Thank you for praying for our trip! Yoko and I arrived back in Japan on the evening of October 17 and spent our first two weeks self-quarantining at the Wesleyan Mission House in Yokohama. In spite of being stuck in one place, we have enjoyed the time it has allowed us to not only rest but also plan and prep for what’s next. This week we’re still in Yokohama connecting with fellow missionaries and getting some work done before moving on.
Speaking of moving on… We have been praying for some time about the possibility of relocating. Since our new ministry is not going to be limited to a specific location, in light of Yoko’s father’s passing, we are moving to Ishikawa Prefecture. This will allow us to be closer to Yoko’s mother, as well as give us a fresh start in a new place as we begin a new chapter of life and ministry together. It turns out there are fewer missionaries in that area, too, so there is definitely a need.
Please pray for God to provide the housing and ministry space we need; for God to lead us to the right home church and local ministries; and for God to lead our next steps toward launching our new online outreach, Drawbridge Creations.
Financial Partnership Update:
Good news! We are now at about 95% of our faith promise goal! Getting to 100% would really help us shift our focus to the ministry here in Japan. Please pray we’ll get there soon!
If you’re not already a financial partner, please consider clicking HERE to make a faith promise.
End of year gifts: If you’re unable to make an ongoing commitment, but would like to make a donation (or if you’re already a partner but would like to give an extra gift) please consider giving to our Drawbridge Creations start-up fund. Click HERE for more info or to give online.
Thank you again for all your prayers, giving and encouragement!
Robin (& Yoko)
I’m not usually an early adopter. But when the original iPad was released, I was so excited that I rushed out to buy one right away. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the latest tech. But like most digital tech, that iPad was not cutting edge for very long. The operating system needed to be updated several times, but eventually, in order to use the latest apps, I had to buy a new device.
If Jesus were physically on earth today, maybe that’s the kind of image He would have used instead of wine and wineskins…
In Mark 2:22, Jesus said that “no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” In this passage, Jesus was answering questions about why His disciples weren’t taking part in some of the religious customs of the day. Through Jesus’ ministry, God was doing a new thing. And that new thing was not compatible with the religious rituals and systems of the time.
Today, too, God wants to do new things in Christians, ministries and churches. But if we’re too hung up on our old ways of thinking, there’s a danger we could miss out.
Right now, Yoko and I have just returned to Japan for a new missionary term. For us, Drawbridge Creations, our new online manga outreach, is one these new wineskins. Married life on the mission field is, too.
But I’m feeling challenged to be open to even newer things. We may have our own plans, but God may have some surprises for us, too. Am I open to what He wants to teach me? To Him using me in some way I don’t have planned? To new opportunities that don’t fit within my vision?
What about you? 2020 has been a wake-up call for many Believers and churches. Our comfortable routines have been taken away, at least temporarily. We’ve been forced to re-think what faith, church and ministry look like. But perhaps God is using the these challenges to help us recognize what we’ve needed all along — new wine skins. Perhaps God is ready and waiting to bless us, revive us and use us in powerful new ways.
But when the COVID crisis is behind us, will we just go back to the way things were? Or will we be ready, new wine skins in hand, for the gift He’s been preparing to pour out for us?
It might be time for an upgrade. Are we ready for it?
Thank you for your prayers this past month! This month’s news is in the form of our latest quarterly newsletter, so please follow the link below to read/download/print:
If you’re in a hurry, here’s the short version: Yoko and I are on our way back to Japan on October 16! Thank you to all of you who have helped to make this happen. Please pray for us as go through this time of transition.
It’s been a long Partnership Development… but we are in the homestretch now! Thank you to all who have prayed, given and made faith promises to help us get this far!
We have been talking to GP and have made some budget adjustments that, in addition to the healthy cash balance in our ministry fund, will allow us to return to Japan soon — if we can reach $6600 in our faith promise total. Here’s the breakdown:
New target = $7590/month (US)
Current total = about $6328
September goal = at least $6600
So that is this month’s goal! We are aiming to go back to Japan in October, but we need at least $272/month (US) in new faith promises first. Would you consider helping us reach this goal?
Please pray! And if you’re not already partnering with us, we’d appreciate your consideration!
Thank you for partnering with us through your prayers and giving, to build spiritual bridges in Japan!
Robin (and Yoko)
As I mentioned in our summer newsletter, Yoko and I are finally getting some in-person ministry opportunities after months of doing everything online. It’s a nice change!
