To Fukui in the Snow

January 13, 2022

Yesterday, I traveled in the snow to the Fukui church for a children's meeting. Today, I edited and combined several short clips taken with the new camera to make an eight minute video report.

Tough Questions for Us Preachers

January 12, 2022

The hard-hitting questions on the print below are mostly based on my experience in various Japanese churches over the years, most of which are NOT known for their flexibility, though the questions may apply to preaching and preachers elsewhere as well. This page resulted from reworking notes which resurfaced during yesterday's big file cleanup. Mitsy will be putting this print into Japanese in the near future so that we can pass it on to some young Japanese preachers.

Old Photos & Tripod

January 11, 2022

Today, I found these old passport photos from 1988, as I was cleaning out an old file cabinet. They were taken shortly before we went to the U.S. for our first "home assignment." I added the photos to the Gallery page.

I also found an old tripod "hiding" in the dark corner beside the cabinet. I probably have not used it in about 20 years! It still works fine and should be helpful again now that we have a new camera.

Still Puzzled

January 10, 2022

King Asa is puzzling since he was mostly good but finished poorly. -- Today, I was experimenting with puzzling aspects of lighting and background blur (depth of field) when I took this somewhat dark photo and prepared to use the new camera for making videos. Hopefully, we will trust the Lord and improve rather than become worse like Asa. -- The King Asa page from the Bible Top 55 booklet is attached below. It has an important bottom line which is NOT puzzling.
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Obviously, I need better lighting or the reflection of light on the right (darker) side of my face. The light from above is more than adequate, however, since my thinning white hair is easy to see. ūüôĀ

The New Camera & The First Two Photos

January 7, 2022

Today, the lens for the new camera finally came.  So this evening after the Friday online meeting, I mounted the lens and took these first two photos. The first one shows various Youtube tutorials on my computer screen, and the second one is of me facing a mirror with a puzzled look. I HAVE A LOT TO LEARN!!!
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By the way, it ONLY took about an hour to take the first photo! Apparently, I did not have the lens on quite tight enough at first. So I tried many things -- studied tutorials, read the manual, etc -- but could only get a black screen in the viewfinder. Finally, I took the lens off and remounting it. What a novice! But at least I learned some things in the process!

New Photo of Jon & Mitsy

January 5, 202

Our daughter, Yumi, took this nice photo of us a couple days ago. It is one of the few new photos we have. She's obviously a much better photographer than her Dad! -- By the way, the lens for Jon's new camera is supposed to come on Friday! Praise the Lord! Too bad gaining video making skills will take much LONGER!

Better Videos Coming Soon

December 27- 29, 2021

We finally purchased a good (but not super expensive) Olympus camera (E-M5 model) for making videos. So we should be able to make better ones in 2022. I also updated the video page of the the website. There are now 12 videos linked properly to the page, since I finally learned how to do so the right way.

The new equipment has not been used yet, since we are waiting for the lens that we chose for the camera to come. Today, I got a fairly large SD (128 GB) card and am studying how to use the camera.

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEOS PAGE

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas everyone! Lord willing, I will be using this chart (in Japanese) as a handout tomorrow, the 26th, to go with a message on the children who were killed by Herod (Matt. 2:16-18). I believe the main purpose of this sad passage is to help show the great need for the King of kings, the Lord Jesus, the only one who can bring true peace and justice to the world.
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According to the weather report we may get three feet of snow tonight, but churches in Japan almost never cancel. I'm glad that we have a four-wheel drive car.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CHRISTMAS PAGE

VIDEOS!

December 18, 2021

Today, I added a new page to the website which contains the videos which are otherwise scattered throughout. So far there are eight videos shown on this page, but several more still need to be added.

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEOS PAGE

The Shepherds or the Wisemen?

December 16, 2021

Which do you like to hear about more? If you are like most of us today, it is probably the shepherds, though many in the early, mostly-Jewish church may have chosen the wisemen. Nineteen CHRISTMAS BASKETBALL lines with 1, 2, or 3 point values are shown below. Which line do you like best? One of my favorites is the one about the shepherds & angels passage being like a bridge between heaven and earth (Luke 2:14).

