2/13/06 Prayer Update

2/13/06 Prayer update
Mark’s computer was in the shop the past two weeks, so we have a lot of updates for your prayer list:
1-Thank God with us for 2 wheelchairs that came last week from the Special Ed school and 20 more to be picked up this week from the rental company. We plan to send chairs to China and Thailand next month. Pray for all the details that need to be worked out.  Also, we are in contact with churches in Cambodia and Mongolia that would love to have chairs to use to spread God’s love in their communities; pray that we will find ways to ship big numbers of chairs.
2-Update on the Church move
Almost everyone wore their work clothes to church on February 5.  We had worship with the packing boxes all around, and wore our coats as even the stoves were packed away.  After the morning service was over we quickly ate our sack lunches and then the moving started in earnest.  It was mostly done by 7 that night.  The last Sunday in the old place all 29 chairs were full and someone had to stand in the back.  In our new place we have room for 50 chairs, though we still only have 29.  The Japan Focus on the Family has offered to donate some used furniture to equip the pastor’s study.  We’re excited to see the growth.
3-Updates on Y
We went into downtown Tokyo to meet 5 friends and sat in the corner of a smoky restaurant for 3 hours eating spaghetti.  At the table was a Canadian C&MA missionary who has a business background but knows no sign language, a Japanese Deaf couple from an indigenous Deaf church who know nothing about business, Y who is Deaf and knows Japanese signs and the signs of our neighboring country, and is trying to set up a shop with Deaf girls there, and ourselves.  A motley crew we were, but we all serve the same Lord and were there to take the next step together. 
The Canadian businessman turned missionary asked questions to help Y see what steps she needed to take, while Mark interpreted.  Y shared an update on what is happening with the Deaf in the city where she lives:
The leader of a small Deaf gang learned to use a sewing machine while in prison. He is now a Christian, managed to get an old machine, repaired it, and uses it to make Bible covers. Y was taking order for him while in Japan, and was able to come up with 30 in just four church visits. He would like to earn enough sewing to quit thievery activities but still feels responsible for those in his gang who depend on him for food.  He doesn’t feel like he can be baptized until he stops.
Then we saw photos of several of the girls that used to be involved in the gangs or in prostitution.  There are 5 who work at the shop, two on staff and three who make and sell things there.  They hand sew teddy-bears for $2.60 each and these are delivered to Hong Kong.  They would earn more money if they could assure the Hong Kong dealer of greater output.  But to do that they would need to sew faster.  Y figured that if the 5 girls learned to use the sewing machine they would be able to at least double their output within 6 months.  She could ask the gang leader to teach the girls to sew, but would need machines.  The $2.60 per piece at their present rate of production doesn’t even cover salary, and setting aside money to invest in machines is nothing but a dream. A machine for the "normal" material would cost $200 and a machine for the "heavy duty" fabric would run about $300.  We said we were interested in helping out. 
The project was a little more complicated than this, so it took a good part of the next day to write up. That evening, we got a phone call. As we shared about the exciting meeting of the night before day, out of the blue, he said "let me be the one".  He sent the $500 and when Y got on the plane, she had the funds to purchase the sewing machines.  Please praise God with us.  Please also pray for the one God used to provide. He is in rather tight financial circumstances himself, facing a major transition, and will be needing a job in May.

About Mark and Mary Esther Penner

Mark works as an adviser and resource to a Japanese Sign Language Bible translation project that plays a key role in the worldwide sign language Bible translation movement. Mary Esther founded a non-profit organization that partners with local communities and organizations to collect, refurbish and send wheelchairs throughout Asia.
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