Tis’ the Transition Season

At the end of the year we often take time to reflect on what has taken place over the previous 5o plus weeks, as well as look forward to what will happen in the next 52. At Grace we find ourselves in such a situation, as we continue to see God blessing Grace in numerous ways, both in 2015 and as we look to 2016.

Possibly the biggest transition that is taking effect is the transition to a new church governance structure led by a Council of Elders. Within the last few months the transition to elders has been a major part of the discussion here at Grace, as elders were nominated, introduced, and then affirmed by the congregation. It has been exciting to see God work in the lives of the congregation, as well as those who he has called to Grace to serve on the first council of elders.IMG_3241It is also the time of the year where, in some ways, we experience a break from the normalcy of routine and schedules. With Christmas rapidly approaching , the season for both the Christmas and New Year’s holidays invite with it the end-of-the-year parties, the family get-togethers, and the time spent reminiscing. This past Thursday the final deacons’ meeting was held in Moffat Hall. The time was spent communicating what has been taking place of Grace, encouraging those who will be joining the group of deacons’, as well as praying for those who will be leading the congregation of Grace as elders. In attendance at the meeting were those who have served and will be transitioning off of the deacon board, those who will be IMG_3984continuing to serve, the men and women who will be starting to serve in such a role at the start of 2016, as well as the new members of the Council of Elders.

We remain in awe of what God is doing at Grace Baptist Church and how He has continued to provide people to serve in a variety of ways. Let us continue to lift up all of those who have been serving and who will be serving in the upcoming year. In this Christmas season, let us not forget the blessing of Christ and the blessing it is to be a part of His church.

An Update from Tom and Paula Carr

Hi, Everyone!

Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 106:1

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We’re thankful for our friends and co-workers, with whom we celebrated Thanksgiving on Nov. 16.  We all pitched in and made a delicious meal, including turkey (imported by Costco from the states).  Please PRAY for the Smith and Sadowitz families, Bill and Becky Petite, Paul Shook, Sue Hahn and us as we labor here in Kyushu in our various locations.

We’re thankful for the Lord having e
verything under control, even when our plans don’t come about as we hope.  We had NO new teens show up for hiking (only Mitch, Tevia, along with Shuuichi, who usually comes to these events, but not to church).  And the next day NO children came for that hiking event, either!  This was the first time that there have been no children to these events.  Please PRAY that we will have much better attendance at this month’s events: on December 12th for the teens, and on December 19th for the children.

We’re thankful our gospel choir, Voice of Hope, will have it’s first opportunity to sing in public on December 23rd, a national holiday here. (As we’ve mentioned before, Christmas Day, Dec. 25, is NOT a holiday here in Japan!)  The choir will be singing two songs as an opening,  before a couple we’ve invited from Kitakyushu give a full concert.  Of course we’re trusting the choir members will stay for the remainder of the concert, so PRAY that they and others who attend that night will be touched by the songs the Ayatsukas sing and the testimonies they share.  Please PRAY that many with open hearts will be able to come–well, at least around 60–we may not have room for more than that, but we’d definitely like to have that problem!

We’re thankful for United’s MileagePlus Program, which helped us to be able to get tickets for Andrew and Lindy to come home to Japan for Christmas.  Because tickets purchased with miles are only valid on certain days, the kids HAVE to stay here almost a month!  Of course we’re all excited to have them be with us for that long and can hardly wait for Dec. 15th when they will arrive, Lord willing.  Please PRAY for safety and for us all to be used during that time to glorify God among the Japanese.  Also PRAY for Andrew and Lindy to finish out their semester well, as they only have two weeks left of classes and exams.

We’re thankful Paula’s long-term heart symptoms have finally been diagnosed and that she is scheduled to have a catheter ablation procedure to correct her atrial fibrillation during the first week of April, 2016. In the meantime she’s on medication to help control the heart beat and rhythm.  We’re also thankful for Japanese health insurance, since the overall cost of the diagnosis and procedure, travel to and from the hospital (which is three hours away), the stay in the hospital (this is Japan, where almost EVERYTHING requires a hospital stay) and a hotel room for Tom while she’s hospitalized will be probably a tenth or less of what it would be in the states!

We’re thankful for all of you and your faithful prayers and support.  May God grant you peace and joy during the Christmas and New Year season!

CARRying the Gospel
Tom, Paula, Mitchell, Tevia (in Izumi) and Andrew and Lindy(in Cedarville)

648-1 Sakai Machi, Izumi Shi, Kagoshima Ken 899-0122 JAPAN

0996-79-4748–from Japan; 937-919-5841–from U.S.;

tcarr@abwe.cc

Faith and Family Night

I want to give you an update on the Columbus Blue Jackets Faith and Family Night held a week ago Friday.

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We were glad for a hard fought win over the Nashville Predators as it always makes for a better atmosphere and immediately following the game and before the concert I am allowed to speak to those who stay for the “Faith” part of the game.

I will say that our numbers were a little lower this year than last but here are some things we are taking away from the evening.  First of all Brad Larson, an assistant coach for the team and one of the few believing coaches in the NHL, shared his testimony publicly for the first time in his life.  He was so ecstatic afterward he was glowing and he has shared with me that he thinks God may be calling him into full time ministry but he doesn’t know for sure.  You can be praying for Brad because in all honesty, he will have opportunities to be head coach in the NHL and that is a mission field to an unreached people group in a very real sense of the word.  Also, we praise God for the two conversations I had afterwards with people who were desiring to know more about what I spoke about – the gospel.

One last piece of information is that we were able to have the Wilberforce basketball team to our house the night before Thanksgiving.  I have an amazing wife and family that can pull off having 25 unexpected guests until one day before they asked if we could possibly feed them a meal.  The coach and his wife stayed long after the team departed and we were able to have an enjoyable time with them.

We trust this note finds you well and we thank you for your partnership in the gospel!

All for One and One for all

    Brian D. Hanson

GateKeepers Ministries

  “Leading with the Truth”

(614)507-6220

www.gatekeepersministries.com