Recent Updates from Matthew and Carly Chase in Japan

March 2020

Mission To The World

Update from the Chase Family
Church Planting/ University Ministry in Chiba, Japan

“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Ephesians 3:20-21

Prayer Partners, 

We are always thankful for all of you who pray and give towards our ministry in Japan. We have been especially needy for your prayers these past few months. The Coronavirus scare in Japan, as well as team conflict, has left us feeling exhausted, and longing in many ways for Jesus to return, but through your prayers and the Lord’s mercy, He has sustained and encouraged us. We are especially grateful for those of you who have reached out and sent us personal notes and letters of encouragement!

The Early Church ministering during epidemics
 

On February 27th, Shinzo Abe, Prime minister of Japan took drastic measures to curb the rise of the Coronavirus and announced the closing of all public schools until the beginning of April. Since then all major events and gatherings have been canceled or postponed. We have been limiting our time out in public places and have tried to stay inside most of the time. While the virus hasn’t missed Japan, it also hasn’t taken off like many thought it would. We are always amazed at how the Japanese people are so willing to take quick action and fall in line with how the government directs. Some businesses have shortened workdays to help with the commute congestion, and others have allowed employees to work from home. Many churches have moved to online worship services for Sundays and canceled most gatherings during the week. Many of our youth camps and events during Japanese spring break have also been canceled completely. Now COVID-19 is hitting the U.S. and our hearts ache with many of you who are experiencing similar scenarios. In all of this, we are asking, “Why is God allowing this to happen? How can this be helpful for His kingdom advancement?”. We have already seen and heard how this unusual set up for church has reached people who previously have never stepped foot in a church building.

Recently, I have been immersed in my study of the early church for seminary. Epidemics are nothing new for the body of Christ. Dionysius, the Bishop of Alexandria wrote about how the early church loved their communities in the face of the Cyprian plague from AD 249 to 262: 

“Heedless of danger, they (Christians) took charge of the sick-ministering to them in Christ- and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains.”

This was in stark contrast to the pagan community that in general fled, abandoning their sick in a fight for self-preservation. We are reminded that God uses even epidemics like COVID-19, to call us to love each other and our neighbors. We are reminded that we can love and give sacrificially without fear because Jesus gave all of that and more for us. In these times, Carly and I have felt God’s deep sense of calling that we remain in Japan to love our community and bear with them through these trials.

Please pray for our family and team during this time. Pray God would grant us much grace as we spend a long time inside our homes together. Pray that God would use His church in ways that continue to minister to those in need who are isolated, scared, and needy. 

Wearing our masks during Sunday Worship

In our previous ministry update, I had shared about my Sunday English Bible class and one of my young dad friends who started attending. I have been so encouraged that he continues to come and has taken a Jesus storybook Bible home with him. He is reading the chapter in Japanese to understand it before coming to class and reading it in English. Please continue to pray for His salvation! 

One of the other regular attenders is a young mom who has recently professed faith in Christ and is going through Baptism class! Last week we studied the story of Abraham and Isaac going up to the mountain, where Abraham’s faith was tested. I shared about how it’s difficult to trust God when we don’t see the result we wanted. She shared openly about how she still struggles to live a life of faith. “I say I’m a Christian but honestly I don’t see a big difference in how I live my life. I want Jesus to change the way I live every day”. I encouraged her by reminding her that God does change us by His grace and that we don’t always see that change as quickly as we want to. Timothy Keller writes “God loves us as we are, and accepts us as we are. But by His grace, He does not leave us as we are.”

Will you pray for this dear young sister in the faith? Will you pray God continues to work in and through her, graciously changing her to reflect Him more and more? 

Our team has recently talked more about our need to find a Japanese pastor to plant the church with. While there are not many Japanese men who are trained and equipped to plant a church, we do believe that God in His provision can provide the man we are looking for. 

Will you join us in praying as we make a great effort and begin talking with a few potential Japanese partners? Pray that God would lead and guide our team in the meantime as we continue to sow gospel seeds in Chiba City. Pray for our college ministry preparation as we engage freshman students this April. Please also pray for wisdom and encouragement in the spirit as we prepare to host our bi-lingual college Bible study at the start of the school year. 

We are truly humbled and encouraged by each of you, and your partnership in the gospel. We love living in Japan and being a part of His Kingdom's work. We are praying Ephesians 3:20-21 for you too, as the COVID-19 virus works its way around the globe:

“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen."

Celebrating 15 Years Together!
"Quarantine" game time!
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Copyright © 2020 Matt and Carly Chase, All rights reserved.

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Email: chasesjapan@gmail.com
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Financial Update:
100% of One Time Expenses Met
96% of Monthly Expenses Met ($400/month needed)

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Mission to the World
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Suwanee, GA 30024
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"From the rising of the sun to its setting, MY NAME WILL BE GREAT AMONG THE NATIONS"    -Malachi 1:11

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