Wednesday, December 23, 2009



I love December for several reasons. One, this is the month we celebrate CHRISTmas and my wife’s birthday too. Two, there’s something special in the air. I don’t know if it’s the cold spell of winter or the prospect of “crossing over” to the New Year. There is something mysterious about it that reminds me of times past. Three, I definitely love the Christmas carols and music that I hear around this time of year.

Speaking of Christmas carols/music, I have several CDs at home that I play alternately. I listen to jazz renditions to the classical and even Filipino Christmas medleys.

Before I go further, let me say a MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and a BLESSED NEW YEAR TOO! We don’t know what the next year awaits us. I am just privileged to have these few words directly expressed to you. Just bear up with me. It’s from my heart.


The past weeks were busy more than the usual. We had been to special Christmas-related gatherings and meetings. For the first-time also since we ministered to the Assembly Kyoto Church, we (my wife) initiated a Nativity play with her English students as the main characters. We praise the Lord for the beautiful outcome and the good turn out especially of the children’s parents. We are also grateful to the many hands from AKC that extended help to make the said event a success.

One other big event coming up is the Christmas Eve Candle-light Service that we hold each year. We have a slightly different program planned for this year and also, we have the Gospel Choir singing for us. The service begins at 19:00 (or 7:00 PM).


I will be sharing a message on Isaiah 9:6 for our Christmas Eve Service. It says, For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. 
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

For Sunday, December 27th, we will reflect on the account surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ and about the lesser-known characters of the same event.

May you have a truly meaningful celebration of Christmas!!!


Pastor Joseph

Friday, November 20, 2009

Time Flies So Fast


After our Missions Month in October, we have a series of big events this month namely, our host Japanese church's 62nd anniversary and the African Night. The former event featured Pastor Hisoka Murakami as the main presenter of the church's vision for next year and beyond. His associate pastor, Satoshi Nagasawa challenged the congregation to support the church's outreach ministries especially in Kyoto City's university campuses. Likewise, my beloved wife, Jo Ann also painted in words the things God is doing in and through our English ministries particularly the international service, the English language classes and the Bible classes at church. The event was prolonged, but the sushi afterwards was worth the wait.

The African Night was a huge success, if numbers were the gauge. The turn out was really good last November 15th. Our brothers and sisters from Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe led the worship service. Their songs (some were in English, Zulu and Swahili) were definitely fantastic. The food they served were savory, delicious and truly African! I wish they do it again:) Bravo zulu to Patroba, Kepha and his wife Sarah, Vimbai, Naomi, Leena and Keith.

There were many others who worked behind the scene. Thanks Masako-san, her daughter and Ena Garcia for the decorations; Fukui-sensei and Halka-san for the translation; Cerrone for the technical assistance; Numata-sensei for the reception; and, a number of significant others who worked in the kitchen, fellowship room and in the lobby. Glory to God!!!

What's next?

Actually on Sunday, November 22nd we are holding our own version of THANKSGIVING. Yes! We are preparing a special program on that day not only for the worship service, but also for the fellowship afterwards. It's suppose to be a secret, but it may be difficult to hide a roasted turkey on the menu. I don't need to say more except that we want you to be there and be prepared to share the things you are thankful for. This may come quite belatedly, but the cost of the food is 500 yen per person;)

God bless!

Monday, November 2, 2009

An African Night

How much do you know about Africa?

What images of Africa do you have?

Do you fancy yourself going to Africa?


The Assembly Kyoto Church



African Night

You are invited

to join us in celebrating the

people, culture and continent of Africa

        When: 15 November 2009, 5:00p.m.

Where: Asssembly Kyoto Church, Kyoto-shi, Shimogyo-ku, Nishishichijo, Nishiishigatsubo-cho 38 Tel.No.: 075-311-5193 Food cost: 200yen(Please pay as you enter)

Meet new African friends, enjoy their music and taste authentic African dishes.







Friday, October 23, 2009

Look! It's Harvest Time


October is harvest time in Japan. It’s amazing that God uses many people to bless us with farm produce even though we live in the city and don’t own any land. We’ve received rice, sweet potatoes, apples, and chili peppers to name a few.
This month is also a good reminder of the harvest we are suppose to be doing – the harvest of souls in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Thus, we have introduced our annual Missions emphasis month at the Assembly Kyoto Church since 2007.

This year, our messages are not only centered on this ministry. We are doing some practical applications too. First, we identified several missionaries now serving overseas. We communicated with them and asked for information on how they are doing personally, in their ministries and as a family. We made it a point to introduce them to the church during the services and to also pray for them. The congregation also prepared letters/cards of encouragement for them.

We also encourage everyone to increase their giving. As an international congregation, we prepare “sacrificial meals” after every worship meeting. Those who join are then giving donations that they have decided in their hearts.

