Ayauta Church Plant Journal (Vol. 6, #8)
Dawn Birkner, 650-2 OKADA SHIMO, AYAUTA CHO, MARUGAME SHI, KAGAWA KEN, JAPAN 761-2402 firstname.lastname@example.org
MAIN MINISTRY HAPPENINGS (AYAUTA CHRIST CHURCH)
October Bimonthly Outreach Event. With the aid of short-term workers, a combination of music, puppetry, ventriloquism, testimonies, and a Bible message on God’s love were used at the Oct. event.
Hiking Event. Non-Christian men and women came to the last hiking event including the coworker of a seeker. There were some opportunities to share parts of the gospel during conversation while hiking. In Japan few men can cook, but one cooked soup, tea, and coffee for the group. The weather and views were beautiful, declaring the glory of God.
Christmas Event is tentatively December 24.
Plans are underway.
Weekly Church Service. Pray for salvations of non-believers and growth of believers. Pray Mr. A’s work schedule doesn’t keep him from coming to church. Pray Ms. A2, Mrs. H, and Miss I2 return/become regulars. Pray the following come to church and/or outreach events: a) Japan SS tax man; b) dentist and wife; c) a new Japanese Christian who lived in N. America and recently returned to the area; d) people receiving tracts or touched via community penetration (including a Christian couple who came by in person recently to say they want to visit the church service sometime); e) copy machine salesman (see story). Community Penetration Activities. The second community penetration activity will be in December, associated with Christmas. I hope to explain the church is giving away a small no strings attached gift at Christmas time because Christmas is about God giving us people the gift of Jesus w/o us being able to ‘pay’ for the gift. In Japan, people don’t give or accept gifts w/o the expectation of a return favor or obligation. Pray friendships and seekers will eventually result from this method, which provides a reason to knock on doors to chat.
PRAY/GO/GIVE—PRAISES. A former Singaporean short-termer is seeking to raise up prayer support for new church plant. Also, new US prayer partners incl. SS class. 2 short-termers came from US in Oct. There were recent single contributions from people who provide occas. support, a new person, and 2 monthly supporters who gave extra.
PRAYER PARTNERS For a) Ayauta; b) New Church.
HARVEST WORKERSAfter praying 2 years for long-term workers, there are possibilities emerging. So, be in prayer, incl. for:
- A couple in 50s (retired from a career in military) who spent 2 days in October with me as part of a longer exploratory/puppet ministry trip in Japan (Michael and Jeremie). Pray for God’s guidance as they digest all they learned in 7 weeks and make decisions.
- A single (Karen) in her 40s with long-term missions experience in Japan is considering joining my team.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE
To support God’s work through me in Japan, you can send ongoing (e.g., monthly, quarterly) or special contributions in any amount to: Mission to Unreached Peoples, P.O. Box 30947, Seattle, WA 98113-0947. It is necessary to indicate in a note that the contribution is for the ministry of Dawn Birkner. Direct withdrawal, contribution via online banking, etc. can also easily be set up.
BUDGET STATUSCombined Ongoing and Occasional/Special Gifts (yr to date)
Jan. – Nov. 13, 2006: $16715
Jan-Nov. 13, 2005: $20050
Ongoing Support Only:
Current Pledged Amount (averaged monthly): $1450/mo.
Budget (living, admin, & ministry expenses): $3900/mo.
a) Pray about recent/upcoming MUP leadership changes.
b) Pray for favor with decision makers re permanent residence.
c) Pray for time, tools, and help to complete arch project.
d) Christmas and other tracts will be distributed in Nov/Dec/Jan. e) Pray for new contacts/seekers.
English Tentmaking: Pray students develop spiritual interest. Praise—Idea to minimize loss of students when combine classes.
New Church Plant Initiative
This is KEY time in new church plant initiative. PLEASE be in regular prayer for all aspects. Here’s an update:
Phase 1. ID Target Locations. IDing locations lacking church within reasonable distance. See map. Phase complete.
Phase 2. Preliminary Survey/Plan. Generally look over target areas and devise overall plan. This phase complete.
Phase 3. Resource identification/consultation with others. This has been a focus the past several months. Minimal resources to allow moving forward have nearly been identified, though resource ID is a task that will always be ongoing.
The following resources have preliminarily been identified, but range from those with interest but who seem to be long shots to those who are already firmly committed. Pray interested persons/churches decide to become definite participants over the next few weeks, including:
a) persons to assist with music-based outreach events;
b) Japanese pastors to assist (2 considering it at present);
c) area missionaries to assist occasionally (considering it);
d) a Canadian woman who is the wife of an English teacher to help, especially with kid’s related work, parenting classes, and similar, in the Aji location (has committed already). A Japanese lay Christian to help in many ways in any location except Aji (already committed). IF I can obtain permission from his church leader to ask him, a Japanese man considering going into full time ministry may be available to help some. Pray for many other lay people from backup churches or individually to come forward or be raised up or found to help—including Christians (if any) in the locations of the new church plants.
e) There are 2 churches considering being backup churches, perhaps more will with time. Pray esp. for meeting on Nov. 19 with one such church.
f) There are potential short- or long-term workers from US who might decide to join my team;
g) I have an idea of how to keep in contact with area churches in a way that might facilitate some not interested at present perhaps becoming backup churches down the road;
h) a Japanese Christian in US to provide Japanese editorial support for a tract series I’m writing (already committed).
Phase 4. Ground Work.
Once it is clear which of these tentative resources are ‘definite’, I can proceed with laying groundwork (participant training, ground softening via widespread tract distribution, finding a meeting location). This phase is likely to begin in Dec./Jan. Pray this phase will lead to preparation and identification of seeking hearts for future Bible studies and outreach events in the target town. Pray esp. for wisdom as I write a series of evangelistic tracts to distribute door to door to the same places. The tracts will build on the previous ones, laying a foundation. Tracts will be used both in Ayauta and to soften ground in the new church plant location. Pray for time and helpers to distribute them. Pray for a meeting room location and additional financial support to free up time from tentmaking. Pray Christians, if any, in new church town can be ID’d to help.
Phase 5. Launch of Formal Outreach in New Location
Location/timing likely Aji or Chuunan/Saita in February/March/ April, but remains contingent on developing factors.
For some reason lately, people at weddings seem to be paying closer attention to the Bible message, which touches on the Creator God, the gospel, true love, and Biblical principles for marriage. Each couple also receives a digest Bible. Pray some become seekers.
Reverse Door Knocking Evangelism Story
Someone called me on the phone about 20 times trying to get me to rent or buy a copy machine. I’d told them ‘no thanks’ many times. Then, they actually came by my house. After explaining why it would not be financially advantageous for me to rent/buy their product, the conversation turned to other things—for about 1.5 hours. In the end after triple checking that there was no cost involved and that non-Christians were allowed to come, he expressed sincere interest in attending church, and even asked if he could bring some non-Christian friends with him. Pray he comes.
Japanese Mistakes Story
- My friend was praying for God’s light (hikari), but instead prayed for God’s wrath (ikari).
- I explained the many reasons Christians gather together as a church, including to go bald (hagemasu) when I meant to say encourage one another (hagemashimasu).
- I once heard of a missionary who told his friends he was going to hell (jigoku) when he meant to indicate he was about to move to Shikoku.
- And then there’s a vegetable that sounds like the word engagement.
- 9 AM Bible Class
- 10:15 AM Service