UPDATES: NEWS
Dale and Ann Little

TMC Summer 2018 Outreach English (1)

2017_07_28-2
TMC is looking for 3-5 teachers for this summer’s outreach English conversation classes, July 23-27, with teacher arrival in Tokyo on July 20 and departure on July 31.

This summer ministry connects TMC with new contacts for ongoing outreach to Japanese people during the rest of the year. Summer students range in age from three years old (the beginning of pre-school and kindergarten in Japan) through adults. We expect about twenty students for the five days of teaching.

Some class preparation, including gathering resources for teaching, will be done before teachers arrive. But final preparation will take place during orientation on Saturday July 21. Lesson plans can be further adjusted after the classes begin.

Some requirements for the teachers:
  • Recommendation from pastor or a missions leader of home church
  • Follower of Jesus Christ, with a desire to share his gospel
  • One year of service in home church (e.g., Sunday school teaching, small group involvement, ushering, nursery worker, greeter, etc.)
  • Native English speaker, able to teach conversational English to both children and adults
  • Undergraduate university degree preferred
Please contact Dale if you are interested!

First TMC Membership Meeting

2018_01_21-3
15 TMC members or attenders and 3 guests joined us for our first TMC membership meeting on January 21, 2018. We glanced back over the past several years, looked forward to our 2018 lineup of events, and opened the floor for discussion of several issues.

As a result, we decided to share testimonies during worship services twice a month, start some Sunday afternoon small groups once a month, and add a second worship service that would be in Japanese when we reach the seating limits of our rental facility (probably about 50 people).

We hope members will take increasing responsibility in decision making as TMC defines and refines its leadership structure. Membership meetings will probably be held 2-3 times a year, with non-members usually invited as observers.

The Lord has financially provided for TMC’s rental facility through the giving of Sunday worshippers and the financial partners who have contributed to our ongoing TMC Fund within our EFCCM Ministry Enhancement Fund. The purpose of the TMC Fund is to cover a gradually decreasing portion of TMC’s rental facility costs during the church’s early years as TMC gradually takes on full responsibility for covering those costs. We are thankful that by the end of 2017 TMC attenders were covering almost all of TMC’s monthly rental facility costs! If we don’t need the TMC Fund for TMC#1 in 2018 we hope to use it to begin building TMC#2’s launch fund.

2018_01_21-4

Our Little Family Christmas in Maine 2017

2017_12 fam 1
At the end of 2017 we had the joy of celebrating Christmas in Maine USA with our own “3 + 3” children! Matthew & Kristy came from Philadelphia PA, Bryan & Jessica from St. Louis MO, and Matthew & Victoria from Manchester NH. We were able to rent the same house as last year.

In Japan, after busy Christmas Sundays of worship and outreach, church life seems to go into slow motion as New Years preparations and family events take priority until the end of the first week of January. So the few weeks after Christmas Sunday provide a good opportunity for us to take a mini-vacation. Perhaps Christmas (or post-Christmas) in Maine is becoming our new Little family tradition!

TMC Family Christmas 2017

2017_12_17kids-13
On Sun afternoon Dec 17 we held our annual TMC Family Christmas event. We welcomed parents and children from our Sunday school, our apartment complex, 2017 summer English program, and Ann’s “Moms and Tots” English class. We shared the story of the first Christmas and sang Christmas songs. TMC young adults taught games and crafts, and served refreshments. It was a lot of fun and we value the personal connections we are making with each family.

On Christmas Sunday Dec 24 we had morning Sunday school in Japanese (adults and children) and worship service in English with sermon interpretation into Japanese, Christmas lunch potluck, Christmas caroling in the nearby park in the afternoon, and an evening Christmas candle service in Japanese with a “chalk-talk.”

US Thanksgiving Meal 2017

2017_11_26Thanx-3TMC hosted a US Thanksgiving meal on Nov 26. The purpose of the event was to reach out to our Japanese community, sharing the reason followers of Jesus Christ give thanks for his gospel.

TMC holds these kinds of Japanese language outreach events 3-4 times a year.

Japanese Interpretation at TMC

2017_10_08-2
Starting in October, we began to offer Japanese interpretation of English sermons at Tokyo Multicultural Church on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. Duane, our ReachGlobal church planting colleague, is an excellent interpreter!

This brings us a step closer to launching TMC’s Japanese language worship service.

