The Vanning Family Update
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Although he can't maintain it for long, K has figured out that he can control his eyes from crossing. What an answer to prayer. Please keep praying for his eyes!

August 2020 Update

Daily Rhythms Continue On


Recently a "second wave" of COVID-19 has been sweeping through the nation, but the Starbucks where I am writing this is still lively with customers. I would estimate about 99% of those I see are wearing masks (except while they are drinking coffee, of course). It is not a controversial issue here, but a matter of community-mindedness. We wear our masks not only because we can't enter stores without one, but because we do not want to limit our opportunities to share the Gospel. We do not want our neighbors to think we do not care about them or the community in general by our not wearing a mask. 

We are enjoying having both Taishi and Emi's friends play at our house on rainy days. Some days, our apartment gets pretty loud. Please pray Yamada-san, who lives downstairs, doesn't get upset again with the noise. Also, pray for Gospel conversations with the boys and girls playing in our home.

Speaking of neighbors, continue to pray for us as we reach out to our neighbors. After writing our last update, I found out our BBQ area in the courtyard remains closed due to COVID-19. That means our plans for a BBQ outreach has been postponed until the area is opened up. We have no idea when this will happen. Continue to pray for God to save our neighbors by the power of his Spirit.  

I've been able to meet with some unsaved neighbors for lunch since the restrictions have been lifted here. I've also been able to meet with two brothers who hope to plant churches on the other side of the city. It's nice to be able to get out and meet people once again. Please pray for safety as I hope to continue meeting and praying with others more often.

We continue local gatherings in Oyumino for Alive International Church services. We still have limited the number of people allowed in the building because of concerns about spreading COVID-19. Although it's awkward, we've been asking members to choose to come every-other-week and to stream on Zoom for the weeks they do not attend. We have been so blessed in worshipping our Lord with our brothers and sisters together in person.

Thank you for praying for my preaching opportunities! After mentioning in our last update that I haven't been preaching in Japanese as much lately, I was asked to preach in Japanese at the Japanese language worship service on Sunday morning on August 30th. Please pray for God's strength as I prepare a sermon to preach, in Japanese, and also preach once in English with a translator in the bilingual service. 
私の説教の機会のために祈ってくださってありがとうございます。 前回のアップデートで、最近日本語での説教をあまりしていないことをお伝えしましたが、8月30日の日曜日の午前中に行われる日本語礼拝で日本語で説教するように頼まれました。日本語で説教するための説教の準備、そしてバイリンガルの礼拝での翻訳者との英語での説教の準備の上に、神様の力があるようにお祈りください。 

Pray as I have been asked to share my testimony in Japanese for the Japanese men's small group on Zoom this week. Pray for clarity in the Gospel as I share what God has done in my life through his Spirit, his Word, and his people. 

I am still having my Japanese lessons on Zoom for now. Please continue to pray for wisdom to know when I should start commuting to school once again. 

Keep praying for our kids. Pray Nozomi and I can graciously and consistently use opportunities to be instruments in the hands of our Redeemer to our children. God has graciously placed them in a household of faith. May He bless them with spiritual life through faith in the Gospel. 

Keep praying for Kensei's eyes. The other day he figured out how to straighten his eyes by himself. Although he can only maintain it for a short time, it is such a miraculous answer to prayer. Now, please pray that through daily practice he can learn to keep his eyes straight on his own.
謙清の目のために祈り続けてください。 先日、自分で目をまっすぐにする方法を見つけました。短時間ではありましたが、奇跡的な祈りの答えです。日々の練習で、更に自分で目をまっすぐにすることができるように祈ってください。

Continue to pray for church-planting partners as well. Our church-planting intensive training in downtown Tokyo has been rescheduled for October 11-23. Please pray all will go smoothly this time. We look forward to the opportunity to expand our network and meet potential church-planting partners. I have already begun meeting with a church-planting mentor. Also, pray that we can attend this intensive via the internet, if possible, instead of commuting from Chiba. 
教会開拓のパートナーのためにも祈り続けてください。 東京都心での教会開拓集中研修は10月11日~23日に延期されました。順調に進むようにお祈りください。私たちのネットワークを広げ、教会開拓のパートナーと出会えることを楽しみにしています。私はすでに教会開拓のメンターとの面談を始めています。また、可能であれば、千葉から通うよりもインターネットを介しての参加も検討しているようですので、そのことも含めてお祈りください。

God is answering your prayers for Gospel-centered Christian friends and fellowship. He has been slowly providing these friends, though they all might be multi-denominational. In a country where only 0.3% of the population are professing evangelical Christians, it seems inevitable that some of our Christian friends are from other denominations. It glorifies God as we all work together for the glory of our King here in Japan.
神は、福音を中心としたクリスチャンの友人と交わりについての祈りに答えておられます。 神はそういったクリスチャンを少しずつ与えてくださっています。人口の0.3%しか福音派を公言するクリスチャンがいない日本では、私たちのクリスチャンの友人の中には他の教派の人がいることは避けられないように思われます。私たちが皆、日本の地で、王である神様の栄光のために共に働くことは、神の御栄光を表すことになると信じています。

Please keep in touch! You and your love and care for us are a great blessing to us. We are so honored to be working together with you to take the Gospel to the millions of lost in Japan. If you have any questions about what we are doing in Japan, or about partnering with us financially please do not hesitate to email me by replying to this email. I look forward to communicating with you.
これからもよろしくお願いします! みなさまの愛とケアは私たちにとって大きな祝福です。日本で多くの失われた魂に福音を伝えるために、皆さんと一緒に働けることをとても光栄に思っています。私たちが日本で何をしているのか、あるいは私たちとの金銭的なパートナーシップについてご質問がありましたら、遠慮なくこのメールに返信してください。皆様とのコミュニケーションを楽しみにしています。

Our building complex is home to almost three thousand people! Here is an aerial picture of where we live (the group of 7 buildings at the bottom left of the picture). Please pray for us as we focus our attention on reaching those in our large community called Columbus City. 
Our friends, the Odates, invited us to a Japanese style BBQ at their house the other day. It was a lot of fun. One traditional game here is called suikawari (watermelon splitting). It's basically like a piñata but you're trying to break open a watermelon. 
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