For more on this and Christmas Basketball, click the link below to go to the Christmas page.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CHRISTMAS PAGE

New Psalm 119 Video

December 14, 2021

Today, I made a 13 minute video on Psalm 119 to share with an online fellowship of missionaries here in Japan. I skipped through Psalm 119 touching upon various stanza and verses while sharing ministry experiences and making applications. It is devotional, but it has depth to it as well. Click the photo below to view the video.

Which do you like to hear about more? If you are like most of us today, it is probably the shepherds, though many in the early mostly Jewish church may have chosen the wisemen. Nineteen CHRISTMAS BASKETBALL lines with 1, 2, or 3 point values are shown below. Which line do you like best? One of my favorites is the one about the shepherds & angels passage being like a bridge between heaven and earth (Luke 2:14).

CLICK HERE FOR THE PSALM 119 PAGE

CHRISTMAS BASKETBALL

December 10, 2021

Imagine a gathering of 5 to 25 people, most of whom know the Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke fairly well. To facilitate open sharing about the Savior's birth, the host has prepared a "Christmas Basketball" game, which is a fast-moving sharing session for everyone. See the small print on the graphic below and the "Scoring Points" notes on the Christmas Basketball page to see how one, two, and three point statements are to be made.

This is a new, original, and fun way to discuss the Christmas story and the 14 characters or groups therein in various setting and be blessed while doing so. It can be adapted for Sunday school classes and groups small or large. So PLEASE check this out!

CLICK HERE FOR THE CHRISTMAS PAGE

FANTASTIC ESTHER GAME

December 8, 2021

Today, I updated our ESTHER TOP FOUR game information, and I realized more than ever what a fantastic tool this is for teaching through Esther in a fun and interesting way. It is a also great game for those who already know Esther. Please check this out. All you need is the print (below), the instructions from our Esther page, and your Bibles.

Imagine a gathering of 5 to 25 people, most of whom know the Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke fairly well. To facilitate open sharing about the Savior's birth, the host has prepared a "Christmas Basketball" game, which is a fast-moving sharing session in which everyone shares. See the "Scoring Points" notes on the website to see how one, two, and three point statements are to be made. https://www.toaministries.com/christmas-basketballThis is a new and fun way to discuss the Christmas passages and the characters therein in a small group setting and be greatly blessed while doing so.  It can be adapted for Sunday school classes and larger groups as well. Please check this out!

CLICK HERE FOR THE ESTHER PAGE

David & Solomon

December 7, 2021

We had a good meeting at the Noto church on Sunday (the 5th). The message was contrasting and comparing David and Solomon, which is more or less the same as the points in study #6 on the new Solomon page.

Today, a new short study / devotional (#7 out of 9) on the end of Solomon's life was added to the set. We always think of Solomon not ending well, which is true. Yet, Solomon's real bottom line may be the ending of the Book of Ecclesiastes, and this is somewhat encouraging. Perhaps it shows that Solomon repented.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE LIFE OF SOLOMON PAGE

One Year Anniversary

December 4, 2021

It was exactly one year ago today that this Toa Ministries website was first "published" to the internet. Translations into Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish was added in late spring. The chart below is the summary of usage during the year -- featuring the top 15 countries. There were many other countries as well.

We have not promoted the website much in recent months, other than on Facebook which is usually not very effective. We have concentrated on improving the website content instead, especially adding more material in Japanese. Earlier in 2021 we promoted the material to homeschoolers in New Zealand and had a very good response. More promotion is needed and planned.

By the way, the totals users for the U.S. should actually be cut in half, since this include automatic usage by the hosting server whenever we make changes. If that is done, the average time per user goes up considerably. We especially encourage our friends and supporters to use the Blog page on the website for recent news items.

Also by the way, we wish the usage figures for China reflected genuine interest, but I'm afraid this is really just hostile internet surveillance.

New and Better Solomon Cover

December 4, 2021

This new cover for the set of nine studies on Solomon brings out the nature of the material in a more positive and comprehensive way that the older one, showing that the study of Solomon is NOT just about an ancient king. There is much about him and the time in which he lived which prefigures the future millennial kingdom, despite the sad way his life ended. Please try to read the small print on the cover. Click on it to enlarge.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE LIFE OF SOLOMON PAGE

DAVID WAS...
(today's sermon notes)

November 21, 2021

This is a copy of the notes I used while preaching on the life of David this morning. The names on the graphic are in Japanese, as was my message. My points are in English because it is easiest to translate them into Japanese in my head. One of the main points was that David was protected by God (2 Samuel 22 and Psalm 18). We are as believers as well, especially if we are in his will (1 Pet. 3:10). For the people in the life of David graphic in English, see earlier posts or go to the David page. To enlarge the notes, just click. (Sorry for the typos!)

