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After God blessed His people with the outpouring of His Spirit, the book of Acts records for us how the church grew in numbers and spread beyond the borders of Jerusalem and Samaria to the entire world. In our day, many pastors and congregations see achievement of this growth as the sum total of their ministry. But in reality, this growth is only a means to an end: the growth and maturation of God's Kingdom. A large church is not the goal, and God often chooses not to work in this way. However, when God chooses to bless, we must be ready and equipped to use His gifts wisely and prudently.

This is especially the case with foreign missions. The wonderful blessing of seeing God's Word go out to the corners of the earth carries with it an additional responsibility and cost. Our ministry in Tokyo is no exception. If God wills it, we desire to see our current congregation be able to form other local churches. Japan is a harvest just waiting to be reaped. But in order to do this, we need the workers and financial resources.

We hope by the grace of God to be able to build a multi-purpose facility that we can use for worship, evangelism, Christian training, and Christian education. We now have over 100 people attending church every week, meeting in the home of my wife's mother. We would like to be able to build a facility large enough to be able to seat about 200 people. With this, we would be able to expand our Sunday attendance, hold weddings and funerals, and other church functions in our own building.

When our church was smaller, we held evangelistic meetings in my mother-in-law's home, but now it is not possible. At present, we have to rent facilities for evangelistic meetings, but it is difficult to find affordable places that can seat 200 people. We are also renting a small one-room office so that we can have classes and a place for a church library for congregants to use during the week. It is expensive and could be much more efficient. With our own building, we would be able to expand this part of our ministry and provide a place much more helpful to individual and group study.

Most of the families in our church are home-schoolers. In fact, we were the first church in Japan to have a majority of its families choose to home-school their children. We still belong to a small minority of churches that place a major emphasis on truly Christian education. Since there is virtually no curriculum available in Japanese, it is particularly difficult for Japanese families when their children get older. We hope to be able to provide space where home-school families can help each other with the more advanced subjects. In this cooperative way, our children will be more fully equipped to do intellectual and spiritual battle with the surrounding world. If done well, this combined program of "church-school" and home-school is a very promising system.

* * *

Land prices in Japan are high and our families are young and less than affluent. To buy a piece of land 1/10 or 1/12 of an acre large will cost us about one million US dollars. We are seeking help from American churches and families that are able to contribute to the growth of the Gospel in Asia and to the promotion of Christian education in Japan.

As a service to the broader English-speaking Christian community, we have made available online portions of our curriculum. In particular, we offer lectures and study materials for the plays of Shakespeare and Christian critiques of alternative religions. It is so very important to equip our children for intellectual and spiritual battle with the surrounding world. We will soon be offering a full course on comparative religions, religions which we in Tokyo face every day. It is our desire that you see the fruits of our labors, and if possible, to be able to contribute to the continuance of this work.

Your financial assistance will be humbly and gratefully accepted and will be used to directly further the ministry of the Gospel in Japan. Everything that you give will be used for the ministry here in Tokyo. You will not be donating money for missionary staff or facilities in the United States — your money will be put to work on the field itself.

If you wish to donate specifically to the building program — and I pray that God will give many the heart and desire to do so — please designate your gift as such.

Please send your donations to:

Christ Covenant Church
Langley, B.C.
P.O. Box 64, Milner, BC, Canada VOX IT0

The check should be made out to "Christ Covenant Church" with the designation, "Japan Ministry."

Thank you for your prayers and support.

For His Kingdom,
Ralph Allan Smith



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