This past Sunday, we visited Saint John First Wesleyan, where we were interviewed instead of doing our usual presentation. It was fun to connect with the church in a new way and share our story with both the small crowd gathered there as well as those watching online. SJ1 is doing a great job figuring out how to do church gatherings with the current limitations.
This coming Sunday we’re worshiping with River Valley Wesleyan in what is, I believe, their first in-person service since March. We’ll be gathering outside at a local beachfront park, which should make for another fun and fresh ministry opportunity.
Please pray for Sunday’s gathering, for our visit to Hartland Wesleyan on August 30, and for more opportunities to connect with churches in our region. We’d also appreciate your continued prayers for our partnership needs to be met. And please pray too for Yoko’s application to extend her stay in Canada to be approved.
Thank you for your prayers!
Robin (and Yoko)
Here’s our summer newsletter! I’m trying something new with our quarterly newsletter, posting them as images in our emails and on the blog. For the usual print-friendly PDF format, please click here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/191-zCG5zpTkA6p9QTJg-BRlIJQrVmw4c/view?usp=sharing. Read on for the web version…
Here in Atlantic Canada, COVID-19 related restrictions are being reduced, many churches are starting to meet in person again, and the Maritime provinces are opening their borders to each other. For us, this means the opportunity to visit and minister at churches in the area for the first time since March, which we’re grateful for.
Please pray with us about the following…
1. Partnership Development — Please pray for wisdom, protection and provision as we start scheduling, planning and travelling again over the summer.
2. Financial Partnerships — Please pray for the summer to bring some much-needed new connections and financial partners. Things are in flux, but by my calculations we are currently at about 74% of our Faith Promise goal.
3. Yoko’s Status — Yoko is currently in Canada as a visitor, and her current permission runs out at the end of August. Since we may not be finished PD by then, we have applied to extend her stay. Please pray for God to give us favour with Immigration so that she will get approval.
4. Future — As we look ahead to the Fall, we are thinking about our next steps in Japan. Please pray for us and our team in Japan as we discuss our partnerships, roles and goals there.
Thank you so much for your partnership in the mission through your prayers and giving! Please let us know how we can pray for you!
– Robin (&Yoko)
One of an increasing number of skyscrapers in Nagoya, shot on film with a Holga camera, May 2017.
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” ( Is. 43:19)
Just after starting our new “stay home“ life, God encouraged me with this scripture. I started to expect like others that we would return to normal life around Easter Sunday. But actually in the middle of April, not only in Canada but also all over the world, this pandemic had not reached its peak yet.
In Japan, many plants start to spring up and show colourful scenes in March, so I can feel “spring has come” through the spring colour. But here, even around Easter, the scenery had not changed yet and it was 0 degrees celsius in the morning. So sometimes I couldn’t imagine that we would see beautiful green and flowers. But Isaiah 35 reminded me of God’s promise about the recovery and colourful view again. One verse especially stayed in my heart:
“The ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Is. 35:10)
Around the middle of May, finally many kinds of plants sprouted and our landscape totally changed to a real spring at once. Now we are surrounded by really a colourful and beautiful spring! I’ve never seen these quick changes before. I’m amazed that God’s work is really dynamic and powerful! Nature itself seems to be praising God, like this:
“The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.“ (Is. 35:1-2)
Now many of us are walking in each recovery step. It might be a long way but the spring life tells us the power of God and God’s good plan!
1. Financial update — We appreciate your prayer and financial partnership! Our faith promise total is now at 68%. Thankfully we have some new partnerships every week! God willing, we are praying that we can go back to Japan late this summer, but before that we need 100%.
Please pray for God to provide the rest of the partners we need, and let us know if you’d like to become one yourself.
2. Partnership Development — In May, we worked at home and had various chances to do Partnership Development — making videos, doing interviews and taking part in online meetings with GP, etc. Some churches will start gathering again soon, but we will need to continue partnership development mainly online.
Please pray for God to give us abundant wisdom and chances for building better partnerships.
3. Japan — The number of patients was going down, but for the past week, some areas are having a second wave. From March till the end of May, many churches stopped gathering and now many of them have restarted. Most of them have small rooms for Sunday worship, so a lot of challenges continue.
Please pray for God to encourage church leaders.
Thank you so much for your continuous and faithful prayer!!! Please let us know how we can pray for you!
– Yoko (& Robin) White