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE DAVID STUDIED PAGE

Song of Solomon?

November 19, 2021

Today, a short article was added to the Song of Solomon page on how I believe this beautiful book should be interpreted. This was written way back in June but was just added to the S. of S. page today. There are encouraging thoughts for every believer, married or single.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE SONG OF SOLOMON PAGE

21 David Studies - Now in English & Japanese

November 16, 2021

Today, Japanese copies of 21 studies on people in the life of David were added to the website. This set has already been used in several Japanese churches, but now it is readily available to many more.

The little that was remaining to do on yesterday's skylight "patch" was also done today, but there are still many more Japanese versions of Bible studies remaining to be "patched" onto the website. It takes many hours and even days to so, but it will be worth it.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE DAVID PAGE

Roof Repair Nearly Finished

November 15, 2021

The low roof over the front entrace has a large homemade skylight which has been leaking. Today, I finally was able to replace the two large acrylic sheets. It has rained nearly everyday for a week. So it has been difficult to replace some shingles and do the necessary painting. All that is left to do now is a little more caulking in one spot.

I've put this job off for quite a while, but I recently read Ecclesiastes 10:18 -- Because of laziness the building decays, And through idleness of hands the house leaks.
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Yet, I was able to do many other things in the last eight days while it rained -- online meetings, new Bible studies on the webpage, preparation for next Sunday, etc.

New Studies in Jonah

November 14, 2021

A new page of studies in Jonah was added recently. There are now four studies included. The core written message of the book is that salvation is of the Lord rather than through idols (2:8-9).

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE NEW JONAH PAGE

A Special International Blessing

November 4-5, 2021

This morning (Japan time) thanks to Rafael in Brazil, I had a wonderful opportunity to fellowship with more than 10 Brazilian pastors online. I shared about our ministry including some of our best website material. Rafael is preparing to come to Japan as a missionary in the near future. The meeting was mostly in Portuguese with two interpreters for me.

I hope that these new pastor friends will use and introduce the  Plus+ Bible study method and the Bible Top 55 material to other in Brazil. This lively, interactive material should work even better there, where people are less shy than in Japan.

Chiharu who is from our church here in Japan as well as Brazil was one of the interpreters. We heard about Rafael originally through her.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE PLUS+ BIBLE STUDY PAGE

Proverbs Seminar

November 2, 2021

Yesterday, I had a great opportunity to lead a 90 minute online study for pastors on the use of Proverbs. One topic was how many chapters are somewhat like salads which are rich in healthy variety. Another subject was the use of computer programs to discover WHERE in Proverbs certain topics are stressed. (For instance, the graph below shows that "the poor" are mentioned most often in chapter 28.) Please check out our greatly enlarged Proverbs page. (link below) It is much like it was during the study. Not everything on the page was covered, and a few items have been added today.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE PROVERBS PAGE

Japanese Beliefs

October 30, 2021

What do most Japanese people believe? The top priority for most is security in this present life. The focus is very much on the present. Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 shows that this is realistic in some ways, but unbiblical because God and eternity are neglected. We studied this passage last evening online, and today a new webpage on Japanese beliefs was added. The list and diagram in this set are not new however.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
JAPANESE BELIEFS PAGE

Studies in Japanese Added Today

October 29, 2021

The Japanese version of all twenty studies in this set were just added to the "Lesser-Known Women in the Bible" page. Some churches have been asking for this material to be more readily available in Japanese. Now it is!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE LESSER-KNOWN
WOMEN PAGE

The Emphasis on Speech in Proverbs

October 27, 2021

The summary chart below shows that about a third of all verses in Proverbs are about human speech, much of which is sinful. This chart and several others were recently added to the Proverbs page of the website, in preparation for a seminar on Proverbs for pastors next Monday (Nov. 1).

CLICK HERE FOR THE
FULL-SIZE VIEW
CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE PROVERBS PAGE

12 Minute Video Report

October 8, 2021

Today, I made a video report for a church in Maine. Some family and church photos are included but most of it is "on the road" in tour format. The church below is the Noto Bible Church (the Nickerson's church) where we will be on Sunday. Click below to access the video via Vimeo.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE VIMEO VIDEO

New! Photo Gallery Page Added!

