Blessings Dear Loved Ones & Prayer Partners!
Isaiah 40:1-5 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been complete that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
1085, that’s the number of over magnitude 4 quakes that continue to rock our country. Today so far we have had only 3, and it seems the number is gradually decreasing. The scientists talk that the quakes should continue for the next 6 months or more!!!! We are lucky that we are far enough from the major area that we don’t often even feel the tremors! Often the only way we know is when the lights are moving! I can’t begin to imagine the terror that grips those in the areas so severely damaged by the March 11th disaster. In the Suzuki families’ neighborhood, 2 more large buildings have been determined to be unsafe and they are all wondering when their buildings will get the shake that finally breaks their camel’s back. They were hoping to come visit here this coming weekend, but Mr. Suzuki has been asked to work EVERY DAY helping to clean-up. Of course, he is happy to be able to help. People from all over the country are joining in with the clean-up. Miho, the oldest daughter, is still in the hospital and they’re not sure when the infection will be gone and allow her to go back home. Her oldest daughter will be starting high school soon. Because of the earthquake and resulting damage, her school will open almost 1 month later than normal. It will be so sad in all those areas as the schools will reopen but many of the students will never return. For each school it is different, as children go to high school here not by the area you live in but by the school you qualify for. Each school has a different entrance test and requirement, so children from all different parts of a city attend each high school. So each school will be different depending on the number of students that were lost in the disasters or have been relocated to a shelter in another area. I can’t imagine going back to school and 10-50% of my fellow students will be GONE!! There are still about 150,000 people living in shelters and the government is hoping to build about 100,000 temporary homes within the next couple of months….but the location, the infrastructure and many other things are still undetermined. Hundreds of thousands more are taking up temporary residency at friends or family homes throughout the country.
Radiation is still the #1 fear and now the people that lived close to the nuclear reactor plant are being told they may never be allowed to return to their homes, while people that live about 20 miles away are being told they may be able to return within 6 to 9 months. Of course, what to do until then????? Please pray that these people truly can feel God’s comfort, His peace, His love and that God will direct the right people, the right message, the right action to truly open up their eyes to His wonderful love.
We want to thank all of you for the many wonderful prayers being lifted up daily. PLEASE DON’T STOP!!!! The need will continue here for years to come! Also thanks for those of you who sent posters from your Sunday School classes….they are all so special and have already touched the hearts of so many here! THANKS! And for those of you that have helped with financial aid directly to us, on behalf of the Suzuki family we say THANK-YOU from the bottom of our hearts! They have a difficult time understanding how people that don’t know them can care so much. They hear from their daughter (our neighbor) about God, but they have never experienced Him in their own lives! Pray that they will truly know Him on a personal level.
We had scheduled our annual Easter Egg Hunt and Party for Saturday April 23rd, but woke to cloudy skies with the forecast calling for 100% chance of rain. We had 145 people scheduled to participate, but at 7:30 the rain started so we contacted all of the people and rescheduled for the next day! We woke Easter morning to a beautiful sun filled sky. We went early and hid over 700 eggs! At 10 o’clock people started arriving, and by 10:30 we had 122 people!!!! It was our largest gathering EVER! PRAISE GOD! Also next to our area, was a large area with many blooming cherry trees and there were an additional 75 or so people that were watching and listening to our event! It was a GREAT DAY! I cooked 165 hot dogs, and made 8 pounds of pasta salad! After hunting the eggs, the children and parents listened to the Resurrection Story and then heard Tomo’s testimony. Tomo is a young (31 years old) member of our church who first came to know about Jesus when he was a high school student and came to the church for English classes! He has lived the last 10 years in Germany and will be going back this fall to go to a Bible College there. He has hopes to return as a pastor one day. He gave a wonderful talk about what Jesus has meant in his life!
Ian is busier than ever, and has now participated in 2 different benefit concerts. On April 2nd his hip-hop group was the main group for a benefit concert and last Tuesday night Ian was the guest DJ for another benefit. We are so proud of the way that he is giving up his time to help those stricken. Zack’s university life is in full swing and this Saturday he will be participating in a benefit basketball game. Almost every group here is busy doing things to help out! It looks like country wide they will raise the sales tax 3% to help offset the costs of reconstruction. Everyone seems like they are willing to pay the extra to help those that have had everything taken away.
With the new school year just beginning, Kim is back in full swing working at different schools EVERYDAY! She is truly shining His light where ever she teaches.
By His grace, God continues to equip us for each individual challenge and opportunity that He presents. Your prayers and support are necessary to our being here. We ask you to 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 do still need our own funds, but presently we need them for our Japanese brothers and sisters as well. If your heart leads you to send us financial aid for them please make a note with your love offering that it is for the disaster relief. Thank-you all so much for your prayers and giving hearts.
We hold you each in our hearts and prayers with praise and thanksgiving.
In His love & walking before Him, the Baranski Bunch