Monday, January 25, 2010

January 2010 in Nagano

Blessings Dear Loved Ones & Prayer Partners!
Happy New Year! We are so thankful that through your prayers and support we are able to begin a New Year serving Our Lord and Savior! Thanks so much for all that you do to help us in all God lays out for us each day. To show our thanks we want to share our annual report to our local church here in Nagano of our past years’ activities. Remember that NONE of these things could have been done without YOUR help! We are so grateful and filled with so much love for each and every one of you. Changing the hearts of the people here is such a slow and difficult process, we are so thankful that with your help, we are constantly filled with His love to continue to carry out the work He has for us.
Our Daily Routine: At the beginning of 2009 I had 8 classes Mondays at the church, I have three morning classes with usually all of the 11 o’clock class staying for lunch. Which gives me a chance to reach out more to the ladies. I have two children’s classes in the afternoon then 3 evening adult classes. The Monday morning classes continues to be our best classes for getting members to participate in church activities. Many of the ladies meet three times a week with us, joining the Tuesday Bible Study and our Friday Friendship group. Many also attended the summer sausage cookout where they heard the story this year about the 10 Commandments, the fall overnight camp trip, the Halloween party, our Easter party and the Christmas Party where they and their children were able to hear and watch the Christmas story. 2009 allowed us to add more names to our email list for the Tuesday morning Bible Study. We now have THIRTY SIX people that we send the study too! Our weekly attendance is in the mid teens, but we have several people now that have been coming for a LONG time and you can see His Spirit working in their hearts! We pray that soon their hearts will be totally opened to His love! We again did an outdoor Bible Study in August, Mrs. Sato led the children with the story of the 10 Commandments. We had nearly 40 people attend this year! My Tuesday lineup increased as I was able to add a young lady to a private Bible Study in the afternoon and also added a second class in Shinshushinmachi along with keeping the two evening classes. The Shinshushinmachi class is about a 30 minute drive, but the families are really open to me, and last summer we were able to have a summer cook-out, an overnight camping trip and a Christmas party together. I am really building wonderful relationships there and several of the families came to Nagano for our Easter program as well as our Christmas program. Wednesday’s start now with a private Bible Study with one of our neighbors. She is a wonderful young lady and is attending all of our functions with her children and her family has come the last two winters to our Christmas Caroling and this year attended the community Christmas program. In the afternoon I travel downtown for a private class then back to the house for 3 children’s classes, two made up of neighbors kids and the other from outside. After the 3 kids class I have an adult class. When that class is finished I head out (about 9 o’clock) to the local driving range and give free golf lessons. I presently have 3 people that come each Wednesday. 2 ladies and 1 man, the ladies both attend Tuesday Bible Study, so it is working into a great outreach. Thursday’s continue with the two classes at the Asahi Community Center in the afternoon and an evening class at the Red Cross Hospital. An important part of the Community Center classes taught by Pastor Kitamura and me is the use of songs between the 2 classes. God’s word is introduced often through songs and at this years Christmas party the members participated in reading the Christmas story and sang 9 carols that went along with the story. Presently two members have been coming all year to the Tuesday morning Bible Study. Last March as a group we also sang at the Asahi Community Center in front of about 200 people, the 12 Days of Christmas and Amazing Grace! Praise God! We have added one additional class on Thursday afternoons as our neighborhood children want more. So 6 children come to our house in between the community center and hospital class. To help fill out my Thursday’s I changed the elementary school classes from Friday’s to Thursdays. Unfortunately in October my schedule and the schools conflicted, so I no longer volunteer at the school. Friday’s are kind of relaxing. I started the year with a morning class but two of the mom’s are having babies, so we are now on hold. In the afternoon Kim and I both have open fellowship at the church with any of John’s students that want to come. The group is still growing and we have moved the meeting place to our house. On Sunday I lead the English Worship service with an attendance now that regularly averages 12-15. In the morning I go to the church and cook breakfast at 7 am for 3 other men that make up our music group. We eat then practice for the morning praise songs. I am still continuing also providing the piano music during the Japanese service.
Kim has gotten real busy. She started the year teaching at two locations, a company class and at a local High School. Both classes have finished and now she is teaching at a local elementary school and has started a new class with a local English company. That is basically our daily routine for 2008 and the beginning of 2009.
The family contributed many times throughout the year shining His light in Nagano. Some of the things they did were; Kim taught several cooking classes; marched in Nagano’s “March for Jesus”; helps with the English Bible Study; prepares lunch at least once a month following Sunday church service; prepares the evening meal for the Sunday English Service twice a month, fixes a dessert several times a month for the English Service; meets individually with many different people; always has her heart open to help and comfort those around us and shines His light wherever she goes. John participated in a Halloween program and Christmas program for over 100 children and their parents at a local community center; this year we performed the Christmas Story during the party; sang and performed as Santa at the train station; helps with the fifth Sunday sings; leads the Sunday afternoon Worship service in English; plays the piano for the morning service and always makes time to email words of encouragement to many people. Biggest new activity this year was the Easter egg hunt where over 100 people came and hunted eggs including the 12 ‘Resurrection’ eggs to allow us to tell them the wonderful story of our Lord and Saviors’ resurrection. Ian is busy working in Hakuba where he is able to shine God’s light to so many people each day. Zack is very busy with school and basketball, but shines His light everywhere he goes. During this years Winter Cup, during the National TV broadcast it was mentioned about Zack and his family coming to Japan as Missionaries! Both have brought friends to church activities.

*Heather’s father-in-love is still undergoing treatment for stage 4 lymphoma so we ask for prayers for him and the family.
We trust God to equip us for each individual challenge and opportunity that He presents. Your prayers and support are vital to our being here. Please pray with and for us that we always strive to walk before God, wherever that may be, and be used as instruments of His love in all we do. Should God ask any of you to partner with us in our outreach for Him, please send any love offerings to: Bethlehem United Methodist Church, for Baranski John Alan Mission Fund, c/o Becky Wack, 1003 Rowan Cove, New Albany, Ms. 38652.
We hold you each in our hearts and prayers with thanksgiving.

In His love & walking before Him, the Baranski Bunch

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