In the last few weeks, the Philippines experienced extraordinary battering of typhoons that killed, displaced and traumatized many people. The church has decided to support ministries that help those most affected. From October 18-25, we are collecting and packing relief goods to be sent to various places in the Philippines. We are looking at ten big boxes of supplies filled with clothing, food items and other basic necessities.

The month is not yet over and we will keep on talking about prayer, missions, giving and personal evangelism. We are exhorting our flock to make missions a part of their daily life. We are also featuring a missionary couple attending our service to give a testimony about the challenges and joys of doing missions.

Click here for the link on the music video of the song, “You Said” on You Tube:

“He (Jesus) told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Luke 10:2, NIV

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Latest Updates


25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:25-34, NIV).



Pastor Gani Sison (Chair, IT Leadership Team/CEO, ITP) together with his wife, Edith (IT-East Asia Leader) concluded their trip to Japan on a high note. After spending several days in Nagoya Prefecture, they arrived in Kyoto City on the 21st of September and wasted no time in meeting with International Teams field missionaries and their host churches represented by the churches’ pastors and their wives.

The guests saw first-hand the ministries that the missionaries are engaged in and the potential for growth even as the local pastors pledged to accept more missionaries into their fold. IT-Philippines has sent a couple in Nagoya Prefecture, a family in Kyoto City and two other families in Hyogo Prefecture.

Pastor Gani also preached in the evening service before the AKC International Congregation on September 27 encouraging the believers to look into the future with hope by citing the passage in Jeremiah 29:11 and telling stories of God’ miracles.

The Sisons flew back to Manila on September 29.


On September 24th, our dear sister in the Lord, Ampaitepin Singhabhandhu (Thailand) graduated from Kyoto University garnering her PhD. Patroba Odera, Muhannad Fakhoury and I were there to witness the solemn occasion.


Our short-term missionary, Ken Poon left for the U.S. on October 3 after staying in Japan for six months. He served in various capacities including but not limited to leading English Bible Studies, video production, doing a skit for children and establishing rapport with new contacts. Please pray for Ken as he considers and prepares himself for a career in Missions.

Likewise, Ampaitepin went back to Thailand on September 30 to chart her future. Please pray for wisdom and a powerful witness among her relatives and friends.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In Case You Missed It

A Summer to Remember

It is a bit disconcerting to write this blog quite belatedly. However, as the title goes, I literally have to remember some of the details to write this narrative.

Some two weeks ago we did something in the international service that we don’t usually do (never done it under my watch to be specific): a party prior to a worship service! In the church garden!

Well, it’s the last Sunday of August and we wanted to approach the coming month with a bang. Actually, it’s Keiko-sensei’s idea that we do the program outside the church sanctuary. The weather that week was unpredictable with the possibility of rain. I was skeptical at first, but later gave in to her suggestion. The rest is history.

The program started with a prayer, some songs and games. Who says that Christians don’t know how to enjoy some fun? It’s laugh-out-loud for everyone with every move and antics recorded on video for future reference and for posterity’s sake.

Imagine yourself with a pack of “hungry” (read: modest) people ready to devour (read: first-come-first-serve) every bit that jumps from the grill. Meat, vegetable and seafood are in abundance to whet everyone’s appetite. The scent of kimono-clad women is replaced by the tinge of barbecue. I surmise that the most popular drink that night was mugicha (barley tea) although other non-alcoholic drinks were also available. To top it all, there was kakigori (flavored shaved-ice) for everyone to enjoy.

As the sun finally rested its eyes to sleep, we proceeded to the second part of the program, which was solemn and worshipful. My wife, Jo Ann, led the singing and Cerrone rendered a special song, characteristic of his soulful style. Trey Rowzie shared his heart-warming testimony of how he received God’s grace during his wondering and wandering years before Christ found him. Moreover, for the sermonette I delivered that evening, it was all about the lighter side of Jesus’ life on earth entitled, “What Else Did Jesus Do?”

It’s important to note here that fellow missionary Hayato Fukui did a great job of translating all the proceedings of the program. His spirited and meaningful expressions are truly remarkable. Likewise, all who volunteered to make the said event a success deserve a real kudos. Some 94 people graced the occasion.

Kindly check the other link in the church website to see some of the photos.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Summer to Remember

This is an invitation to everyone to join us for an evening of fun and fellowship on August 30th. It's a barbecue party with a minimal cost of 300 yen per participant. Program starts at 5PM and the ladies are encouraged to wear their summer kimono. Should you need one for the occasion, please don't hesitate to contact us so that we can make arrangements for you.

PASTOR KEIKO - 075-311-5193
JO ANN - 090-1903-1226

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Picnic

Dear One and all,

I hope that you are having a great day with Jesus!

