Alex & Eri Verwey (Japan Mission, Ikoma, Nara, Japan)
Eri and I are very grateful for your support and faithful prayers! We have not even met with most of you, but you faithfully give, and we are humbled as we see your heart for Japan. May God bless you richly.
This is sort of an introductory letter where we hope to give you a general idea of the kinds of ministry we are involved in but, we wish to share more of what day-to-day life looks like here and what the Lord is putting on our hearts in the future. We may try different formats in the future... simple letters, blog type post, short unpolished videos, we are not sure yet… but we would like to keep you all who are praying and supporting up-to-date as best as we can.
As Aaron and Crystal can tell you, there are many moving parts to Japan Mission’s work, and there are also many opportunities that the Lord opens up as we simply do life in the community here. We have three children, William (5), Joseph (3) and Naoko (7months) and are both actively involved in outreach to young families. My wife (Eri) has her hand full with the kidos, two of them in Kindergarten from April, and our 7 month old waking up during the night.
In addition to caring for the kids, Eri makes time to share the Bible every week at Kids Club (http://japanmission.org/outreach/english-outreach/kids-club/), and opens Japan Mission up once a month for a prayer/care ministry for mothers called Mama HOP (http://japanmission.org/mama-hop/ ). These ministries are dear to her heart and she is passionate about what she does. I will be doing most of the updating but, I hope you can hear directly from her through videos etc. in the future to get a sense of what the Lord is putting on her heart. (Instead of explaining each ministry here I have put links to our website where more information is available).
Most of my (Alex) time is spent coordinating ministry and administration at Japan Mission. Generally speaking, my energies are focused on the Church support ministry work in Japan, and without getting too detailed, my work generally involves the following four areas, and looks like a lot, but we are blessed with a great team and so it’s a cooperative effort. (The team: http://japanmission.org/about-us/our-team/)
Coordinating/planning ministry: There are many different areas of Church support, but for each area I spend most of my time on relationships; relationships with the Japanese churches to best understand their needs, and relationships with staff to know how we can best meet the needs of the Church. http://japanmission.org/outreach/
I also get increasingly busy when we have short-term outreach planned or other events like our annual English outreach camp etc.
Missionary Care: There are all kinds of needs for staff, from day-to-day practical to spiritual. With about 15 missionaries within the community (including children) we try to approach these needs as a team as everyone’s needs are different and no one can fill this role alone.
Missionaries are connected with a local church for spiritual nourishment as well as Bible study and prayer times organically formed among staff. We also try to invite experienced missionaries from outside the community to speak and fellowship with our staff several times a year to provide broader enrichment. Most of the time it’s taking time to listen to our team and pray together.
Maintenance/Logistics: This area involves recruitment, VISA application and processing, maintenance on property, cars, computers, websites etc… Much of the work is uninteresting but essential to keep things running.
New Ventures: This is where we need the most prayer and wisdom as we enter new territory. I am honestly overwhelmed by the way the Lord has been opening doors and the things it seems He has in store for the future.
For example, just two years ago there was no Media or Kids Club ministry, but the Lord has provided talented staff, resources and opportunities that opened up these areas for greater church support. (Media ministry: http://japanmission.org/outreach/media-ministry/ )
Currently we are experimenting with a Café ministry in the local area, and with English classes focused on medical English for medical professionals as our newest team member was a licensed nurse in the Philippines. In every new area, the objective is to do it small successfully so that we can use it to support churches on a wider scale. The Lord continues to open up new territory and we hope to keep you updated as things develop.
Finally, Eri and I are also deeply involved in the local community as I am on the PTA at the kindergarten, on the apartment council where we rent and own some apartment units for married housing, and other interaction with the general community.
Being involved in so many different areas of ministry requires us to be well-rounded and adaptable, always following the Lord’s leading through the Spirit. Please pray that we may abide in Him at all times, because apart from Him we can do nothing. I apologize that this letter got so long. This is a general idea of the scope of things we are involved with, and in the future we hope to be able to update you more on specific ways the Lord is moving and the stories that are developing around us as we strive to see more of God in Japan.
If you wish to stay up to date with the latest news as things happen, you can follow us on Facebook, or if you don’t do Facebook please see our website here: http://japanmission.org/news-testimonies/latest-news/
If you get a chance, please let us know a bit about your heart for missions and the different needs and vison of your church. We would like to also pray for God’s blessing on your community as you have blessed us richly by reaching out to us and supporting the work of God in Japan.
Alex and Eri Verwey