Japan Mission Trip Update 8.28.2019

Some of you who have been following with me on my journey home may remember the story of how I met the pastor of the Christian Church in Japan.  My wife and I were visiting our son who works in Japan and we decided that we wanted the experience of worshiping with Christians in Japan.  Since our daughter-in-law is Japanese, we asked her where we could find such a church.  She is a Christian but has known Christianity through the Catholic Church, but she had a friend who did attend such a church that we were looking for.  However, her friend had just moved back to the States but she called her anyways.  Her friend called her back in about an hour or two and told her that she had already called the pastor who told her that they would pick us up so that we wouldn’t have trouble finding the church. 

Sure enough, they were waiting for us and took us to the church.  On the way, I remembered that gifting is big in Japan and I had not secured a gift so I silently offered up a prayer – God, HELP!!  Then I remembered that I had an extra copy of my book, The Mystery Of Faith, and decided to give it to the pastor when we arrived.

As soon as we arrived we were escorted to the worship center and was met by the Pastor, who greeted us very graciously.  I then presented him with my gift and wasn’t sure how it was received.  Not being familiar with the customs, I was unprepared for his response.  He got choked up and I thought he was going to cry.  I quickly asked, did I do something wrong?  He replied, NO, NO, you don’t understand.  You see I have been praying for some months that God would send me someone to encourage me, and you are him.  Then I got choked up as well and also felt some relief that I had not offended him.   From that first encounter we have had a growing relationship that has lasted for three years already.  He has made two trips to the USA and met with me on both occasions

He is also translating my book into Japanese and hopes to complete the translation this year.  At one point he had another person helping with the translation and there was a great flood and all of their work was lost in the flood.  On another occasion there was an earthquake that did damage to his home and I don’t know if he was able to get it repaired or not.  The short version is that Satan has been working overtime to stop his work on the translation.  Please pray for him to be encouraged and that Satan’s efforts be turned against him.

Several months ago the pastor shared with me his plan for a Bible Training Conference again this year.  He has had such a conference several times but his concern was that the attendees had been coming to be entertained, rather than be trained.  We discuss his dilemma and he wondered if I would be able to attend this year.  I shared it with our mission pastor at our church and he suggested that we offer to provide the training for the conference this year as a help to focus on the training aspect.  After the pastor prayed about it for several days he agreed and invited our church to be a part of the conference.  I had no trouble getting a team together, in fact it happened immediately.  We even had volunteers beyond our need and had to limit the team to four.  The pastor from Japan made the trip to meet with the team from our church and we saw the Lord hand all along the way.  It has been exciting to see the Lord bring it all together.

Today the mission team met to do the final planning for the Olivet Training Conference in Japan that is scheduled for the first week in October in Osaka, Japan.  We received the final schedule this week and we are making final preparations for the trip.  Everyone is excited and sensing the Lord’s involvement.  I will be speaking twice.  My first session I will be on the Operation Of Faith.  It is so amazing to me that there are so few in the church who knows how faith works and why.  The second session I will be addressing the Trial of Faith.  We need to understand that the trials are not to put us down but to build us up in our faith.  We are anticipating about 50-60 in attendance and the conference will be in three languages (English, Japanese and Chinese).  The reason is that just over half of the attendees will be from China and just under half will be from Japan.  We have an opportunity to touch the church leaders from two great nations who are presently facing great difficulty.  Already they have made request for situations they are facing and are looking to us for Biblical answers. 

When I returned home from the meeting with the mission team, I checked my website and found a comment from  one of the attendees of the Olivet Bible Training Conference that we will be doing next month.  I share his comment that you can rejoice with me.   Dear Pastor Vernon

I am one of the attendees of the Bible Training Conference in Japan. I am very exited to find this place.

I am reading your book The Mystery Of Faith, and it really helps me know more about God and the truths of faith. Praise the Lord and thank you so much!

I don’t know how he found my website but I was really blessed that he would make such an effort to let me know how they were preparing for this time.  It is my prayer that the Lord will be able to use us as His instruments to meet their needs.  I have a saying that I use for such occasions.  “It has God’s fingerprints all over it.” 

May the Lord build you in your adventures of faith.

Brother Vernon

Eternal life

Most Christians have heard John 3:16 quoted many times and can probably quote it themselves.  I have heard it quoted so many times that I had become dull of hearing and felt that I knew the verse quite well.  Then one day as I was reading the verse, yet once again, there was one word that jumped out at me and it was like someone slapped me in the face and said look at this phrase, and that was the phrase, Eternal Life.  The one word was “eternal” and all of a sudden the verse exploded into amazing understanding. 