As you know, summer is just around the corner. I suppose many people are busy planning their trips or simply taking it slowly, thinking on how to spend some of their spare time. Let me offer you something to look forward to and probably, squeeze in to your schedule.

EVENT: Summer Picnic

PLACE: Takaragaike Park (Located at the back of Kyoto International Conference Center)

DATE/TIME: 18 July 2009, Saturday (From 10:00AM to 15:00PM)

THINGS TO BRING: FOOD, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks (and lots of it if you want to share); board GAMES, card games and Frisbees, if you have any; sun-block lotion, if you’re not in the mood for a tan; Bible; CASH, if you want to buy from the only two available shops (selling taco and takoyaki) inside the park grounds or if you want to use the floating devices on the lake

ACCESS: Take a subway train (Karasuma Line) that runs from north to south of Kyoto City. Get off at Kokusaikaikan Station (end of the line to the North) otherwise known as the Kyoto International Conference Center Station. As you exit the ticket gate, follow the signs to EXIT 5 leading to the park. We will wait for you right there by the soda vending machines.

Please come on time. Make plans to arrive before or at 9:45AM. Spots that we can use as a group are available on a first-come, first-served basis. We will walk together to the designated place.


1. Can I invite or bring along some of my friends? Yes. They are all welcome. The more the merrier.

2. Can I swim in the lake? I did not ask when I went there. My hunch is you cannot. I saw some ducks and fishes, but the water is not inviting for a right thinking human being.

3. What if I cannot come as early as 9:45AM? Just give us a call and we will figure things out together. Remember, it takes a while to walk and pick someone from the station and back to the park. It’s a good exercise though.

4. What if it rains? Please bring an umbrella. We will push through as scheduled, especially if it’s just a trickle or a cloudy day. If it’s a stormy weather, then we will cancel it.

CONTACT INFO: Pastor Joseph Ricohermoso (080-5029-2540); Sister Jo Ann (090-1903-1226); Leena/Hayato Fukui (080-3139-4164); Assembly Kyoto Church – 075-311-5193 (c/o Pastor Keiko Murakami).


Thank you very much for patiently reading this blog. I hope you could make it and have fun with us. I’m longing to hear from you to say, “YES, I’M COMING.” Or, to hit the reply button to say, “COUNT ME IN.”

Pastor Joseph

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bon Voyage!

Halka Shitabayashi has gone to the Philippines on June 16, 2009 for a three-year counseling course at the Alliance Graduate School in Quezon City. Please pray for her adjustment, safety, study and smooth processing of her student visa.

Halka is our international congregation's first Japanese to consider preparing and doing full-time ministry. Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sad Events

I just want to covet your prayers for the family of Perseveranda So who died in a terrorist attack in Pakistan. She was serving as chief of education for UNICEF when terrorists bombed the Pearl Continental Hotel where she was temporarily staying in Peshawar, Pakistan last Tuesday (9 June). Percy, as she was known to her colleagues, family and friends, is one of the three daughters of Ernesto and Cora So, members of the church I used to pastor in the Philippines. Percy’s remains are yet to be repatriated to the Philippines.

You may read the news story from the following site:

On a separate note, please include in your prayers my parents in the Philippines, who have to oversee the funeral of my uncle Eustaquio Rey. He passed away this Wednesday (June 10th) after being bedridden for several months.

Thanks for your prayers for them.

Pastor Joseph

Monday, June 8, 2009

Latest News from AKC

SAYONARA: Some of the exchange students have returned to their home countries recently. They are Danielle Rae Nieves, Jean Lin and Greg Slover.

Likewise, a team of six students from Georgia University, GA bade farewell after a two-week mission exposure trip here in Kyoto City. We were blessed by their prayers, testimonies, participation in the campus Bible classes, and in the worship services. Megan Hallford led the team.

Last June 3rd, Timothy Williams II left for Louisiana after serving with us for almost six months. Lord-willing, he intends to come back by June 29th. Please pray for his financial needs.

After studying in the US and working in Japan for several years, Halka Shitabayashi is moving again. This time, she is going to the Philippines to pursue a Master's course in counseling. It's exciting because she is the very first one to decide to serve the Lord full-time in the future from the International congregation. She is leaving on June 16, 2009 with our church's prayers and partial financial support.

WELCOME: We are sad to see people leave, but we are glad to welcome those who have come regularly to our services recently: Mark & Lois Whitson (Utah, USA), Patroba Odera (Kenya), Miki Liu (Taiwan/Australia), Mihoko Okuyama (Japan), Allan Alipio (Philippines) and Yoko Maruyama (Japan).

