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Paul and Rie Mizuki

Kansai, Japan

Paul and Rie Mizuki
God's Mission in God's Time

We are so excited that God opened the door for us to finally come to Japan as full-time missionaries. As some of you may recall, Paul had the desire to share the gospel with Japanese people since his first trip to Japan in 1975. Rie was born in Tokyo and moved to the U.S. with her family when she was five years old. Because of this move, her whole family was introduced to Jesus, and her brother even became a pastor! Now she wants to give the estimated 95% of Japanese who have never heard about Jesus the opportunity to meet Him and learn about His love and plan for their lives.


We arrived in Kansai (Western Japan, including Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, and Nara) on March 24, 2020, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. In some ways, this made ministry difficult, as we were required to quarantine and avoid meeting with people as much as possible. But in other ways, we saw the Lord working in ways that would not have been possible without these circumstances. We were able to build closer relationships with our neighbors because everyone, us included, were at home much more. At the same time, we were able to communicate with people farther away due to the increased use of online platforms such as Zoom. And the uncertainty and isolation created by the pandemic has resulted in a greater felt need for the good news of an all-powerful, loving God, who is inviting all to become His children through His resurrected Son, Jesus. Indeed, God works ALL things together for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.


The Lord has showered us with His favor, allowing us to live in an amazing location close to both nature and the big city. Because we are just a 2-minute walk to the train station, we can be standing in Osaka (Umeda) Station (the busiest station in Kansai) in 6-10 minutes from when we leave our front door. Similarly, we can be in Kobe as well as Kyoto in about half an hour. From our small station, we can catch trains that will take us directly to Nara, Wakayama, Kansai International Airport (KIX) and even Universal Studios Japan! At the same time, we live just a few minutes from Okawa (Big River), which is lined with Sakura trees which bring different shades of beauty with each season (pink/white, green, red/orange/bronze, brown). A leisurely 40-minute nature walk along the Okawa leads to Osaka Castle. We are waiting for family, friends, and short-term mission teams to come visit us!


Living in such a strategic location has allowed us to help with church ministry in Nishinomiya, lead an English Bible class for elementary school children in Ashiya, build relationships with non-Christian friends in Takarazuka, and fellowship with other ministry couples in Kobe and Osaka. Nishinomiya, Ashiya, Takarazuka, and Kobe are all in the next prefecture to the west, Hyogo. In addition, we can catch the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka station in 15 minutes. This opens up a myriad of possibilities, as Paul leads a committee to establish a JEMS branch office in Japan.


God led us to the Kansai area to help plant a church in Nishinomiya, but we later found that he had actually led us here to help close that church and make sure that all of the members were established in other churches. He later led us to the church where we now serve in Suita City in Osaka Prefecture, The Gospel Center (GC), which started on November 11, 2018. https://www.thegospelcenter.net/ We love being a part of this bilingual church, which has a heart for making disciples and planting more churches. As the oldest members of the church, we get to love and nurture the younger members as surrogate parents and grandparents. We host the Osaka City community group, and we help with translation and other aspects of the worship service. Paul also serves on the core team, which seeks God for direction for GC's future.


We continue to lead the Kids Church which meets on Zoom on Sunday mornings, providing Biblical instruction and community for unchurched children who are graduates of the Ashiyahama Family Preschool, where we used to teach Friday Class (after school English Bible class which ended when the preschool closed in April, 2023). Our desire is to connect these children to a physical church, but this is difficult, as some of them come from non-Christian families. We are praying regarding the future of Kids Church, as we are no longer church planting in the area where these children live.


We are thankful that as one ministry comes to an end, the Lord provides something new for us. As our ministry at Ashiyahama Family Preschool came to an end, God opened the door for us to minister at the Asian Rural Institute in Tochigi two times a year for a couple of weeks at a time https://ari.ac.jp/en/home/. Rie counsels the participants, staff, and volunteers, while Paul works alongside of them doing farm work. It is a wonderful opportunity to sow into the lives of people from Japan, developing countries (in Southeast Asia and Africa, etc.), and "developed countries (U.S., Germany, etc.)." Many are Christians, but some meet Jesus while they are there. In addition, whereas Paul was having an English conversation lunch once a week with two co-workers at the cafeteria of his workplace, after retirement in March 2023, both of us are continuing this time of building relationships in the same place, same time, but with up to six of Paul's former co-workers. Some have no interest in English, but just want to spend time with us. As members of the JEMS Member Care committee, we also hope to become more active in helping to care for the emotional and spiritual needs of the JEMS Japan missionary community.


As missionaries, we see ourselves as God's ambassadors to Japan. We want to represent Jesus in every aspect of our lives. As such, we believe in missional living. Our missions work is not just when we are teaching Kids Church or leading a Bible Study or prayer meeting. It is in our interaction with neighbors sharing the love of Christ through kindness and hospitality. It is in showing appreciation to servers and workers in restaurants and stores. And it is in daily allowing the light of Jesus to shine through us into the darkness of Japan.


Partner with Us in Sharing God's Love in Japan

As you can see, the ministry opportunities are endless. "Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'" (Matthew 9:37-38 NIV). The Lord is answering this prayer by sending us out, but we also need your support. Please consider supporting us in these ways:


Prayer - Japan is a spiritual battlefield, and although we know that Christ has already won the victory, the casualties are many. Prayer is vital in giving us strength to fight the good fight and win the daily battles. Please pray for us that we can keep our eyes focused on Jesus and stay connected with Him, so that our actions and words would give testimony to the love and power of God in our lives. Please email us if you are interested in receiving our prayer letters and requests (prmizuki@gmail.com).


Financial - Living and ministering in Japan costs more than in most un-reached countries. Through the generous support of our ministry partners and drawing from our retirement funds, we are currently able to live comfortably and fund all of our ministry work. The strong dollar has been a blessing, but the economy can change at any time. We'd love to set up an appointment on Zoom to share with you more about our ministry and our needs.


Encouragement - An email, a card, a phone call, a Zoom/LINE session, a package, and especially a visit will make a big difference in lifting our spirits and giving us encouragement to continue God's work in Japan. Please be praying about how you can provide such soul care for us, and also please do the same for other Christian workers you know, including your pastor!


Come Join Us - The Harvest is plentiful. The workers are few. Short-term or as a vocation, Japan needs you!

Paul & Rie Mizuki – prmizuki@gmail.com

Mailing Address:

5-6-2 Nakano-cho, Miyakojima-kuOsaka 534-0027

Japan


Give online here or if you prefer to give by check, make the check out to “JEMS” and write our name on the memo line. Mail the check to P.O. Box 86047, Los Angeles, CA 90086-0047.

If you have any questions please call the JEMS office at 213-613-0022 or email Paul and Rie.

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