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Dale and Ann Little
Evangelical Free Church of Canada Mission

Introducing...BRYAN & JESSICA LITTLE!

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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

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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.

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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?”!

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

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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.

Alicia Joins Our TMC Team

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Alicia, an EFCCM one year intern from Ottawa Chinese Bible Church, arrived in Tokyo on Mar 11. She will be teaching evangelistic English classes five days a week at TMC and two other EFC churches in greater Tokyo.

The Lord has been making her path smooth, including helping us procure her religious activities visa, providing financial support through her home church, giving her the opportunity to visit the classes she will be teaching before she becomes the teacher of record, and opening a furnished apartment for her to rent nearby TMC beginning Apr 1.

It’s great to have Alicia with us, happily learning how to live and serve alongside us and other churches here in Tokyo!

Tsunami Recovery Ministry

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In January we applied the remaining approximately CAN$14,500 from the EFCCM Japan Disaster Fund to Onagawa Megumi Project for their moving and set up expenses of their new shop on the new promenade in Onagawa, as well as for the relocation of their trailer. We are grateful that the Lord continues to use the Megumi Project to bring his grace (= “megumi”) and love to a town hit by one of the highest tsunamis (30 meters) on March 11, 2011.

We are thankful for Megumi Project’s ongoing testimony of God’s love in Onagawa. The half dozen Japanese ladies who design and sell the crafts made from donated kimono have plenty of opportunity to see and accept God’s love for them in Jesus Christ. The five missionaries leading the Onagawa Megumi Project are faithfully serving with joy.

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Every one or two months we travel to northeastern Japan to touch base with Onagawa Megumi Project. In February we volunteered there for a few days in order to fill in for Megumi Project leaders Andy and Lorna Gilbert (ReachGlobal) who had to return suddenly to the US for one month to care for an aging parent. One day we were at the trailer where their products are made, another day we helped sell their crafts at their new store, and the final day we hosted the missionary staff at our vacation house for a mini retreat.