The Epistle - December 2017 - Vol. 22, No. 10

December 2017  Vol. 22, No. 10  Newsletter of Wintersburg Presbyterian Church Sunday Worship Services  8 ‐ 9 a.m. and 10:20 ‐ 11:40 a.m.  Nichigo Service (Japanese Speaking):  9 ‐ 10 a.m.  Sunday School and Bible Studies  All Ages: 9:10 a.m.  Nichigo (Japanese): 10:20 a.m.  Vineyard College Group: 2:30 p.m.  Wednesday Bible Studies  Mens and Womens Studies: 7:15 p.m.  Young Adult Bible Studies: 7:30 p.m.  Thursday Bible Studies  Young Adults: 7:30 p.m.  Friday Bible Studies  Jr. High Special K; High School Ike Pono  Fellowship: 7:30 p.m.; Mens and Womens  Study: 7:30 p.m., 2nd & 4th Fridays; MnM  (Mothers in Ministry): 9:30 a.m., 1st & 3rd  Fridays.  Senior Fellowship Ministry  Meets Wednesdays, 10 a.m. ‐ 1 p.m.,  except during field trips.  Worship Hula Ministry  Meets up to twice a week (1‐hour each  session): Fridays and Sundays (keikis,  teens, and adults). Call church for latest  schedule.  For more informaƟon, please call the  church office at (714) 740‐9400.  Our Statement of Belief  We believe in one Holy and Triune  God and that the Bible is His  inerrant and inspired Word. We  believe that salvaƟon is by grace  alone through faith in Jesus Christ,  our Lord and Savior.  We affirm  Jesus’ commands to love God and  one another, and to share the gospel  with all unbelievers.  over 115 years  The airplane ride was crazy. Yes, I meant to write airplane, not jet. Back in those days, flying from Japan to the United States meant sitting in a plane with propellers. I didn’t want to be on that plane, I wanted to stay home in Japan. I didn’t know English; all my friends would be thousands of miles away. My grandparents, aunts, and uncles would no longer be by my side. But, my parents awaited me in Los Angeles. My brother was with me on the plane, and so I came to accept my destiny. Lit- tle did I know that this bumpy ride on a propel- ler-driven plane would lead to a new life, and not just in a cultural sense. Eventually, I adjusted to living in the United States. I fiercely protected my Japanese identi- ty, and refused to allow my Japanese language skills to wane. Yet, I adapted to the American way of life. I discovered that the English lan- guage is less complicated than Japanese. So, I became fluent in my new lan- guage, relatively quickly. I even copied American actors on TV, to speak English without a Japanese accent. As I grew up, I often wondered how my life would have played out, had I re- mained in Japan. I envisioned myself married with kids, working for a com- pany, and thoroughly enjoying the cultural nuances of Japan. Often, these ventures into my imagination looked very enticing and attractive, especially during my difficult years in high school and college. Why did I have to come to the United States? When I was 20 years old I met someone, who changed everything. Jesus Christ. He saved me. He gave me new life. He gave me a new family. He gave me a new purpose for living. While life in this world as a Christian has not been easy, being in relationship with Christ, has made all the pain and suffering seem absolutely inconsequential. One day, a sobering thought hit me like a ton of bricks. If I had not taken that bumpy airplane ride a long time ago, I probably would not have heard the Gospel. This was a very rea- sonable and rational conclusion, given that only .3% (less than 1%) of the Japanese population are evangelical Christians. Without hearing the Gospel, Christ would not be in me. Having lived in the light with Christ for so long, I could not imagine living in darkness, without Christ. As I began to thank the Lord for bringing me to the United States to hear the Gospel, it dawned on me that it wasn’t coming to the United States that saved me. It wasn’t the faithful believers in this country who prayed for me, and shared the Gospel. Becoming what the Bible describes as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), was made possible because Christ came over two thousand years ago to a place far, far away from Los Angeles, a place called Bethle- hem. Continued on page 2 From Bethlehem to New Life BY PASTOR FRED TANIZAKI