Monday, December 5, 2011

The Fruit of Our Lips: Thanksgiving and Praise

English Ministry Report for November 2011

The month of November is the month of thanksgiving. Not only because of the yearly tradition that we celebrate this event, but also of the many things the Lord has done in our midst and for these we are thankful to Him.

Our Thank Jesus It’s Friday! (TJIF) worship service at the YWCA last November 4 was our 8th meeting since it started this year. We are thankful to God for giving us the opportunity to offer this worship experience close to where the students are and to the universities where we do have outreach Bible studies. This certainly lends support to the campus ministry too.

Celebrating our church’s 64th anniversary on the first Sunday is something we are also thankful to God for. The psalmist said, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 
(Psalm 133:1-3, NKJV) The three congregations from the different services and representatives from the branch churches have joined together for a day of worship, fellowship and rejoicing in God’s faithfulness to the Assembly Kyoto Church. It is something that doesn’t happen often except on special occasions such as this. Indeed it’s a beautiful sight to see and feel our connectedness in Christ when we get together as one.

Lighthouse English CafĂ© (LEC) is another form of outreach to our community and English conversation students at church. We are grateful to God for sustaining this ministry as it winds up its second year of offering coffee, tea, sweets, and free interaction with both local and foreign English speakers. Most importantly, God helped us to create programs that tackle life issues as well as biblical themes that introduce people to a living and loving relationship with Christ. Last November 26, the last meeting for this year took place. Those who attended were able to enjoy games, good food, meeting new friends and testimonies of His grace. In addition, I shared a message on why it is important to be thankful to God and gave ideas on what are some of the things that we could be thankful for. Finally, the guests received their early Christmas gift of the season’s song selections in both English and Japanese.

The International Congregation held its annual Thanksgiving Dinner last November 27th. The menu included veggies, mashed potatoes and corn soup, and rotisserie chicken for the main dish. For dessert, there was pumpkin pie.

The real focus of the evening however, was on how people expressed their gratitude to God. There was singing, sharing of testimonies around each beautifully decorated tables and a sense of solemnity in simplicity and gladness of heart in the Lord, who is the Source of “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17, NKJV). Swee Ho Lim, a doctor from Singapore who attends our church with his wife and daughter, shared about how he saw the hand of God in His life. He said that they were preparing to come to Japan since over two years ago. He almost changed his mind in coming because he got his family’s visa to Japan on the same day the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami struck on March 11th. Despite of it they came and he is still enjoying the blessing of being in Kyoto City, with our church and on how the Lord is using him and his family in serving the Lord. Brother Swee Ho is now leading a group of men from our church to a weekly Bible study and discipleship.

Indeed, space is not enough to express our thanks to God. Yet our hearts rejoice in the goodness of our great and benevolent Heavenly Father!

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