Hello from sunny California! We arrived in Pasadena, CA on September 10. We have closed our first chapter/term and now transitioning into our second phase of ministry. For the next 1 - 1.5 years, the Bocanegra family will be traveling to support raise for Kaihin Makuhari Grace Church. Mark has been called as their pastor, who will be particularly focused on the planting of their second congregation. Please see prayer request #2 for our full schedule for Fall-Winter 2019. Mark
Sarah's Japanese characters are 幸来(さら), which means "The Blessings that are to Come."
Our three daughters are based on three Biblical covenants of God. Kate's name in Japanese characters means "City of Grace," which is based the Covenant of Works of Gen 1-3. The First Adam was commissioned to build a city for God in complete obedience in order to receive eternal life for his people. He failed, but God promised the Final Adam, Jesus Christ, who will fulfill the C
I was planning to share a little about what kind of team I'm praying for in the future; however, as I was reading through Ezekiel for my personal devotions--with the help of Ian Duguid's wonderful commentary on Ezekiel (NIVAC)--I was convicted by Ezekiel's passion, commitment, and faithfulness in delivering the message of God to hard, rebellious, stubborn people.
As a missionary-pastor who is still growing as a preacher, Duguid's insights into Ezekiel 4 were mindblowing. To
My three PhD applications are in and we'll be waiting to hear back from then. I'm expecting that they will respond with their decision in March or April. We are also coming to the end of our 2-year term with Oyumino in June. At the end of this two years, one thing has become very clear in our minds. The Presbyterian Church of Japan needs more church plants. After looking at the PCJ data, I have concluded (with many other PCJ/MTW pastors) that new church plants are the best so
Higashi Kanto Presbytery is the presbytery where my church resides. It was started on May 3, 1999 by three little house churches that had the the same desire for the kingdom advancement in Japan. On that day, this little flock created a 'mission statement' for the Presbytery. I have done a rough and quick translation below. Now, by God's grace, Higashi-Kanto Presbytery is the largest and most ethnically diverse presbytery in the Presbyterian Church of Japan. I think it is a t
The fine and dangerous line between biblical contextualization and gross idolatry First of all, my deepest apologies! It's been almost 4 months since I sent out a newsletter. These past 4 months were probably the busiest months we've had so far. I've learned that I can't just "squeeze" time to write newsletters anymore, so I hope to go back to a monthly pace again after making some adjustments. No excuses, but please pray for us as we juggle lots of things.
There have been some who have asked me what I'd like to study for my PhD and how it would be relevant to the mission field. This month I've attached the introduction of ,y research sample that gives a taste of what I'd like to study in the future--Emil Brunner's concept of Anknüpfungspunkt. You'll start to see why, as a missionary, I'd like to study this. Of course, Brunner is not Reformed in the traditional and Confessional sense; however, he cites Reformed influences when i
(Explanation of first photo: Kate is forcing her non-Christian friend to pray before they 'play eat.' Notice that Kate does not serve her guest food but keeps all the ice cream for her self. Her parents take full responsibility for her excessive liking to ice cream.)
I'm in a middle of sermon series in Exodus--which has been a great joy. Going through the book of Exodus has opened my eyes to God's 'missionary orientation' in his acts of deliverance. Here's an excerpt from
As one of five student representatives, I was asked to speak about my Westminster experience at the Graduation Reception. Below is my original draft of my speech--however, I had to cut much of it due to the five minute time limit. Hope this speech gives you a taste of how grateful I am for my education at WSC. It’s a great honor but a humbling privilege to say something about our experience at Westminster. When I was asked to do this, I genuinely wanted to refuse because I’m
What do you immediately think of when I say an ‘uncultivated mission field’? Perhaps you’re expecting me to say the largest unreached people groups like Bangladeshi or Japanese people. However, I believe the first President of Princeton Theological Seminary (it used to be the bastion of Confessional Presbyterian though), Archibald Alexander, gives us a fresh—or perhaps ancient—take on missions:
I have taken up an opinion, that all religious impressions made by truth are sal
As I just passed my ordination exam, I'd like to share again one of my answers to certain questions (but this is not my exact answer on the exam). Many of you think that Church History is a boring, useless subject, and is irrelevant to ministry. I thought so coming into Westminster as well! However, as I poured myself into Church History these three years, the past mistakes and debates were so informative to our present debates. The below ordination question was particularly
As I just submitted my ordination exam, I'd like to share again one of my answers to certain questions ( but this is not my exact answer on the exam). Disclaimer: This section comes out of the "Hot Topics" sections--so I assume some of you may disagree with me, but perhaps it would stimulate thought and prayer as you pray for missions. Feel free to give me your thoughts as well!
How should the church relate to the culture of the world? To politics? To social action?
As I approach the submission date of my ordination exam, I'd like to share again some of the questions I was asked and how I answered. Perhaps it would stimulate thought and prayer as you pray for missions.
Should we expect numerical growth in the local church? Why or why not?
Numerical growth is a biblical expectation and desire; however, numerical growth is not a mark of the church.
On one hand, it is clear that God takes pleasure in a large Church. The glorified Chur
No question that Holy Spirit is fundamental; however, what does the Holy Spirit like to use? Is it money? Is it missionaries? Is it seminaries? Is it good books? Is it good preaching? Is it good community? Is it Gospel-centeredness? I think all of these things are important and vital to the advancement of the Gospel. I preached at Columbia OPC to kick of their Missions Week from 1 Peter 3 (listen here) to try to answer the question from another angle. Some of you have heard t
"What is the biblical basis or wisdom in forming denominations?"
This was one of 370 questions I had to answer for my written ordination exam.
This was one of the many questions that helped me hone my own convictions about my faith, my view of the church, and my view of missions.
My gut feeling was "There is no biblical basis!" Then, I thought, "Why am I then in the PCA/MTW?" Most likely, many of you may felt the same way. Often, many reject the concept of denominations