EFCCM Japan Retreat

2017_09 EFCCMJ retreat 1We are thankful for the encouraging first ever retreat for Japan personnel of our agency, the Evangelical Free Church of Canada Mission, Sep. 19–23. We hosted the 13 people at our vacation house in northeastern Japan.

It was a time of refreshment and connection, providing a glimpse of the EFCCM’s desire to care for its personnel. We were especially grateful that our Tokyo Multicultural Church colleagues from ReachGlobal and the EFC Macau Mission could join us. And we are thankful that our Ministry Fund was healthy enough to cover the housing costs of the retreat.

TMC Chinese Department Launched!

2017_09_24-7
On Sun Sep 24 Kevin, TMC’s missionary staff member from the EFC Macau, launched TMC’s Chinese Department by hosting the first Mandarin language fellowship and Bible time. The Chinese Mandarin group will initially meet one Sunday afternoon each month. Kevin & Grace joined our TMC missionary staff in March of this year, with Kevin’s primary responsibility being the development of our Chinese Department.

TMC is indeed moving toward creating intentional space for the multiple cultures and languages the Lord is bringing to TMC—China, Hong Kong, Macau, India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, UK, USA, Canada, etc.—while at the same time reaching out locally in Japanese.

Located at one of the centers of the world’s largest megacity, TMC is a Christ centered, Bible based, disciple making church, trying to display the multi-faceted glory of God by worshiping and obeying Jesus Christ in a warm and welcoming multicultural setting.

TMC Japanese Sunday School Launched!

2017_09-10-4-2
On Sun Sep 10 Ann launched TMC’s twice a month children’s Sunday school in Japanese. Although multiple languages are spoken at TMC, the children predominantly speak Japanese. Ann had three little ones on Sep 10 and two others were sick. She has hoped to start this for some time and loves the ministry opportunity it provides. And she really appreciates the help she is getting from one of the moms.

TMC’s worship service is in English so we have been planning ways to incorporate other languages in our regular Sunday events. Ann’s children’s Sunday school in Japanese is one such non-English event, along with our weekly adult Japanese Bible study taught by Duane. This month we are also planning to begin a monthly Sunday afternoon Chinese language fellowship, led by Kevin. And we are moving toward launching a Japanese language worship service on Sundays, perhaps initially with a few months of Japanese translation during our current English worship service.

Introducing...MATTHEW & VICTORIA LITTLE!

2017_08_04-4 MnV – 2
Matthew Little married Victoria Azagoh-Kouadio on August 4!

They met while undergraduate students at Biola University in La Mirada, California. After graduating they moved to the Burlington area where Victoria worked in retail clothing store management and Matthew launched his own subscription coffee company, Brothers Coffee.

It was a hot, sunny day for Matthew and Victoria’s outside wedding in charming rural Charlotte, Vermont, just south of Burlington. Dale officiated at the ceremony of the beautiful bride and handsome groom. (No bias there!) They read their personalized vows to one another and exchanged rings in front of family and friends. And then all enjoyed the reception that followed in the nicely repurposed wedding barn.

Matthew and Victoria began their honeymoon with two days in New York city, followed by ten days in Malta, where Victoria has relatives and enjoyed frequent childhood vacations. Within their first year of marriage they hope to visit Japan so Matthew can show Victoria around.

Matthew and Victoria are starting their married life together in Manchester, New Hampshire, where Victoria lived during her high school years. Victoria has been transferred to a retail store nearby and Matthew continues his entrepreneurial business endeavors.

All three of our children have gotten married within 15 months of each other (May 2016, Dec 2016, and Aug 2017)!

TMC Summer Outreach English

2017_07_31
During the week of July 24–29 we held our annual outreach English classes at Tokyo Multicultural Church. This year the Forster family from Hillside EFC in Greenbank WA, one of our supporting churches, joined us. Prior to the classes we prayer-walked in our corner of central Tokyo and held orientation sessions.

It is said that in Japan at least 10 years is required from first clearly hearing about Jesus Christ until coming to faith in him. Furthermore, because of group thinking in Japan (as opposed to the individualism of the West) it is strategic for Japanese people to be enfolded in a church for their journey to Christ and ongoing growth in the faith.

2017_07_24-1
Although 70% of those who attend TMC hold foreign passports, reaching Japanese for Christ is at the center of TMC’s thinking. Our summer English classes help us implement that vision.

