Japan Opens its Borders

Jeff & Barb Chapman


Dear Prayer Partners,


“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.”  Habakkuk 2:3

As Judah was about to be destroyed by the Babylonians, the prophet Habakkuk asked God some very pointed questions.  God’s reply was to show Habakkuk how, after being conquered and carried off to Babylon, God would avenge the His people by judging the Babylonians very harshly.  However, this would not happen immediately and would take some patience on the part of the people of Israel to witness the destruction of their captors decades later.  At the appointed time, the prophecy was fulfilled.

Barb and I have felt the same way about our planned return to the field.  We had been seeking the Lord for vision for the ministry to come upon our return.  Barb has been looking forward to re-starting English Bible classes and kids programs.  I have been asking for a vision for a new outreach ministry in the city of Osaka, population 7 million.  I have even been having monthly online meetings with ministry partners in Japan to talk and pray about our future ministries. The Lord has answered with broad concepts of new ministry vision.  It was a good start for us.  

However, due to the pandemic, we have not been able to return to the field on schedule.  The main reason was that Japan was not allowing foreigners to enter, especially if coming from the U.S., the world hot-spot for Covid-19.  I have been making contact with ministry partners virtually since March 15, when Minnesota was shut down.  Recently, however, we were able to begin in-person visits once again and made a trip to Roseau, MN to visit our faithful partners at First Baptist.  How wonderful it was to be WITH PEOPLE again, even if it was 10 miles from Canada.  We were able to find graves of Barb’s relatives near there, as well. No worries about social distancing in the cemetery.  We will continue to make virtual visits until we are ready to depart, so expect a call.

In our last update, we asked you to pray that God would open the door for our return.  Well, September 1, Japan opened its borders to those possessing long term visas, like us.  We bought tickets to return, then discovered all the restrictions that apply as we try to enter Japan, brought on by COVID-19.  The required procedure is to be tested for Coronavirus, get the results, take a form from the Japanese government to the testing facility, have a doctor fill out the form certifying that the test was negative, then board a plane that lands in Japan.  Sounds reasonable, right? Here’s the catch.  All of this must be accomplished within 72 hours of being swabbed for the Covid test.  

I cannot believe how difficult it is to get a test! Most clinics will only test symptomatic people.  One clinic only notifies people with a positive result.  Another will do the test, but refuses to sign any paperwork.  We live 5 blocks from a hospital that is doing Covid tests every day, with results being returned within 24 hours, but only for pre-procedural patients.  So, I would have to be needing a surgical procedure in order to get the test with the quick results. I wonder if cosmetic surgery qualifies?  Although, then my face may not match my passport photo!  So, we NEED you to pray that God removes all the testing restrictions by the end of October, or that He will direct us to a facility where we can receive the test, get quick results, AND have the form filled out… close enough to the airport, so we can get to our flight out of LAX withing 3 days of being swabbed. Our God is the Lord of the nations. We have seen Him do amazing things with government officials in the past, so we are confident of His ability to do it again.  If God provides the way, we will depart from Minneapolis November 1, 2020.
Prayer requests: 1) Healing of Barb's knee with a torn meniscus. 2) God to provide a job for Anna, our college student daughter

3) God to solve the Covid testing dilemma

4) God to guide our Japanese ministry partners as they prepare for our return

5) Good health as we prepare to depart November 1st.

Jeff & Barb Chapman, Missionary

Help Jeff and Barb share Jesus with the Japanese, the world's second-largest unreached people group.