The word eternal means “without end” so I began to contemplate what life without end really means.  I thought of from now on without an end, that is a finishing end.  I considered, starting with salvation that there would never be an end to my life.  I wondered, what would it be like in say 100,000 or a million years?  Would I ever get bored or complacent with that existence?  Then I remembered that in eternity there is no such thing as time and off my mind went with that adjustment, wondering how that would work and what it would be like. . .

Then I remembered studying the concept of infinity in college and recalled that an infinity(meaning no end) has no end in either direction.  Going forward there is no end and going backward there is no end.  My mind began to hit overload with this new insight.  Here in time and space we think linear, that is in a straight line.  We don’t consider any of the other possible directions but in eternity all directions are considered so eternal life must mean without beginning or end.  That was real difficult because I think of my life as having a beginning.  That beginning was at my conception and it is dated from my birth.  I have no recollection of life prior to that yet the Bible records that we were in the mind of God before time began.  Now my mind is really buzzing as I realize that I actually am older than dirt.  God‘s plan for me existed prior to His creation of the world.  Now I began to realize that I am not a product of chance happening, or the result of certain chemicals coming into contact with each other, in short, a product of creation.  It is just the other way around, creation is the product of God’s plan for me and you.  It serves as a womb of sorts to provide an environment where God can complete His plan of making man in His own image, after His likeness and with dominion.

As I began to feel a little comfortable with this new understanding, another truth came to mind.  Not only does eternal life not have a beginning or an end but eternal life encompasses all possibilities in all other directions as well.  At this point my mind went into TILT.  I failed to comprehend the whole of the idea of life in the full meaning of eternal.  This truth is too wonderful for me. Though I could not comprehend it, I was affected by it.

Then I began to think about God.  He is Eternal.  The Bible describes Him as the eternal God.  We think of this as a title but it is so much more.  It is a description of the dynamic of who and what God is.  This is promise that God’s plan is not some pie in the sky, by and by, but His plan is to make us His children and to give us eternal life.  That is His life that shares with us as we live in Him.  He is getting us ready for an eternity beyond our comprehension.   That is why we share in His inheritance, His sufferings, His character, His reign and His life.

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting (eternal) life.   For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He that believeth in Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not in Him is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

A Milestone

Yesterday was a milestone in my life – I turned 75.  Just think, that is 3/4 of a Century.  In those years I have come a long way and seen a lot.  The world has changed and life is totally different than it was when I got here.

My younger years began in a behind the times era before electricity in our home; before indoor plumbing; when water was drawn from a well, we grew our own food, canned, washed clothes on a wash board and graduated to a wringer washer; milked our own cow; churned our own butter; used kerosene lamps; chopped our own wood; plowed with a team of mules and rode in a wagon. I wore bib overalls; went barefoot in the summer; ate wild berries and plumbs; fished and caught fireflies and June bugs. The biggest event I remember from this era was when China was taken over by Communism and we watched the progression across the country.

My world was flipped up side down at the age of 10 when we moved to western Colorado. I went from a hick country environment to the city; from a two room school where there was just three of us in the same grade where I was the only boy to a much larger school where there were three classrooms of +/- 50 in each class room all in the same grade. This was the era of bell bottoms, hippies, rock and roll, hot rods, the greasers, in their duck tail haircuts. The farm life was replaced by the orchards and produce stands. Color TV was the big thing and the Korean war was the big news. Rotary phones and private lines replaced the 8 party lines and the wooden wall phone. Automobiles began to display a variety of extras such as automatic transmissions, AC, radios, variable speed windshield wipers, power windows and hard top and convertibles. The 40 hour work week became standard along with a two week vacation. Social Security became mandatory and retirement was at 62 with full benefits.

Upon graduation I traveled for several months, that took me to Utah, Oregon, California and back to Colorado. I worked for the Colorado Department of Highways on a survey crew and then attended college in 1964. It was that year the President Kennedy was assassinated and the world was once again turned upside down. Darla Rae Miler and I were married on December 27th and moved to LA and saw the fires of the Watts Riots from our living Room window. Then followed the Vietnam war, high gas prices and the impeachment of President Nixon. We returned to Colorado and I went to work at Climax Molybdenum Co. and was there for 4.5 years. That is when hang gliding became popular. Instead of depression we now had to face inflation and its varied problems. This was the period that I became a Christian and my life was turned upside down once again. We purchased a mobile home (our first ownership) and moved to Carbondale, Co and another career change, this time to Construction. By now our family had grown to 5 with the birth of our 3 kids.

