From Homestay Visitors to Christ Followers

By Michael Carter, Apr 11, 2017

When we were back in the United States for our home ministry assignment we had seven different Japanese people come to America for either visits or homestays. A homestay is where someone comes, usually with a specific goal of bettering their English, and stays with a family, lives life, and tours a bit. We’d like to share with you how God has used the homestays from last year in the lives of those who came.

Christian women find encouragement
Mrs. K and Mrs. N came to visit us for a week in Florida. Both are Christians and were encouraged at the fellowship and community they saw in the American church. Mrs. N is now a member of my wife Cathalain’s Bible study and has been instrumental in inviting others to join in. Mrs. K has continued to help with my sermon translation. We are now to the point where I translate the whole sermon and she edits my Japanese and helps me learn where my mistakes are so I will eventually need less and less editing. I have been so encouraged by her growth in grace and recent conversations where she is personally applying the gospel in her life. Her daughter, who has a mental illness, has also been going to church this past year and is expressing more and more interest in Christianity. We pray for Mrs. K’s daughter to come to faith in Christ.

An atheist starts attending church
Mr. I stayed with us in Florida for 10 days. Mr. I has been very open about how there is no religion in Japan and he doesn’t believe anything. While in America Mr. I was quite moved by his time in worship and fellowship after church. After returning to Japan he has come to our church three or four times and recently brought his younger sister to dinner at our house a few weeks ago. We continue to pray for this relationship and the spirit to work in his heart. He is active in the art scene in Nagoya and we pray for inroads as one of our teammates begins an arts program in conjunction with our church plant.

A music teacher becomes an influential friend
Mrs. Y was invited to come to America by Mrs. E. Mrs. Y had never read the Bible and had never been to a church before. Having been a retired, award-winning elementary choral director she was moved by the worship when she attended church and the organ concert held by the church. Upon returning to Japan we haven’t seen much movement in her heart spiritually, but she has been influential in helping two missionary families in Okazaki, where we lived during language school. One of the missionary kids attends the pre-school where Mrs. Y’s husband is the principal and another missionary kid will be going to school where she taught most of her career. We are thankful for her service to these two families in translating, hand-sewing bags needed for school, and attending countless meetings with them. We pray that as she engages with these families she will continue to learn about Christianity and join a Bible Study.

A Christian woman grasps the necessity of church
Mrs. E, although a Christian, had been estranged from the church for many years. Cathalain had met to study the Bible with Mrs. E for a year and often discussed the necessity of being part of a church, but Mrs. E always found a justification not to go. Mrs. E spent a month in America and attended church in Florida and Virginia. During this time she was convicted by the Holy Spirit to return to church and God revealed the importance/necessity of the church. She has been faithfully attending a church for almost a year now and will be pursuing membership sometime this year! She also hosts Cathalain’s Bible Study in Okazaki. This is an answer to over three years of prayer!

A college student is drawn into her mother’s faith
Ms. K was a college student when she came to America. She was quite open that she was not a Christian and her mother was the only Christian in her entire extended family. During her time in her homestay home, going to church for two Sundays, and gatherings with church women, God moved in her heart to study the Bible again. She will be baptized next week and has encouraged her older sister to study the Bible. Now the older sister is taking a baptism class and hoping to be baptized this summer in Okazaki Church. The mother is overjoyed and thankful for the way God used the American Church to provide a spark for her daughter(s)!

A high school girl connects with Christians her age
Ms. A is a high schooler and loved her time in America. Her favorite experience was going to Young Life club and hanging out with other high schoolers. She recently passed a very high level English exam. Although she has yet to show much interest in the Bible she has continued to have a relationship with us and is hosting a high schooler for a home stay from America for us this summer. We are praying for the Holy Spirit to work in her heart.

Homestays are quite time consuming and are easy to think of as a bother. When I had to go back to Japan early we almost canceled four of these women’s trips so we could go back as a family. We are so glad the Lord moved in our heart to continue with the homestays and very encouraged by the way God has worked in all of these individual’s hearts. We are also so grateful to the many of you who loved on these Japanese during their time in America. The time was a blessing to them and you were a blessing to them. So are homestays a blessing or a bother? Well, maybe a little bother with a whole lot of blessing!

Michael and Cathalain Carter serve with MTW in Nagoya, Japan

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