The Potter Update

Hi everyone from Jan and Barry Potter,
Thanks so much, once again, for your prayers and support for us.
I wanted to start this month with one snapshot of the present condition of the church in Japan.  Take a look at the graphic below, which is cause for concern.

Incredibly, almost half of all church pastors in Japan today are in their 70’s and 80s!  Imagine, in just 5 years’ time, we could lose some 20% of these pastors, and in 10 years, possibly even a third. How are new Christians in Japan going to be discipled? Can existing churches even continue? This makes the life-changing message of the gospel even more urgent.  After almost 30 years of living and ministering in Japan ourselves, and as we continue to travel to the country periodically, we are concerned about the state of the church there.  Fortunately, OMF has a significant team missionaries continuing to work there.

Please continue to pray for this country and for our workers, and for God’s grace to be upon all. 
 
(When this graphic, and the gist of this message, was shared with those outside OMF by our Communications team, it was viewed by 35,000 people on Facebook and shared by nearly 200.  We’re glad that people are concerned and are praying, and thank you for being a part of that!)
 
Our twice-yearly U.S. leadership team retreat was just held last week, and we were able to consider a number of major issues facing us.  The responsibility for leading events like this, as well as the implementation of what we decide, falls on me this year as the Acting President.  (As we met over three days, I had to fight through a bad cold which somehow just got worse once the pressure of the event was over!) I would appreciate prayer for my leadership role, especially during this busy year… and for good health!
 
Our summer Candidate Course is coming up in just a month, and we are excited to have 16 candidates enrolled in the course, as the first step toward their service in Asia.  Just two or three months ago, it looked as if we were going to have to cancel the course for lack of applicants.  So we are excited by these numbers.  And as always, the numbers are less important than the need for the right people to be sent out… those who have the gifts and calling to make an impact for the gospel in those places that are particularly spiritually needy.  Thanks for your prayers.
 
In family news, Doug and Candice have now returned to their home and lives in Tokyo after 1.5 years here in Colorado, where their youngest son Kole (6) received wonderful care and help for his autism.  It is an answer to prayer that the school in Japan is committed to providing ongoing care for him (which enabled them to return to Japan)… but only if a para-educator is available to attend school with  him.  Someone is presently available to serve in this capacity this year… but there is always next year, the year after that, and the many years ahead.  Please pray for the ongoing provision of just the right person for this important role.  And if you know of anyone who might be interested in helping in this way, next school year or beyond, let us know.
 
With thanks,
Barry and Jan
 
 
Barry Potter

Acting President and National Director