Warm Greetings from Japan in the name of Jesus!
As the year 2021 has begun, we have a lot to reflect on over the past year. 2020 was definitely an unusual year, filled with many uncertainties and unknowns. However, nothing that happened took God by surprise. He knew and still knows all that has, is, and will happen. We have no control over what goes on around us, but we do not have to worry or fear because we know all things are in God’s hands.
Ministry opportunities and activities have looked a bit different over the past year, but we are so thankful for each chance we have had to share God’s love with the people He brings across our path. During Japan’s initial state of emergency, our church had to switch to online services, and our English conversation classes also had to meet online. However, after that state of emergency was lifted, we were able to meet in person at church and in our English classes.
As of February 7, Japan entered another state of emergency. However, it is much more lenient than the first. All restaurants are supposed to close at 8:00 p.m., but our church has been able to continue to meet in person with social distancing and mask-wearing. This is a bit of a challenge with the small building sizes in Japan. Since the Japanese elementary, junior high, and high schools are all still open, with extra precautions in place, our English conversation classes have been able to continue to meet as long as we follow the same safety measures.
Though the schools are meeting, the afterschool activities, clubs and sports, have been canceled or postponed during the state of emergency. The cancelation of school and club activities has filled many of the children and their parents with anxiety. They are worried that they won’t be able to pass their entrance exams in March and that they will fall behind in their studies. Pray with us as we encourage the children and their families and share God’s hope and love with them.
We joined the World Missions Ministries in 2001. We were at a missions training session when the planes crashed into the two world trade centers, forever marking 9/11 in the minds of people across America. Ten years later, on March 11th, 2011, Japan was hit with a 9.1 earthquake and subsequent nine-foot tsunami that devastated the coast of Tohoku. The nuclear power plant in Fukushima was also damaged, leaking radiation into the surrounding cities. Many places are still recovering from the effects of this disaster.
Another ten years later, in 2021, the whole world is dealing with the coronavirus and its effects, not just the physical aspects of the virus itself but also the mental, economic, and international effects as well. Every ten years, our time on the field has been punctuated by a catastrophic event, disaster, or pandemic. However, through all of the tragedies and suffering, God has been there right in the midst, not leaving us to go through these events alone.
We are so thankful to have had you working alongside us through all these events and years. Without your faithful prayers and support, we would not have been able to continue working in Japan, sharing God’s love with the Japanese people. We are the only Christians they will ever meet for so many of the people we encounter each day. Thank you again for your partnership! We are so blessed and encouraged by each of you and excited to see what God will do through our continued partnership!
Your Missionaries to Japan,
Hiro, Eryn, Justin, Ax, Hunter, and Olivia Bamba