Several of the seven children in Ann’s moms and tots afternoon classes (and one more who cancelled) were invited by one of the moms. These children and their moms all seem interested in joining Ann’s weekly classes. If they do, they will continue to learn English as well as Bible stories.

2017_07_25-3
The six adult students in evening classes (and two more who had to cancel) registered largely because they already knew about TMC’s English conversation program. Three weeks later, one of them, with a twinkle in his eye, told Dale that it is a miracle he has attended TMC each Sunday since the summer classes! Another student had started to attend TMC before the summer classes.

We are thankful for the opportunity our July 2017 English conversation classes gave us to once again share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

All students in TMC’s English classes—children and their moms as well as adult students—hear about Jesus Christ in Japanese.


2017_07_28

Megumi Project Visit

Megumi2017_07-2
Several times a year we drive to Onagawa town, Miyagi-ken, in northeastern Japan to visit the missionaries and salaried Japanese ladies at the Megumi Project. The central part of the town was completely destroyed by tsunami on March 11, 2011. On each visit we are impressed by the town’s progress in rebuilding.

Megumi2017_07-3
The emotional and spiritual personal recovery of the ladies who work at Megumi Project is less visible but just as real. The ladies are survivors of the disaster and have been encouraged by the Christ-centered love shown to them by the missionaries leading the Onagawa Megumi Project and by the many unseen donors in the background.

Megumi2017_07-4
The Japan Disaster Fund of the EFC of Canada Mission Asia Region (a Ministry Expansion Fund) was a great encouragement to Megumi Project. We are so pleased to see that Megumi Project is “bringing the love and hope of Jesus Christ to tsunami devastated northeastern coastal Japan”! That is the slogan we used when we served in tsunami recovery ministry in 2012, based in Sendai.

Megumi2017_07-8
During our July 2017 visit we enjoyed lunch with the ladies hard at work in the trailer and then dropped by the Megumi Project store in the new promenade in central Onagawa. We also delivered a few used kimono to the ladies so they can continue to design and sell unique items made from kimono material.

Go to the Onagawa Megumi Project website to buy their beautiful products! All proceeds go to paying the salaries of the employed ladies.

Megumi Project is a social enterprise that repurposes vintage kimono products, creates community, and shares grace with people living in post-disaster Onagawa, Japan.


Megumi2017_07-7

Teaching Theology in Japan and Canada

jbs2
In June 2017 Dale began his 15th year of teaching his one semester Contemporary Theology course in Japanese at Japan Bible Seminary (Tokyo). He encourages his students to critically grasp the breadth of Christian theology, with a special emphasis on evangelical theology. He now teaches this course on a modular basis, with one set of classes at the beginning of the semester (June) and another at the end (October), thus reducing his commuting time and increasing flexibility for his students.

In the fall of 2016 Dale taught Church Planting Theology at ACTS Seminaries of Trinity Western University (greater Vancouver), live-streamed from Tokyo Multicultural Church. The course was divided into three sections: Church Planting and Biblical Theology, Church Planting and Systematic Theology, and Church Planting and Missiology. Dale is now in discussion with Zondervan about publishing a book based on this course. The tentative title is "God’s Ecclesial Mission: Theological Perspectives on Cross-Cultural Church Planting.”

Back "Home" to Japan

We wrapped up our six month home assignment and returned home to our Tokyo apartment on June 20–21, 2017. We were able to visit 15 of our partner churches, focusing on our Canadian support team. We drove from Maine to California, and then Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, covering 20,000 mi. / 32,000 km. We took every opportunity given us to share about Tokyo Multicultural Church, teach children, and preach messages on cross cultural missions and Japan’s need for Jesus Christ. We made new contacts, renewed friendships, and added a number of new Facebook friends.

We are so thankful that we had more than adequate funds in our EFCCM Ministry Fund to cover our home assignment travel costs. Any honorariums we received along the way were deposited to our Ministry Fund for our ongoing missionary ministry.

Roads between BC and AB traverse one of our favorite places: the Canadian Rockies! We were able to take time between Sundays for some light hiking and sightseeing in Banff and Jasper. The pic below was taken in late May in Jasper National Park, AB, and is typical of Ann with her tea and Dale with his coffee. We also toured the west side of Vancouver Island in BC for the first time. Open spaces and long stretches of often deserted highways (especially in AB and SK) were a marked contrast to the photos of our Tokyo neighborhood we included in our church presentations. We loved the openness!