October 3, 2021

Today, I added a new photo gallery page to the website. There are SOME new up-to-date photos -- with the grandkids!! There is also even one old photo from way back in 1974. Some photos concern ministry, but many of them are family photos like this one, with Mitsy's mom and two of her sisters (at New Years 2011).

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
the PHOTO GALLERY.

Today's Wonderful Fellowship

September 29, 2021

Today, our daughter Yumi (on the left) came for a few hours with four others from her church which is about an hour and a half drive from here. This is the first time we have had a group this size in for fellowship (Bible games, mini-studies using the Top 55 card set, and a meal) in a very LONG time. It was a great blessing.

We wore masks much of the time, but of course not while eating. It would have been difficult to eat that lemon-meringue pie wearing a mask! Masks were removed for this photo as well. Thankfully the number of Covid cases has dropped a lot in recent days.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE BIBLE TOP 55 PAGE.

47 Years Ago Today

September 1, 2021

On September 1, 1974, I arrived in Japan for the first time. On the long, slow train ride south and west from Tokyo, the scene out the window looked something like this. The only somewhat familiar thing was a Coca-Cola truck in the distance. It was not much comfort. The Lord was, however. Now, how I thank him for keeping me all these years and for giving me a family and a home in what was at-that-time a scary and unfamiliar land!

The Great Calm

August 17-18, 2021

How would you describe the calming of the sea in Mark 4:35-41? The summary chart below was finished up today, and will be used online Wednesday.
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By the way, it is nearly impossible to find a photo of the Sea of Galilee with it perfectly calm. So what a great miracle / sign the great calm was to the disciples! One reason it was so shocking to them was because they probably expected Jesus to pray, like a prophet might do. Instead, he commanded the winds and the waves.

A new MARK page was also started today, with this as the first study. See this new page for a great devotional study by clicking the button below.

FOR MORE DETAILS,
CLICK HERE TO GO TO
THE NEW MARK PAGE.

Bible Study Via Phone

August 2, 2021

Today, my retired truck-driver friend, Mr. Y., called as he often does, and we had a good Bible study for about 30 minutes. Since he lives far from us, in Yamaguchi City and there are no good churches in his city, our online studies and fellowship are a blessing. They are for me, as well.

Mitsy says I look much different now since I have lost over 30 pounds this year. I look older too, however.

Elisha Summary Chart #1

June 22, 2021

The three key aspects of Elisha's ministry are summarized using Describe-It-Yourself cards. For an explanation of the three carefully chosen points, see the study near the bottom of the Elisha page.

elisha studies page

New Revelation Page

June 16, 2021

Today, a new page was added to the website for studies in the book of Revelation. For now, there are only three studies on this page, but more will probably be added later. Two of the studies are descriptive ones which make use of the new Describe It Yourself set of cards and were recently featured on the QuickStop Devotionals page.

studies in revlation

Happy Day!

June 15, 2021

No, it is not my birthday! June 15th is tax day for Americans overseas. So I was happy to be on my way to the postoffice to airmail the form to the U.S. We will get a small refund, but I am always VERY happy to finish the paper work for another year.
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And speaking of small(er), I have lost 33 pounds (15 kgs.) in six months, mostly by only eating twice a day. Now at only 5' - 6" tall / short and 156 lbs. (71 kg.) I still am a little over, but it is difficult now to lose more.

Psalm 119 Games etc

April 21-22, 2021

Tonight, the Psalm 119 page was greatly improved and two games were added. These games should be great to use in youth meetings. Ordinarily, Psalm 119 is difficult to teach because it is so long. Now, however, using the trail like diagram below and the two new games it can be done in interactive and fun ways. Yet, the foundational truth of living by the Word will still be taught.

psalm 119 page

An International First

April 16, 2021

Today, "Dan" (his pen name) in Brazil joined our Friday online Bible study for the first time. He is the brother of Chiharu who is a member of our church here in Japan. It was a wonderful study, with various ones sharing insights on Matthew chapter three and what we can learn for John the Baptist regarding our testimony for Christ today. The study was mostly in simple English with some Japanese and Portuguese added in as well. It was a fantastic blessing! (8 pm in Japan is 8 am in eastern Brazil.)

