lord's willing. Our church plans to start sending our audio sermon message through internet. It might help her spiritual life, since her faith started from hearing the very word of God. Expository sermon there seems not enough for her in quantity. She has continuous pain in her body, so please pray for the sure, too.

Please pray that she becomes another warrior of the faith in Jesus in our land of Japan, witnessing the Lord's wholistic cure, though she had been a small broken vessel.

Thank you very much for your patient reading.

Sincerely in His service,

Shigeru Takiura
Pastor of Okamoto Keiyaku RPC,
Japan Presbytery RPCNA