2017_05 Jasper

We also visited the childhood home towns of Dale’s mother (Peace River AB) and father (Rolla BC), as well as Dawson Creek BC on the Alaska Highway where Dale graduated from high school. Dale connected with relatives and did some research on his family history. Discovering his spiritual heritage along the way was an added blessing. Dale’s paternal great grandfather, Lea Miller, founded and named Rolla BC, likening his pioneer journey from Rolla Missouri to Rolla BC to the life of Abraham, who in faith followed God not really knowing where he was going. What a rich heritage! And what fun!

It is no wonder Dale’s father, Rev. Lea Little, who passed away in Feb, used to speak so passionately about “pioneer church planting” in Japan! He himself came from a pioneer family in the Peace River area of BC.

Over our 33 years of ministry based in Japan, the word “home” has acquired several geographic reference points. Currently we consider Sumida-ku, Tokyo our home. We are making plans to retire in Cape Elizabeth, Maine USA (2021? 2022?), where Ann was raised and where we try to gather with our children for Christmas each year. So Maine is also home for us. But our ultimate geographic home marker is heaven itself where we will be with Jesus Christ and his followers who worship him from all nations, including those we serve at TMC and our parents who have gone on before us.

JEMA Presidency Turnover

Since 2008 Dale has served as the voluntary, part-time President of JAPAN EVANGELICAL MISSIONARY ASSOCIATION. At the annual meeting in February 2017 he turned over his JEMA leadership responsibilities to a capable missionary executive team, with Nathan Snow as the new President.

2016_03-2 Plenary
Our leadership team has enjoyed numerous lighter moments!

During those nine years Dale transitioned JEMA from one full time office manager to four wonderful part time staff; moved the JEMA office to a new and more spacious location within the Ochanomizu Christian Center building in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; arranged for a new JEMA website and webmaster; refocused the annual meetings from leaders and business to networking and equipping (“JEMA Connect”); expanded the JEMA executive team; and rewrote JEMA documents to reflect JEMA’s current leadership model (“Constitution and Appendix”).

There is always more to do in helping JEMA network, encourage, and equip its members. But Dale sensed that his role as a catalyst in establishing a fresh and relevant leadership foundation was more or less complete in early 2017. He would now like to focus more intentionally on church planting and publishing about church planting theology.

May God use the current visionary and gifted JEMA leaders to further his kingdom in Japan that so desperately needs Jesus Christ!

JEMA networks and equips its approximately 900 members to make disciples of Jesus Christ through its leadership team, commissions, representatives, and endorsed ministries. JEMA is composed of over 40 Japan based mission agencies and their personnel, other missionaries or tentmakers who do not belong to those agencies, and individuals living outside Japan who are interested in reaching Japanese for Christ.

Mid-Home Assignment Tokyo Visit

2017_03-1
For three weeks in February-March during our six-month home assignment we returned to Tokyo for the annual Japan Evangelical Missionary Association meetings, where Dale passed on the leadership baton (he has been President for 8 years and Vice-President for his final year), and Ann attended the JEMA Women in Ministry retreat.

It was great to be back at TMC for a few Sundays!

We also renewed our Tokyo Multicultural Church rental facility contract for another three years, filed our Japanese taxes, said good-bye to our one year short term missionary Alicia who returns to Ottawa Canada in April, and welcomed Kevin & Grace from the Evangelical Free Church of Macao to our TMC missionary staff.

The portion of our Ministry Enhancement Fund that is set aside for TMC has been helpful in encouraging TMC toward full financial independence from the EFCCM, covering the shortfall of our TMC facility rent that is not handled by the offerings of TMC worshippers. We hope that by the end of this year TMC offerings will fully cover our facility rental costs so that TMC will no longer need to access our Ministry Enhancement Fund, allowing us to set aside some of those funds for launching TMC#2 in the next few years.

Kristy: MK Care Director for American Baptists

2017 Kristy 200x200
Our daughter Kristy Fujiura has been appointed as "Director of Missionary Kid Care" for American Baptist International Ministries, effective May. So in April Kristy and her husband Matthew move from the Los Angeles California area to Philadelphia Pennsylvania. This new position (new for both Kristy and ABIM) aligns perfectly with Kristy’s personal history as a missionary kid, her developing vision, her gifting, and her education as a psychologist.

