October 23, 2021

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Two lives invested sharing the gospel in Japan

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Alan Mitchell, of Pipestone, retains a Japanese language Bible that he applied throughout his time as a missionary in Japan. Mitchell and his spouse Elaine devoted 40 yrs of their lives to mission perform. K. Kuphal

Alan and Elaine Mitchell, of Pipestone, put in 40 several years sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in Japan.
Alan, 90, not too long ago shared some of their tale and data about Japan with people today at the Pipestone Senior Heart. He’ll talk there again on Thursday, June 24. He also shared some of their tale recently with the Pipestone County Star.
As a younger male, Mitchell was at first interested in a vocation in astronomy and earned a degree in math and geography from Fitzwilliam Faculty at the University of Cambridge. He then made a decision sharing the gospel was much more crucial and attended the London Faculty of Theology.
“The extra I discovered out about locations of the world that had really small possibility of hearing about Jesus Christ and His salvation, the more essential it seemed to me,” Mitchell stated.
In 1957, at the age of 26, he turned element of Overseas Mission Fellowship (OMF).
“An Iowa girl also joined at the similar time,” Mitchell claimed.
He and Elaine (the Iowa girl) satisfied in London. Elaine experienced traveled there by ship with some others from the U.S. who were signing up for OMF. From there, the missionaries from England and the U.S. sailed together to OMF’s international headquarters in Singapore.
From Singapore Alan and Elaine traveled to Japan. Mitchell stated substantially of their 1st two many years in Japan ended up spent focusing on language study and acculturation, and obtaining to know people today.
The Mitchells started their missionary do the job solitary and in different places. They have been married in Japan not long into their missionary careers. That was 62 years back.
“Because anyone traveled by boat in those times, we did not have any family members there,” Mitchell mentioned. “It was Japanese mates and missionary mates who have been there.”
Just after they had been married, they went to Goshogawara on the northwest aspect of Japan’s primary island of Honshu and lead a church that experienced been started by other missionaries prior to them. Right after about a yr they were transferred to Kutchan on the island of Hokkaido where they guide one more church.
“Of class we’re getting encounter all the time,” Mitchell explained. “I was preaching pretty nicely every 7 days in Japanese already.”
They guide that church till their 1st furlough. Mitchell said the missionaries experienced a a single-yr furlough just about every 4 or 5 a long time. He and
Elaine would spend half of each individual furlough in England and half in the U.S.
Following their to start with furlough, they went to the port city of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido and lead an additional church and managed a Christian reserve keep. Although there, Mitchel was also asked to enable OMF missionaries understand the Japanese language.
“As a result we commenced a little language college up in Sapporo,” he mentioned.
Just after that Mitchell served OMF’s region director for Japan and Korea. He did that for about 11 several years.
“They place individuals two collectively, so I would go around to Korea a few instances a year,” he mentioned.
Mitchell stated that whilst he was the spot director, he and Elaine had been also involved in church planting. He at some point left the director placement because they wished to invest a lot more time church planting.
“My spouse and I had a eyesight for starting off a church ideal in the center of the town of Sapporo,” Michell said.
They begun a church there with just three men and women. Now, Mitchell claimed, it in all probability has a pair hundred individuals who go to and there are 4 providers each and every Sunday — two in Japanese, just one in Chinese and one particular in English. It also delivers a Chinese provider and Korean company at other times.
“God’s blessed that,” Mitchell reported. “It’s definitely prospered.”
The Mitchells finished their missionary perform in 1997. Mitchell mentioned they stuck with the get the job done for 40 decades mainly because “there was nevertheless work to do.”
“As God experienced termed us there, he hadn’t called us residence but,” he said.
Mitchell stated it was a privilege to commit 4 a long time carrying out mission do the job. He mentioned they were associated largely in the early stages during their time in Japan and did extra sowing than reaping, but which is Alright with him.
“The Bible says 1 sows, yet another reaps and they rejoice collectively, so we’re pleased with whoever reaps,” he said.
They went back to Japan a few occasions in the early 2000s to fill in at some of the churches they had guide.
“Seeing aged close friends once again — both in our mission and Japanese pals — it was excellent,” Mitchell said.
The Mitchells experienced five kids whilst serving as missionaries in Japan. Two of them, Alistair and Tim, have absent on to do missionary function with their wives. Mitchell said it is encouraging to see them sharing God’s term with other folks.
The Mitchells settled in Iowa after they ended their perform in Japan to be in close proximity to Elaine’s relatives and just one of their kids. Elaine then produced dementia and their spouse and children considered they should really be close to one of their small children, so they moved to Flandreau where by their daughter and her family members live. They then moved to Pipestone in 2018 when Elaine was equipped to move into the Excellent Samaritan property.

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