Newsletter Copy

April 15, 2021

Today, I used the Snappa app. a new way, to make a newsletter. Those of you with a desktop, laptop, or tablet should be able to read it ok. Smart phone? Those with translation software will be stuck with the English since it it a graphic. Sorry.

Cherry Blossoms & Optical Cable

First In-Person Visit in Six Months

April 1, 2021

It has been great to visit with Amy and family this week. Our year old granddaughter (in photo) and nearly four year old grandson (hiding in back of the table) are a lot bigger than last time. This photo shows cherry blossoms at a Mount Fuji area lake, about an hour away from Pastor Ken & Amy's home / church. (I will be going home to the other side of Japan today, but Mitsy will be staying at Amy's for a few more days.)

Missionaries in Serbia (Europe)

March 1, 2021

SERBIA
Word of Life Serbian missionary, Darko Vika, just wrote to us saying, "Thank you very much for offering all this [toaministries.com] materials to us. . . . We will use some . . . for sure! . . . We do our ministry in the Serbian language but will translate your material and use it to reach youth and help them grow in knowing Jesus! The map below shows Serbia and the Vika's location relative to Austria and Romania, all of which are north of Greece.

You can check out the Vika's on the Word of Life Fellowship's missionary giving page. https://give.wol.org/dvika. They are doing a great work in Serbian churches, Bible clubs, and camps during the summer, but they are about 33% under supported.

Homeschools: Seeing the World Differently

February 26, 2021

Users of our new website are most numerous in the U.S. at 183 thanks largely to homeschoolers, and New Zealand is #3 at 25 for the same reason. Japan is #2 at 41, including only one or two home schools at most. Australia, #5 at 15, is gaining fast thanks to "distance education," but homeschooling in Canada, #4 at 20, seems a bit weak. (?) Christian schools are numerous in some African countries (10 users), and there are many in some U.S. states, but not in others.

Sometimes it is good to look at the world differently. This world map is from a New Zealander perspective. By the way, we don't have any users in Antarctica yet, even though it looks so big.

Smart Phones Can Be Trouble.

February 25, 2021

I have been watching the habits of those who view our website, and one disturbing thing has become very clear. Those who use smart phones instead of computers or tablets to view websites usually do not check out multiple pages or download files. They are quick to quit. You can not see much on the small screens, and that easily leads to the wrong assumption that there is really not much to see on the website.

Smart phones have their place, of course, as mobile phones, cameras, and to help speed up communications, but they can NOT replace a computer or tablet. Sadly many use them as if they could.

more materials going out

January 31, 2021

Yesterday, we received an order for Bible study materials from a large (for Japan) church in the Tokyo area. This church has previously used two other sets that Mitsy translated. Now we have three additional sets ready to use in Japanese, including the Top 55 People in the Bible materials. (cards shown, comes with booklet) Within Japan, it is possible for us to print out and package materials to mail to those who need them. People like hard copies! The English materials for the U.S. etc. can be printed out for free via the website, since it costs too much to ship internationally.

New Who's Who in the Life of David Game

December 26, 2020

more info.

I woke up unusually early this morning (before 5 AM), probably because of eating too many delicious Christmas snacks (with chocolate) yesterday! With the early rise, however, came a great new idea to turn the new People in the Life of David Chart (worked on yesterday) into a game board. With this new "game" learning from the 60 or so people on the David summary chart can be a lot of fun.

I had to create a new list to go along with the "game," and that took much of the day, but it is going to be worth it. Over lunch, Mitsy and I talked about using this material in our next youth / teen meeting. Please check out this great new game by clicking the button above or the "David Who's Who" item under the FUN menu on the home page.

Website Published Today!

more info.

December 4, 2020

What a great day it was, but why did it take so long -- nearly nine months in all -- to develop and publish the Toa Ministries website? The answer is obvious. There are 21 great sets of Bible studies, several of which contain 20 or more individual studies! You will not find nearly that many on most other websites, and certainly not if the site is new. It took months to collect and rework studies from the past, write dozens of new ones, and design the actual website itself.

Thankfully, due to the Corvid-19 pandemic, I had more time to work on all this since April than I would have had otherwise. Most of our ministries have continued in modified form since spring, and the work on the website fit in wonderfully with the various messages given and Bible studies taught (online and otherwise) during the period. So 2020 has been a surprisingly good year for the Lord's work!