Furthermore, it would not have been possible without her husband’s unwavering encouragement. Perhaps the two are becoming a "dream team" of sorts, learning to serve God’s third culture kids scattered throughout the world. May they continue becoming a blessing to the nations!

A very brief bio of Kristy can be found at the Narramore Christian Foundation website. Kristy serves on the board. The global ministry of the Narramore Christian Foundation provides Christ-centered training and counseling for pastors, organization leaders, missionaries and their children, member care providers, and other Kingdom workers.

Lea Little, Dale's Dad

Dale’s father, Rev. Lea Little, peacefully went home to be with his Lord Jesus Christ on Mon Feb 6 at the age of 92.

1996_Feb Lea 1
He suffered a stroke a few days earlier and when hospitalized was also found to have pneumonia. Dad spent his final day in the comfort and familiarity of his own room in the Alzheimer’s wing of Evergreen Baptist Campus of Care in White Rock BC Canada.

All four of his children walked closely with him through the last few days of his earthly life, providing 24/7 care as best as possible. Ann and Dale rushed to his side on Sat from Washington state where they cut short a supporting church visit. His daughters Lynne and Lorraine cared for him through some of his most difficult hours all Sun night. His eldest, Phil, visited often and handled all the legal paperwork.

Dale’s father took his last few breaths while Dale was reading Revelation 21 and John 11 to him from his father’s big study Bible. Dad is now not only with Jesus; he is also with his beloved wife and Dale’s mother, Louise Little. In the almost five years since Dale’s mother died, his father has never stopped asking for her.

Dales father was from the Dawson Creek area of northern British Columbia (“Mile Zero” Alaska Highway) and his mother from the town of Peace River in northern Alberta. They met while students at Peace River Bible Institute in Alberta. In 1949 dad began his missionary career as part of the “CIM 49ers,” the last group of new missionaries to enter China with the China Inland Mission. Mom had begun her CIM missionary career in 1947. She was the first CIM missionary educated at PRBI. They were married in Hong Kong in 1951 after escaping from house arrest in their respective Chinese cities, an incarceration forced upon missionaries in China by the Communist government.

In 1953 Dale’s parents began their ministry in Japan with the Overseas Missionary Fellowship, the newly renamed CIM. After Japanese language study in Karuizawa, Nagano-ken, they led the church planting team at Hachinohe Evangelical Church (八戸福音キリスト教会) in Aomori-ken and then became the house parents of the OMF Chefoo school for missionary children in Sendai, Miyagi-ken. In 1965 they transferred to the Evangelical Free Church mission and moved from the Tohoku region of Japan to the Kansai. They were the founding church planters of Christ Community Church (クライストコミュニティ) in the Kobe city area of Hyogo-ken. During his final four years in Japan Dale’s father served in Kyoto as the field leader for the EFC mission in Japan.

After returning to Canada in 1975 for mom’s health reasons, dad became the first executive director of the EFC of Canada Mission, retiring in 1989. Dad’s life work as a missionary and missionary statesman spanned 40 years. Arvid Olson notes in his book "The Historical Development of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada Missions" that dad was the "Father of Canadian Free Church Missions'' (p. 57). (More about Dale’s parents here.)

Dad’s Celebration of Life, followed by a graveside service, will be held at 1PM on Wed Feb 15 at Victory Memorial Park Funeral Centre in Surrey BC Canada. Pastors Steve Doerksen of White Rock Community Church and Ken Klassen of Evergreen Baptist Campus of Care will lead the services.

From Coast to Coast

Since beginning our six month home assignment in mid-Dec, we have driven over 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers).

In early January we started out in Maine on the east coast and ended up in Washington state on the west coast, visiting supporting churches along the way in Michigan, California, and Oregon. During Sunday morning worship services we have the opportunity to share about our church planting ministry at Tokyo Multicultural Church. The Lord Jesus Christ is building his church!

And on our coast to coast trip we got to visit our three children…each in their own places: Vermont, Missouri, and California. After enjoying Christmas in Maine with them and their spouses/fiancees, it was a special treat to see them again!

2016_12_25-1-2

Introducing...BRYAN & JESSICA LITTLE!

BnJ Wedding 2
Bryan married Jessica Lange on December 18! The bride was beautiful and the groom handsome!…but we might be biased. Their God honoring, warm, and family friendly wedding was held in St. Charles (greater St. Louis, Missouri), with the reception nearby.

