Greetings from Japan!
We are so thankful for your unwavering prayers and support! Things have been changing and unpredictable more than ever over the last several years: wars, pandemics, inflation, and unrest. Yet, we have always lived on the precipice of these possibilities. However, we know that no matter what unfolds around us, we have comfort in knowing God is still in control of all things. Thus, we continue all the more to bring the wonderful news of the gospel and comfort to the people who are still living in fear and darkness. Thank you so much for continuing to fulfill the Great Commission by working with us to continue to spread God’s love with the Japanese people.
Japan Today reported that suicide is the leading cause of death among 10-14-year-olds. In Japan, there is so much pressure to succeed and surpass their peers in school. Most kids go to a cram school after school to study for another four to five hours before returning home to do their homework. They often go to a cram school on the weekends for eight to ten hours of more study as well.
Due to the pandemic, many of the school clubs and sports have been canceled. However, instead of having more free time, the children have replaced those activities with more study. We have been so blessed to be able to keep our English conversation school open over the past year. We teach the children English in a light and fun atmosphere where they can come to learn without a lot of pressure. The most important thing we do is read Bible stories in English.
We recently read the story of Moses and God parting the Red Sea. We were able to share with the children that, just like when God made a safe way out for the Israelites when they were surrounded by various obstacles like Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea, He is also able to make a safe way out for each one of them as well whether it is a problem at school, in their family, or with their peers. Please pray with us that God will use these stories to bring each one of these children and their families to a personal relationship with the Savior. Also, pray with us that God will bring more students and families to our school. We have several spots open, and we want to reach as many families as possible with the good news of the gospel.
We were so thankful for the ability to go to America for Justin’s wedding. With all of the visa red tape, test requirements for entering and leaving Japan and America (some of which had to have the results within 24 hours of traveling), and all of the quarantine restrictions, we were not sure we would be able to, but God worked everything out, and we were able to go and return.
In December, Justin graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Philosophy, Greek, and Theology. Justin met his wife, Rachel, at Liberty. She also graduated in December with a double major in ESL and Global Studies. Eryn’s father, Russell Board, officiated the ceremony at Rachel’s home church in Franklin, Virginia. Please pray with us for Justin and Rachel as they begin their life together anchored in God. Justin will be an assistant professor of Theology at Liberty while he pursues his master’s degree.
Thank you so much for your faithful partnership with us. Knowing we are being prayed for each day gives us strength to continue. Having your support allows us to continue to share God’s hope and love with the Japanese people!
Your Missionaries to Japan,
Hiro and Eryn Bamba, Justin, Ax, Hunter, and Olivia