MINISTRY EXPANSION: Praise the Lord for additional Bible classes that He led us to open. The church now has two classes at Osaka Medical College (Takatsuki City) and four classes at Doshisha University (Kyoto City). We also have four other classes/Gospel meetings at Kyoto University.

BAPTISMS: Last Sunday (June 7th), four people were baptized at the Japanese service. Praise the Lord!

Psalm 105:3 - "Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Flu Scare

KYOTO CITY, Friday (22 May 2009) - Government and school authorities here have declared a week-long holiday to minimize the spread of the new flu virus that was detected in a 10-year old boy. It is Kyoto's first reported case of the H1N1 virus.

It's rainy today and the kids are at home. The kids are excited to be home, but my wife and I are thinking to keep their days occupied, productive and fun. I already heard the word "bored" three hours after they wake up.:) Think of five more days to go (at the least) before they go back to school.

God is good. God is great. God is glorious. Why not spend time worshiping Him?

Monday, May 18, 2009

H1N1 Virus Important Advisory

The above site contains the latest news about the flu situation in Japan. Please keep praying for God's power, mercy and salvation to manifest in all and the worst of situations.

For those living in Kyoto City, here are some reminders:

1. Please keep yourself informed. Information on prevention and other precautionary measures are advised. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

a. Frequent and careful washing of hands with antibacterial soap (at least for three minutes). Otherwise, use hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes.
b. Gargle using any commercially available gargling solution especially after coming back home.
c. Avoid heavily populated areas. Wear a mask while in public.

2. When an infection is suspected:

a. Make sure to check your temperature first.
b. Don't go directly to any medical institution or pharmacy for quick-fix medication. Try calling this number first for important instructions and to minimize the risk of spreading the disease.

KYOTO FLU HOTLINE: 075-414-4726

3. Please let us know also of your situation so that we can make arrangements on how to be of assistance to you. ASSEMBLY KYOTO CHURCH: 075-311-5193 (Pastor Keiko Murakami); 090-9996-5811 (Pastor Satoshi Nagasawa); 080-5029-2540 (Pastor Joseph Ricohermoso).

4. Stay calm and be in prayer. "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him."

5. In case of a city-wide shutdown (schools/public areas), we still intend to hold prayer meetings and worship services, but there will be no campus Bible Studies and other weekly activities. Check this site often for more information.

Your servant for Christ's sake,

Pastor Joseph Ricohermoso

Friday, May 15, 2009

Answered Prayer!

"To God be the glory for the things He has done!"

This year, my family will mark our 8th year of ministry in Japan and our third year in Kyoto City. Time flies so fast indeed.

Our ministry is getting extended since we received our new missionary visa last Wednesday (May 13th), on the same date as my spiritual birthday. Speaking of my spiritual birthday (being born again), I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ through the Vacation Bible School (VBS) that I attended in my hometown some 24 years ago. Thanks to Engr. Noel Constantino, who shared to me the Gospel, and to Pastor Ruel Penaloza who led the said outreach ministry at the time.

My family also wants to say, "Thanks" to all of you who have supported and prayed for us concerning this matter. Here's another testimony to God's unfailing grace and providence.

Our visa extension comes with a fresh mandate to continue our mission work here. Please pray that God would use us mightily in spreading His word and in the building up of His church.

The Ricohermoso family

Friday, May 8, 2009

Prayer Request

Visa Extension

My family has filed our visa extension request to the Immigration Branch Office here in Kyoto City. Our current missionary visa will expire on June 2, 2009. Lord-willing, we still hope to extend our stay here and to continue doing what God has called us to do.

Thank you very much for interceding for us.

Pastor Joseph

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I've been busy with my new "baby"!

NO! Not a crying, diaper-wetting baby. I mean the new social network I've created. It's actually a prayer network called Japan Prayer Link (JPL for short). That's what's keeping me busy lately: moderating and answering questions and messages from all over the world.

The challenge for me is to keep ideas flowing. Writing for me as a hobby is also an exercise to keep in touch with the creative side. Inspiration is a necessary motivation.

We'll what else is new?

Yesterday (Sunday, May 3rd) was our 10th international service anniversary. My co-worker, Keiko-sensei and I stumbled upon our church records and discovered a few weeks earlier that this event was forthcoming. Needless to say, we had to prepare a special program for the occasion and a customary celebration after the service. We didn't have enough time to promote it though.

The program's other features (in addition to what we usually do on regular Sundays) included a reading of the church's history, a presentation of the Senior Pastor's vision for the local church and a testimony from a living witness through the years of AKC ministry, and a special song rendered by the YA Sunday School Group.

The food was distinctly Japanese except for the leche flan (pudding) that my wife cooked. Thanks to the faithful and supportive ministry of some ladies (and men too!) in the church.

(Photos of the event to follow)