The next era saw me going back to college and another move to Greeley, Co. to attend the University of Northern Colorado with a major in business. This is where God began to reorder my life. The first area that He dealt with is that I needed to trust Him with all of my life. He began with stewardship and began to unveil His economy. Change is the order of the day and once again everything is turned upside down. Once I got on board with trusting Him, He then called me into the ministry and I found the something that I had been missing all along

Then it was off to school to study for the ministry and the addition of two more Children, making our family now 7. While attending school, I also became the pastor of my first church. I also served in two jail ministries, rest homes, street evangelism and a variety of other ministries. Living by faith in the Lord brought many amazing events. He provided food when our cupboards were bare, shoes and boots and clothes, financial provision and multiple demonstrations of His love and presence. I was able to graduate without any school debt or loans even though my income was $1.80 per hour for a 20 hour week, though there were times that I didn’t get the full 20 hours.

Now I am retired and have lived through some of the greatest events of history. From the end of WW II, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the middle east wars, and several other military skirmishes. Through fashion changes of all kinds, social changes, dress codes and language changes. The technology has gone through the roof with the development of computers, cell phones, satellites and the internet. Knowledge has increased at a phenomenal rate. Space exploration has reached heights only dreamed of in earlier times. Travel has become a way of life with the airlines, trains, automobiles and water ways. Truly, I have lived in the “Golden Age” of all time and have seen and experienced amazing things.

So what lies ahead? The wonder of tomorrow is yet to be known but there are a few things that I am certain of. Time is in the hands of God. The Bible declares that now is the accepted time for now is all we have for certain. Preparation for eternity is the most important event in a person’s life. Jesus said “You must be born again” and we only have one life to make that choice. It is that choice that will determine what lies ahead. The second thing I am certain of is that everyone chooses the course of his or her life. It is not circumstances or others, or limits, or race, or environment, or chance, or even forces of darkness that determine our course, but the simple choice of accepting God’s way or the way of the world.(Jn.1:12) There is no one or anything that you can blame because the choice is yours and yours alone. Thirdly, like the Apostle Paul, I am persuaded that God is able to deliver me spotless and blameless before Him in Love. I know a thing or two because I have seen a thing or two in my short 75 years.

Update 8.4.19

As you may already be aware, a team of 4 from our church are making a mission trip to Japan the first week in October. There are about 50 expected to attend a Bible Training Conference which we will participate in as conference speakers. The theme of the conference is Walking by Faith and we were planning on presenting each participant with a copy of my book, The Mystery of Faith in their own language. There are two major problems at this point and both of them could affect whether or not we can provide the written materials to the attendees. The first is the problem of printing as China has shut down all printing presses to printing anything pertaining to the gospel and is under tight scrutiny. We have an alternate plan that we hope to use that will make it much safer for all of the attendees. The second is the completion of the Japanese translation which is currently underway and is over half completed. Please pray that this work will be completed on time.

A second piece of news is that pastor T was here in the area and met with the team and a lot of the planning for the trip was made. Both the team and Pastor T got many of the answers that were needed and all saw a great spirit of cooperation and fellowship and we all came away with the deep sense that God’s fingerprints were all over this project. This will be our church’s first mission project in Japan and much ground work has been necessary to lay a good foundation. There is the hope that this can be just the beginning of other efforts in Japan and beyond. More on this as it develops.

Our Sunday School class has taken on the task of assisting in the printing of the book, The Mystery of Faith in the Japanese language. We have not reached our goal but have reached 1/4th of it. I am always amazed as to how God works. All of the translators have come forth on their own to volunteer to do the translations and now we see the Lord providing for other facets of the work. I call it the fingerprints of God and I see Him doing what I could never do. Sometimes I marvel out loud, “God, you are good.”

The persecution in China has intensified considerably and since May all Christian churches that have not come under the control of the government are illegal and severe consequences will follow those who are caught operating as an illegal church. Numbers of pastors and church leaders have been imprisoned and their churches disbanded. It has caused much confusion within the underground church and a number of individuals have been forced to sign a paper denouncing their profession of faith and pledging full allegiance to the authority of the government. Further, all printing that has anything to do with the gospel is now strictly forbidden. I would ask you to pray for the government leaders to see that the Christian people are not a threat to their secular position but are an asset to the whole nation and will enrich their lives and secure their nationality. Also, that they too, will discover Christ and claim His new life.

The Russian translation is at a halt for now since my translator has gone on to be with the Lord. I am asking the Lord how to proceed as I do not have a translator to complete this work. As far as the Spanish translation, it is finishing up on chapter 4 and we are ready to begin chapter 5. The work there is going slow as my translator has her mother living with her and that requires many of the hours in a day to care for her. Still she is slowly moving ahead on the Spanish translation.