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Strength in Weakness

...that I am a parent myself, and a 41 year old missionary (the same age when my parents started their ministry in Atlanta!)...I can no longer stay judgemental for long. I make so many mistakes as a mom, and sin against my children daily. There are days when I am so ugly to my husband that I've been disgusted with myself. In ministry, I'm sure I've offended, blundered my way through, and have had days that I wanted to do over.

But what has been confirmed in my heart once again is that God's strength is truly perfected in our weakness. Seeing how my parents are--totally normal human beings with tons of faults, just like me--and yet seeing God working through them, with SUCH FRUIT!  So what's up with that?! What's the secret?

Nothing profound. I think it's just obedience even when you don't feel like it sometimes, battling against pride daily and learning to be humble, and having an undeniable passion, a true purpose in life. To tell as many people as possible about Jesus, THE ONLY WAY, THE ONLY TRUTH, AND THE ONLY LIFE. And having fun doing it:)

Below is what I sent in for the 30th Anniversary book:

It is hard to believe that 30 years have passed since that day we stepped off the plane at the Atlanta airport. As an 8-year-old, I was not quite aware of God’s loving Hand surrounding us, but it is very clear to me now that He was providing us with every single thing we needed right from the start…our first little American house, our green boat of a Chevrolet, our dog Joshua to cheer us up, understanding teachers at school (Mrs. Copeland even drove me home after missing my bus), neighborhood friends from whom we learned the phrase, “Can you plaaaaay?”, and even my first Halloween costume (which was a boy’s Batman outfit, but I didn’t know any better!).

Most importantly, of course, the Lord provided my parents with a job as custodians of Westminster Presbyterian Church, as well as the use of the building for our church in the afternoons. I can still remember one of the ladies complimenting my mother one day on what a great job they were doing, and how the church had never looked so clean, even all the toilets! My mother’s response was, “It is an honor to clean the house of the Lord.”

I truly believe that God looks with favor upon humble servants. And I truly believe that because my parents have maintained that same humble servants’ attitude, that God has chosen to bless their ministry. I can honestly say that I have never heard them complain about having to drive a zillion times to the airport to pick someone up, or to take care of a troubled Japanese student, or to give up their bedroom as a Sunday school class every week, or to be the church secretary, cook, and hotel maid most days of the year. They do it so that one more Japanese soul might enter into the Kingdom via Atlanta!

This is why I can say that I was tremendously thankful, but NOT surprised, when I heard about the miraculous provision for the purchase of the Roswell house years ago. And today, I am thrilled but NOT surprised that God has once again provided
everything that was needed to complete the new addition of the sanctuary and the new living quarters for my parents. And I know for a fact that our gracious Lord will continue to bless and provide for whatever this church will face in the future.

As a member of the Takeda family, I would like to thank all of you who have prayed for Westminster Japanese Church, and for my parents. I would also like to thank those of you who have given financially. May Jesus Christ receive ALL the glory, and may this church be used to give hope to the Japanese who enter this special place.

Nozomi Johnston

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Jeff's column offers a mix of reflections on leadership and fatherhood, as well as news from Asian Access.


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Nozomi's column contains reflections on motherhood, Japanese culture, and ministry.


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