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    The heavens declare the glory of God,
        and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
~ Psalm 19:1 ~

Dear Friends,

In our last update, we shared how we always look forward to Springtime in Nagoya - which is no surprise to those of you who have received our updates these last 8 years!  Above are a few photos we took while walking in our neighborhood last month.  We know things are also beautiful where you are, but we wanted to give you a little taste of the April/May colors in Japan as creation woke up this year!

Unfortunately, flowers aren't the only things blooming.  COVID is also on the rise again in Japan.  Tokyo and Osaka declared a new state of emergency earlier this month, and Nagoya soon followed.  That means that ANF's Sunday gatherings are back on Zoom, and we're all exercising extra caution as numbers are climbing during Japan's 4th wave of the virus.  That's not as dramatic as it sounds, but we are also aware of the fact that we're living in the world's oldest population, and the healthcare system is nearing maximum capacity.  So, we're watching everything closely and appreciate your continued prayers in this area.

On the ministry front, things have been busy for both of us...
  1. God is continuing to open up new doors for JEREMY to come alongside Japanese pastors.  Actually COVID has helped create new opportunities since virtual meetings are now seen as so normal and distance isn't such a determining factor.  After a recent meeting with a group of Japanese pastors and church planters, one of the leaders sent me a personal email.  He shared that he was struggling with some personal issues that he felt he could not share freely with most people.  He went on to say that he felt he could trust me and asked if I could spend some extra time with him.  That opened the door for a deeper friendship to develop.  Recently, I asked if there are other ways I can serve him, and he had some ideas.  Here's part of what he said: "...the thing I need most right now is for you help me remember that the Good News isn't just for the people in my church.  You always remind me that it is also for me.  When I am receiving from God, I have something to give to the people in my church."  Please join me in lifting up this dear brother who is all alone.  One day, I hope I can share his name with you.
  2. GINA has been really hitting her stride this term.  She's continued to meet with the group of 4 pastors' wives, and God is deeply blessing that work.  She's also been working alongside a local MTW team as they've launched a bilingual youth ministry called CONNECT.  Since most of Japan's churches are so small, very few churches are able to organize special events for their own youth.  So, the MTW-NEXT team has invited lots of churches to work together to form a community youth group where young people can "connect" with one another and with God.  The event has been very successful, and now Gina and another leader (Rachel) have started a new small group called "Miss-Connect" for middle school girls.  The girls in her group are all missionary kids (MK's) with special MK experiences and struggles.  The group is a safe space to share feelings, explore the Gospel, and to be together with others who can relate to the same special struggles.  It's also a perfect environment for Gina to "practice" teaching the same content she's bringing to her meetings like the pastors' wives' group (above).  Every week, when Gina comes home, she's smiling  and says something like, "That was the highlight of my week!"  This area of ministry is catching us a little by surprise, but we'd like to ask you to pray for this group, these girls, and specifically for Gina and Rachel as they disciple these precious young ladies.
These are good examples of the direction Gina and I believe God is leading us for this next season of ministry in Japan.  Up to this point, most of our time has centered around our work at ANF, and we certainly look forward to continuing that strong local church relationship.  However, as we move forward, we believe the Spirit is leading us to invest most of our time, energy, and love into the Japanese leaders (and prospective/future leaders) who are laboring to lead and plant new churches in their own country.  This is such hard soil and isolating work.  It's also easy to see how Gina's work with wives (and others, like these MK girls) and mine with pastors and church planters is complimentary.  Both of us are experiencing a lot of joy in coming alongside these brothers and sisters who are sacrificing so much for the Gospel.  So, we're dreaming together and talking with ANF's elders about how to free up more time for this kind of emphasis.

We love being your hands and feet here in Japan.  We feel honored and encouraged to have this giant team of pray-ers and givers behind us to shine the light of the Gospel in this dark land - and especially into the lives of these budding leaders.

Much Love,

Jeremy and Gina
The girls at Miss-Connect "creating" together as a part of a discussion about God's work of creation in Genesis.
FINANCIAL UPDATE

Our support account makes us feel THANKFUL right now.  .