Bryan and Jessica met in 2012 at their church (First Evangelical Free Church in Manchester MO) after Bryan began working as an engineer at Boeing in St. Louis. Jessica works as an occupational therapist in the school system.

Over a sixteen month period all three of our children have or are getting married. In May 2016 Kristy gave us a wonderful son-in-law, Matthew Fujiura. Jessica just became our first daughter-in-law. And we are looking forward to adding a second lovely daughter-in-law in August 2017 when Matthew Little marries Victoria Azagoh.

Children's Christmas at TMC

2016_12_11

On Sunday December 11 we had another full house at TMC! Worship service brought out 27 adults and 6 children. That is a record number of children on a Sunday morning!…and so Ann is dreaming about launching a TMC Sunday School, perhaps in the fall of 2017.

2016_12_11-6
By Sunday afternoon, TMC was a lively place!

For several hours 13 children and 17 moms & dads, along with half a dozen TMC helpers, celebrated Christmas. Of the 13 children, 9 came as a result of Ann and Alicia’s “moms and tots” outreach English classes, 1 was from our apartment complex, and 3 were children of TMCers.

The children’s Christmas party included games, singing, Bible story, and snacks. An impressive moment was when all the children waited to eat their home made cookies until they had said a simple prayer that Ann teaches during her children’s English classes.

Several adults heard the Bible-based Christmas story for the first time. Two moms asked Dale, “May I come to TMC on Sundays?”!

2016_12_11-1

Aligning with TMC’s multicultural focus, 4 of the children have at least one parent who is Chinese. And given the 6 Chinese speakers in our morning worship service, we are hoping to launch our Chinese (Mandarin) Department in some fashion in 2017.

2nd TMC Baby Dedication

2016_12_4-6
What a joy to hold our second baby dedication at TMC!

Baby Ray seemed right at home, falling asleep in Dale’s arms during the pastoral prayer on Sun Dec 4.

Born to loving parents who are TMC members from Japan and Bangladesh, we know that baby Ray will have many opportunities to be nurtured in the love and obedience of Jesus Christ.

American Thanksgiving at TMC

In our TMC multicultural setting, it is possible to have several options for a Thanksgiving date. But US Thanksgiving, which was Nov 24 this year, is closest to the Nov 23 Japanese national holiday.

2016_11_23-1


So on our first Thanksgiving gathering in Japanese at TMC on Wed Nov 23, we had 28 people show up (not all pictured). Most were invited by TMCers. Many of them had never been to TMC before. And a number of them were non-Christians.

We enjoyed eating a turkey meal, singing, interacting about what we are thankful for, and listening to a Bible talk about thanks given in Japanese by Duane Dietze. What joy to point people to Jesus Christ at US Thanksgiving time in Tokyo!

TMC Halloween Alternative

2016_10-02
Halloween is becoming increasingly prominent at retail outlets in Tokyo. It is not exactly the kind of holiday we want to celebrate at church!

But as an alternative to Halloween, on Oct 31 Ann threw a party for TMC’s Moms and Tots outreach English classes that would focus on animals of the Bible’s Noah narrative. The kids and their moms donned monkey masks, had fun playing animal games, learned about Noah and his ark full of animals, played in a model of the ark made from large cardboard boxes, and enjoyed some snacks.

For a first time event at TMC, this was fun! It provided another opportunity to share the Scriptures and develop personal relationships with young moms. Maybe Ann will do it again next year!

TMC Vision Visits

Two churches have visited Tokyo Multicultural Church in the past few months, desiring to deepen their understanding of TMC and possibly partner with TMC in clothing the gospel with community (church planting).

Alicia Lim’s home church, Ottawa Chinese Bible Church, sent a team of young people to teach outreach English classes for one week at Soka EFC in late July and early Aug. We had an opportunity to lead them on a prayer walk in Sumida-ku, the area around TMC. The prayer walk ended with a meal at TMC and a time of sharing TMC’s vision.

