Nago City Preaching Point, Downtown Worship Concert!
This month we hosted an outdoor worship event in Nago city. The music team from our main church, Sound of Praise, all drove up to Nago and set up in a downtown marketplace. We had been practicing together for weeks and the work paid off. We had an excellent turnout and God was clearly present. People were excited and joyful. It was wonderful to see Japanese people, even strangers, dancing around, worshiping in the outdoor community square- a rare and special sight in Japan!
Most people in attendance were English students of Stacie, and personal contacts we have made in Nago City. I was able to preach a short evangelical sermon freely in the public space. The community square is surrounded by small local restaurants, vegetable stores, bakeries, and other farmers market stalls. God blessed the event and seemed to place a special excitement in the atmosphere.
Afterward some of our Japanese ladies reported that the restaurant on the second floor was overrun with customers, with a long line outside the door, eventually running out of food! They learned from staff that the restaurant normally has few customers.
During the event, we met a Japanese man who handles event public relations in Nago city. He seemed eager to help promote another event. During outreach, before the event, an English student of Stacie's, who also happens to be a radio DJ, offered to promote the event on her station. It certainly feels like God is opening the way for future events here!
Teaching Purpose Institute Bible Classes
For November, I was asked to teach the Purpose Institute class at Sound of Praise Church in Uruma City. The class was Revelation and Bible prophecy, a topic in which I take particular interest. It was challenging to say the least. Bible prophecy is difficult enough to teach without having to worry about how it translates into a language that, often, does not have the same vocabulary. However, with Sis. Hosmer's help, we managed, and in the class we all felt a renewed excitement and an urgency to prepare for an endtime revival and Jesus' return!
Praise Report: Stacie's New Medical Treatment
Many of you know Stacie has faced many health challenges for most of her life. She suffers from Crohn's disease, Hypothyroid, and Alopecia causing hair loss and the need to wear wigs, among other issues. The past two years have been especially challenging. To make matters worse, we have spent more than a year, going from hospital to hospital, trying to find a doctor that will properly diagnose and treat Stacie's illnesses. After many frustrating and time-wasting situations, we seem to have finally found a doctor that is willing to do what it takes to help.
Earlier this year, Stacie's new doctor offered to help her apply to the national health system for a special medical coverage to which she had previously been denied years ago. The doctor was confident, with his help, that we would be approved. This special coverage would allow us to try a new medication for Crohn's that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive. The paperwork was extensive, and included many medical tests. Upon the doctor's advice Stacie checked into the hospital for several days to allow for a series of tests and checks.
Finally, last month, Stacie was approved for the special coverage and was able to start the new treatment. This also means nearly all of her medical expenses related to Crohn's, including the medication, will be covered by the national health system. It is a huge relief to be taking a step forward and we believe we are already seeing positive changes in Stacie's health and energy.
We have always trusted God to take care of us on the missions field. It isn't always easy, but God always provides what we need. Between Stacie's Crohns, my and Kiana's Diabetes, we may or may not be perfectly healthy until Jesus returns, but we trust God for the strength and health we need to serve on the field He has called us to. Meanwhile, please join us in praying with hope, subject to God's greater wisdom, for a full healing for all of us in the Panton family. Also, as a special request, please keep Micah in your prayers during January as he is scheduled for surgery to have his tonsils removed.
We have been continuing efforts to make ourselves part of the community. Once per month our apartment complex has a cooperative cleaning and maintenance day. It is a great opportunity to meet with and speak to neighbours. Whenever possible, we stop at one of the community parks after the kids are finished school. There is a large group of children at one of the parks who have come to recognize us. They have taken to surrounding me shouting "Otoosan! Onigoko o yarimasu ka?" - (Micah and Kiana's) Dad! Will you play tag with us? In January, we hope to start a free Sunday-school-like program at the city community center where we will teach English and Bible stories to children. Through all of our contacts, we believe we will have a good group to start. This could be key to growing the Nago preaching point into a full church. Please pray with us for this ministry!