Jastram_Japan_May2020

 

 

EYES FIXED ON JESUS

Dear Fellow Sojourners,

I was sorting through Japanese Christian postcards today and ran into this verse:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16 ~18.

That seems like a tall order these days; and yet, as Dan explained to me in our devotions today in line with our teaching of the theology of the cross, “When trials come . . . entrust your body and life to the One who accomplishes His purposes in the midst of suffering. See the world through Job’s eyes, and behold the countenance of Jesus, your Redeemer, who bore the price of your salvation” (in “The Countenance of Job”, The Lutheran Study Bible, CPH 2009, 837). 

 

May we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, now and always! We rejoice that we can live and work on your behalf to share the Gospel here in Asia….

 

Compliant Carp on Children’s Day holiday

 

SUTEI-HOMU SHIKAN


Bustling train stations, packed bullet trains and planes, large gatherings in the park, –– none of that was part of this year’s “Golden Week,” which was from April 29th to May 6th. A time normally set aside for vacations and visits to family and friends was instead dubbed “Sutei-Homu Shikan” – “STAY HOME WEEK” here in Tokyo.  And, by and large, that is what we have been doing (actually, since the end of March). Several days ago the state of emergency was extended to the end of May including additional requests  (since measures cannot be legally enforced) that people grocery shop no more than once every three days, practice social distancing, and use face masks. Although infection rates are low relative to the United States, Japan’s hospitals have been stretched thin and were seen to be on the brink of collapse until just recently. Now with numbers decreasing a bit, the hospitals are getting “a breather.” 

 

GOOD & EVIL ANGELS, WINE OR GRAPES, AND H-CM

Our fellow Asian Lutherans often tap into the wealth of solid, strong Lutheran resources we have –– which includes our most recent revision of Luther’s Catechism updated to address timely issues of our day. And here in Japan, one Lutheran pastor is patiently translating it section by section as he teaches it to his confirmands and new members. Dan is happy to act as a consultant with this pastor and has done so on several sections now, including some not-so-basic questions like: when the Bible says “the devil has been sinning from the beginning”, does it mean God created the devil as a sinner, at the same time that he created the good angels?” –– not always easy to understand fully.

 

 At the same time, Dan has been exercising his theological and basic Japanese as he proof-reads a sample translation work he requested from another Lutheran pastor (and pondered over the equivalence of wine and “grape” in the Lord’s Supper).

 

In Dan’s administrative role, the pandemic has meant reworking of next year’s budget (starting July 1st). Towards that end, Dan has been collating some of the anticipated budget needs for our Regional Director with regard to theological education in the Asia region so that the Word of God continues to be proclaimed! In addition, because R.D. Ferry finds himself under travel restrictions these days, (his position used to find him more often than not away from his home base in Taiwan) he has had more time to attend to…email! He knows Dan well enough to pass along a theological issue from a Lutheran pastor in Malaysia impressed with a book on the documentary hypothesis and the issue of the Historical-Critical Method. Dan was happy to provide a response. 

 

So that’s a little taste of life and work for Dan these days. We are thankful that God has continued to grant us good health to stay the course. And thank you for your wonderful, ongoing support that allows it to happen!

 

 

 

Thank you for your prayers and support!  ~Joan and Dan Jastram

 

More than ever, the world needs the saving Word of Jesus Christ.  With your partnership we can continue this work. We encourage you to support, continue, or increase your financial support  online through our secure LCMS website, lcms.org/givenow/jastram.

As a congregation, you can support us by adding us to your congregation’s mission budget as a Together in Mission partner. (Call 888-930-4438 for details.) 

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Rev. Dr. Daniel Jastram

 

 

 

 

 

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