2016_11-2 TMC2
Then in late Oct and early Nov, four lay leaders and the pastor from Jon Prins’ home church in Minnesota, Watertown EFC, visited for one week. Their desires are (1) to continue partnering with Jon so that he can serve at TMC and (2) to explore how to develop a mutually beneficial church-to-church partnership with TMC. They stayed in a nearby AirBnB house, prayer walked the streets of Sumida-ku where TMC is located, prayed from the observation deck of SkyTree overlooking Sumida-ku and other parts of Tokyo, observed outreach English classes at TMC and Soka EFC, prayer walked in the area we are thinking of launching TMC#2, and interacted at length with us about TMC’s history, vision, and leadership development. They also joined us for one of our weekly TMC prayer meetings, giving us a record turn out of 11 people.

2016_11-1 TMC2
We are now dreaming and praying about launching TMC#2 in Nakahara-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken at a key train station, Musashikosugi. Kawasaki City (1.5 million) is the fastest growing large city in Japan with the youngest average age. There are many young families in the area around Musashikosugi station, living in high rise condominiums of 35+ floors. The location is 30 minutes by train from our Kinshicho station and on the same train line.

We do not yet know for certain that this will be the location of TMC#2. But we do want to launch TMC#2 by about 2020, continuing to establish TMC#1 until at least then. TMC’s church planting model for the world’s largest (and livable) megacity is both affordable and reproducible. More on our TMC vision here—scroll down to Phases.

1st TMC Baby Dedication

We held our first TMC baby dedication on Sun Sep 25. One year old Baby Kai, born to our initial church planting core group couple, seemed to enjoy his view from the front looking over everyone taking pictures. We were blessed to have his grandma from London UK and grandparents from nearby Saitiama-ken join us for encouragement. God's hand of care and protection has been upon Kai because he was born prematurely and was in neonatal ICU for several months. No wonder we and his parents call him God's miracle baby!

2016_09_25-2
And it was also great to have Mel Sayer, EFCCM Asia Director, share from the Word on this special TMC Sunday!

Bryan Little gets engaged!

2016_07_20-BnJ
On July 20 in the mountains of Niigata-ken with Echigoyuzawa train station in the valley below, Bryan proposed to Jessica Lange. She tells us that indeed it was romantic! And Jessica was surprised because she had not expected Bryan to pop the question until they returned to Saint Louis after visiting us in Tokyo for several weeks.

Jessica has lived in St. Louis, Missouri for her entire life. She works as an occupational therapist in the public school system. Bryan has been working in St. Louis as a design engineer with Boeing since graduating from LeTourneau University in 2012. They met at their local church, First Evangelical Free Church of Saint Louis.

They are making plans for a December 2016 wedding. So it looks like two of our children will be married this year, and one next year! We pray for God's blessing and wisdom for Bryan and Jessica as they seek his will for their future life together.

Matthew Little gets engaged!

MnV2016
We are pleased to announce that our son Matthew Little became engaged to Victoria Azagoh on June 11 in Fullerton, California!

Victoria is from the New England states. In July after completing their studies at Biola University (greater Los Angeles), they moved to Burlington, Vermont where Victoria began a management job with Abercrombie & Fitch. Matthew continues much of his movie production and marketing work online (check out The Unknowns), but is also seeking local employment.

We look forward to Matthew and Victoria's wedding in the summer of 2017! And we are praying that God will meet all their needs as they together seek how to become God's blessing to the nations.

Introducing...MATTHEW & KRISTY FUJIURA!

Wedding 1 (pro) (1)
Our Kristy became Mrs. Matthew Fujiura in Diamond Bar, California, on May 29, 2016. It was a wonderful, friendly, God-centered, and beautiful outdoor wedding—but maybe we are a little biased! The wedding perfectly reflected Kristy and Matthew, with family from both sides affirming that they were made for each other. Kristy and her Matthew are looking into new options for their life and work as together they seek the Lord in becoming a blessing to the nations.

See many more pics here.

So we now have three sons and one daughter. But we might be getting another daughter-to-be soon!

Jon Returns To TMC

2016_04 Jon
Jon Prins has been making plans to return to Japan in order to join our TMC missionary staff for several years. He arrived in God's perfect timing on Apr 16! He and his wife planted several EFC churches in Japan before she passed away due to cancer. He serves with the EFCCM.

It is wonderful to have Jon on our team of TMC church planters, along with Duane Dietze (seconded from ReachGlobal)! In addition to his "normal" church planting responsibilities, Jon will be coordinator of short term teams received by TMC and our intercultural specialist.

The Lord provided Jon with an apartment within a week of his arrival (see pic). His shipment of personal belongings will arrive in late May and he will begin his supplemental Saturday wedding ministry in June.