I guess we have to keep the "yellow" text above for now (yellow = caution).  We're having some months where income is lower than it should be, and then we're seeing some months that are really strong. 

This is such an uncertain time all over the world, and many people/churches are facing new financial hardships.  We know that's true for many of you.  We want you to know how GRATEFUL we are for your sacrificial giving and ongoing partnership with us.  THANK YOU!  We've now been in Japan for over 8 years, and there hasn't been a single time when we've lacked for anything we need.  We also know you pray for us and this work that we're doing together through this partnership.

We think we will probably need to give some time to support raising this year, but our account is in good shape right now.  We'll keep you updated about how things are developing.  Thank you for partnering with us in this work!

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:3-6)
Make a Contribution to our Support Account
Home Assignment!

After consulting with our supervisor and member care representative, Gina and I have decided to take a 3-month home assignment (HA) beginning in July.  Originally, we expected to take a longer HA beginning next summer, but several factors have made us realize that we should do it now.  For example, COVID complications have delayed the arrival of new teammates who had planned to already be on the field with us.  It is better for us to be away before they arrive than planning to depart soon after they arrive.  So, we will squeeze in a 12-week HA beginning in July followed by a longer HA that corresponds with Garrett's graduation from high school in 2023.

Next week, we've set aside several days for planning, and we'll be devoting a block of that time to setting goals for this HA.  We do know we'll be based in Lexington, NC where a generous local church is allowing us to use their parsonage for our entire stay.  We are in need of transportation, so if any of you have a lead on a vehicle that we could use or rent for that time, please let us know!  More details in our next update!
For Your Praying
  • From 5/23-25, Gina and I are devoting a big block of time to planning.  Would you pray that the Spirit would lead us as we talk, pray, and make plans together for both our home assignment and ministry focus in the upcoming 6-8 months?
  • We're so thankful for how well all three boys are doing these days.  Joshua and Kirsten seem to be doing great after celebrating their 1 year anniversary in January.  Josiah just finished his freshman year at ASU with great grades, new friends, and having picked up fly fishing.  Garrett finished up his best academic year ever and has already flown back to NC (all alone!!) because he didn't want to wait until July to eat at Chick-fil-A and see his grandparents.  Thank you for the way you pray for our boys.
  • Thank you for continuing to pray for the elders at ANF.  Please keep these men on your prayer list for now.  They're doing a great job and we remain in the midst of an important season in the life of the church.
  • New Teammates - Please remember to pray for our friends Daniel Mitchell and Josh Curl as they raise support to join our team here in Nagoya.  Daniel will be making a trip to CALIFORNIA this month.  If you or your church would like to meet him while he's in CA, I'd love to put you in touch with him.
  • Gina and I have been really benefiting from our work in the Sonship course this month.  Our mentor has been helping us take the Gospel that we give to others so freely and pour it into our own hearts.  One specific way we want to ask you to pray is that the Holy Spirit would use this time to strengthen our fellowship with Christ while also growing intimacy in our marriage.
  • From July 12-16, I will be delivering 4 talks during an annual gathering for missionaries associated with TEAM.  They've asked me to speak on the theme:  "Thriving in the Gospel."  Would you pray for my preparation over the next month and also for the Spirit's work in the lives of the missionaries who will attend?  This is the first time I've agreed to serve as a "keynote speaker" at this kind of conference.  As I think about the event, I feel deeply aware of my own weakness and realize how much I need the Spirit's help!
  • Gina is meeting with 4 Japanese pastors’ wives, and I’ve begun meeting with 3 new Japanese pastors/church planters for mentoring.  We love these opportunities, but we often feel inadequate for the tasks at hand.  Pray that we would be confident in the work of the Spirit - and that God would bless these leaders through our coming alongside them in these new ways.
Nagoya at Sunset. 
ANF's downtown campus meets within a 10 minute walk of the tallest buildings in this photo.
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Jeremy and Gina Sink · Otana-cho 3-1-3 · Shatore Otana 402 · Nisshin-shi,, Aichi-ken 464-0835 · Japan

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