Over the past four years, I have travelled to Japan to partner with both the ministries of Torchbearers and Send International who maintain significant training and outreach initiatives. I will be back in Japan this coming May to once again teach at the Torchbearer Bible School.
In 2013 and 2014, Back Porch Gospel toured Japan to assist both organizations through music and practical ministry. So… what are the results and how have these initiatives been bearing fruit for God’s kingdom?
Recently, I received an email (written in Japanese!) which I couldn’t read, but it also had several photos attached which tell a wonderful story!
When in the Tohoku/Sendai area of Japan, Back Porch invested in an arm of the church called ‘Hope Miyagi’ which carries out relational and practical ministry to those affected by the 2011 Tsunami.
Below you will see the Hope Miyagi team in prayer and preparation for their outreach and assistance to those shattered by the Tsunami disaster.
Here is a photo of some of the recipients of that assistance from a coastal fishing village as they struggle to rebuild lives and livelihood.
These people are a team that have emerged through personal loss and fresh vision from God to build a ‘house Church’ to reach others who lost everything in the Tsunami.
This is the house church in action, sharing the love of Christ with neighbors and friends who find this to be a non-threatening environment to accept the love of God and people. (Back Porch sang in this room and SBC assisted in the construction of this house church!)
In the rear of the House church is a community garden plot that is offered free for those who lost their farms and belongings. To begin to plant and see growth is to realize that life and hope still hold promise for them! This photo shows another international team of young people helping to develop this plot. (Back Porch Gospel saw this plot as just an idea back in 2013 and prayed to dedicate this vision to God’s glory… and now it is fully functioning.)
For many, fun and joy have been fleeting qualities since the Tsunami, and these are presented and encouraged within the walls of the House Church. These dear brothers and sisters try to use every opportunity and resource to present life and hope in Christ to those lost in cultural and spiritual darkness.
SBC has and continues to invest and share the light of the Gospel to those in Japan. Thanks for your partnership and prayer on their behalf!
By Pam Borchert
As I gazed into her tiny little face, I was struck, once again, by the absolute miracle and wonder of the birth of a new baby. It seems that, as a grandparent, I am even more in awe of it all than I ever was as a parent. Perhaps because I’m not consumed by the overwhelming responsibility of having a little life so completely dependent on me.
Emerson Wynne, our fourth grandchild, was born on Tuesday, January 6. Her parents, James and Megan, and big sister, Hadley, are overjoyed about having two little girls so close in age. When her cousin, Indianna, heard the news, she announced, “I was right”. She had informed us repeatedly that Megan was going to have a girl and her name “should” be “Emma”. Our kids are amazing and maybe we should listen to them more.
Thanks be to God for Emerson and I am especially grateful that she and her family are embraced not only by our loving and ever-present God, but by a larger family of God, namely the SBC Family and her Grandma’s church family in Penticton. I am convinced that our church family played a major role in the lives of our children, James and Stephanie, and also in my and Jack’s lives, as parents. We experienced (and continue to experience) the unconditional and transformational love of Jesus through the people of our church family. Our children were “known” by the people of this church. They knew them by name; they looked after them, taught them, played with them, prayed for them, conversed with them, fed them and modeled a life filled by God’s Spirit.
And those relationships continue to this day. Stephanie (until she began work) and a group of moms still meet with Eunice Duncan every week to learn, pray, study and just “do life” together. That relationship began in Junior High. Talk about faithfulness. Thank you Eunice. I see that relentless love continuing in our SBC family as we celebrate and honor our children, tolerating and yes, even, enjoying the energy and enthusiasm they bring to a Sunday morning service. They are not the church of tomorrow… they are the church of today and have so much to contribute. Thanks to the countless volunteers, led by Stephanie and Matthew, Carolyn and Lori, who are building relationships with our children and my grandchildren.
I so appreciate that our church is a safe place for our children and we are diligent in making sure that we have proper adult:child ratios in all of our interactions with children. But, I would have to say that our own children, James and Stephanie, also experienced a different ratio, that being…. Instead of at least one adult per five children… they had at least “five adults per child” in their life! They had at least five adults in our church family who knew them! Five adults (at least) who knew their name and were able to greet them on a Sunday morning or in the greater community! Five adults who prayed for them. Five adults who intentionally asked our children about their week at school then remembered to ask again the following week. Five adults who took time to get down on their knee and look into our child’s face and show interest in their artwork. Five adults who prayed for opportunities to speak into the life of our children and our family. I can only pray that I will continue this legacy of love and thanks to those of you who have made it possible for our children to have a sticky faith. Thanks for being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Values are crucial to our lives.
Like a computer operating system they automatically dictate our behavior and choices. The dictionary defines values as our principles or standards of behavior that we automatically and often unknowingly use to make a judgment about what is important. All of us have them and to some degree they are unique to each of us. We may share some values with others but anyone who has ever been married or ever had a long term friendship knows how unique our personal values are and how easy it is to unknowingly offend our partner’s/friend's values. For instance, if someone places a high value on privacy they almost always prefer to keep the details of their life private. What happens then when their spouse or friend innocently passes information to others as a “prayer request”? Deep hurt, confusion, frustration and long term damage almost always follow such an innocent action. Why? A strongly held personal value of privacy was crossed. Both values were good and healthy choices: prayer is always a good thing and something’s should be kept private. So why was there conflict and hurt? The values clashed.
What is true for people is just as true for Churches.
Just as people often hold strong personal values, so do Churches. Every Church has a core set of values that are observable, measurable and often dictate the choices and actions of the Church family. People who attend the Church will either feel comfortable or out of step based on one simple factor: how well their personal values mesh with the values of the Church family. If there is a good overlap they will feel comfortable the moment they walk through the door. If there is not a good connection however, they will feel out of step no matter how long they attend the Church. That is the power of values in our personal life and in our life together. They direct our choices, set our direction and automatically determine what is important for us.
That is why beginning January 18 and continuing until February 22 we are going to stop and recognize SBC’s God given values and how they set direction for us. We believe that these values are readily observable and measurable in our midst. Even more we believe that these values automatically determine our choices as we make decisions about our future. That’s why we need to stop and recognize what is important to us and boldly celebrate how important they are! At the same time we want to recognize that as we continue to pursue our vision, our values will help us make the tough decisions and choices that are before us. Please join us, every Sunday, or online, as we explore our God given values and the role they play in decision making.
Jan. 18: Our God given value of Prayer (Larry via video)
Jan. 25: Our God given value of Service (Jack)
Feb. 1: Our God given value of Everyday Faith (Del)
Feb. 8: Our God given value of Relationships (Matt)
Feb. 15: Our God given value of Giving (Jack)
Feb. 22: Our God given Value of Scripture (Mikel)
To listen to the sermons in this series, please click here.
Wow, we've got a lot of upcoming artists in our church family! We had amazing drawings of Pastor Larry turned in after the service on Sunday, and we thought you would enjoy viewing them! Winners will be announced during the Children's Feature this Sunday.
Pastor Larry, through the eyes of a child:
We apologize for the purple line running through most of the pictures. We had some technical difficulties with our scanner!