Forum Replies Created
- one of our worker, Hongyun’s ministry is at Kakogawa church. Here is she introduce the church. By the way from March this year she went to Korea for her family member in Korea is very sick. Please pray for her and her family in Korea.
- Please pray that God provides our needs; WEC Japan Headquarter will be set at a new property. Membership Department needs to be set up this year so please pray for all the process.
Here is the church.
Kakogawa, one of local town which an hour away by train from the well known cities of Osaka, Kobe. There is Kagawa Baptist Church , a little away from the city center, where rice paddies and bush trees are set back and forth. Every Sunday, about 350 people from the various age groups of children, youth, young adults, adults, seniors come together for worship service.
As usual, the pastor asked at the end of the service today. “Is there anyone who wants to believe in Jesus, and wants to get baptized?” One lady stepped forward with the guide of the church volunteers. The pastor questioned her. “Do you admit that you are a sinner who lived against God? Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins? Do you believe that Jesus was resurrected in three days after death? Do you want to be baptized and live together as a member of the church?” The lady firmly replied to every question, “Yes”.
Like so, 15 people were baptized through this church last year. The church is still working hard to spread out about Jesus through various evangelistic events, and some new seekers are doing Bible studies for baptism. Japan’s average rate of baptism in 2016 is 1.3%(「Data Book on the Future of Evangelism in Japan」). In fact, the Japanese churches that I worked with before coming Kakogawa had rarely one baptized for several years. In the church where a German missionary had been a pastor about 20years, two long-term attendants decided to get baptize,when the missionary was about to return to his home country. It took more than 10years for those two finally got baptized. But what a surprising that more than 10 baptized arise, not one a year in such spiritual situation in this country, besides in a local areas church.
What brings these fruits? Of course the Lord is doing it. However, we could also see the principle of centering the gospel and lay Christians working together with the ministers for evangelism. Any church in the world, although there are various differences, teaches the gospel-centered discipleship and lives out witnessing the gospel, then the Lord is giving a birth to the new life through them, such an ordinary people, rather weak people in this world.
In Japan, even though the Protestant gospel has been passed for 170years, this country is still called one of the unreached people, even the grave of the missionaries, and still struggling with the rate of Christians less than 1% of the population. The Lord’s churches exist. The Lord has been eagerly working through them. Even today, He is working through those who confess Him as the only true God, the Lord of human being, the only hope, and our Savior of the world, and they fight for His Great commission. It has been already 15years past since I am here as a missionary. Yet, it is still hard to find the opportunity to share the gospel, and I feel easily tired of weak response of people. Despite of all situations I go on in His passion, as our God is working hard, His salvation work has not finished, and the birth of the new life is taking place here in this land.“The Lord All-powerful will do this because of His strong love for His people.”(NCV, Isa9:7).
Please remember us for this land in your prayer. And, we welcome you all to serve His precious people here together for our dear Lord
In a way, my conversion came about through a life and death experience. Before becoming a Christian I was an avowed atheist. In secondary school (high school) I remembered I had many discussions (more like arguments) with my Christian classmates. I did not believe that there is a god or that we need him. Mankind is intelligent, give us time and our sciences will solve the mysteries of the universe, cure all diseases, solved all the social and ecological woes, conquer space and built Utopia. Our potentials are limitless. An indirect encounter with death was what it took to change my mind.
It happened while I was in college. During a long break between semester, three of us from our study group decided we would look for work and to earn some pocket money. We found jobs in a carpet looming factory. One Monday, one of my classmate did not showed up for work. We were not able to call him as it was in the “dark age” before the advent of mobile phones. It wasn’t until that evening that we found out he past away suddenly over the weekend. We were shocked and many thoughts went through my mind. We had lunch together on that Friday before and he was in perfect health. We were young and had our whole life ahead of us. He was a good student, a good person, what happened? Why? Till today, we don’t know the actual cause of his death. Doctors suspect he was bitten by some poisonous.
The incident was a wake up call for me. I began to understand that life is fragile. I began to ask myself, was there more to the meaning of life? I was in shocked, the fear of death and uncertainty of life crept in. I began to understand that in spite of all my arrogance and bravado, mankind had no control over our future. My confidence in mankind’s ability to master one’s life was totally shattered.
One our my study group one member was a Christian and had been trying many times to invite us to church. I had always rejected him but that Sunday after the funeral, I followed him to church. I joint him in Sunday school. The teacher was teaching on prophecies and how many of these had been fulfilled. In particular, I was amazed by the fulfillment of Old Testaments prophecies of Jesus written hundreds and thousands of years ago, His birth, ministry and His death on the cross. After several weeks of Sunday School, my teacher spoke to me about the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross, how my sins that put Him on the cross. I was ready when he asked if I wanted to accept Jesus into my life. And so that’s how I became a follower of Jesus.
Call to mission
After my conversion, I was fairly active in church ministry. I was a Sunday School teacher for several years, joint the Evangelism Committee in our church, participated in outreach activities, served on the church camp committee, served in the church library for many years. I was doing reasonably well in the secular work so I was contented. That changed in the early 2000 not long after we bought a new house. Back then networking companies were making money and I had a good job. I could afford to buy a house. But the burst of the Dot.Com era saw retrenchments and downsizing of many companies. I was one of those affected and I had a deep cut in my income. Paying the house mortgage became a challenge. Yet somehow God helped us with adjustments of our finances and eventually God saw us safely through the difficult period.
As an act of thanksgiving, I resigned from my job to join OM Ship Ministry to sail on the MV Doulos for their 2-month STEP program. Even thought it was just 2 months, many of my friends thought I was mad to do it at my age (I was 54). Many said I will not be able to find a job when I come back. In my mind, God had fulfilled His part and I had to do mine. God proved the critics wrong. The 2-month STEP was a high point of my walk with God. After my STEP, I was able to find an even better job. The job led Susan and I to begin a 3 year journey in China that was the best in our marriage life. But that’s another story for another time.
On the Doulos I was very surprised that there were some 14-15 Japanese Christian youths serving on the Doulos vs just 3 Singaporeans. I remembered asking myself, if there are so few Christians in Japan, then how come there were more Japanese missionaries than Singaporeans. I was very impressed. But it was really in 2015, when we stayed in Japan for 6 months that God really opened my eyes to the great need in Japan for workers to bring the message of Jesus to the people. I began to research about the history of Christianity in Japan. The more I read, the greater the need I saw. I began to wonder if the experience I had on the Doulos and the 3 years in China were God’s preparation for me for ministry in Japan.
We shared our call with our small groups and we began to pray for God’s direction. We prayed for open doors if it is His will and closed doors if it is not. Some may consider that approach for seeking God’s will and direction as naive or too easy. But for me it was not definitely an easy thing to do. It meant that we will still need to do our homework and research. It meant we have to pray and search the scripture for His confirmation. Furthermore, I was not young and I did not have the language skills. Serving in Japan would be a big step of faith for me. Asking God for Opened or Closed door implied that if God closes the door, we need to accept His will as final and moved on. Often there are obstacles that we had to overcome before can confirm if the door was really opened or closed. When He opens the door, the faith and obedience step through even if it is not what we wanted. It required a commitment to trust and obey.
After much research, we narrowed it down to 3 missionary organisations. So in 2017, Susan and I embarked on a 6 weeks Vision trip to Japan to visit these 3 organisations. To learn more about their ministries and how we might or might not fit into them. Then, through a series of open and closed doors, we finally narrowed it down to one, WEC. We submitted our applications to our church and WEC, were accepted. We underwent and completed the WEC Candidate Orientation. We had to overcome several hurdles along the way but eventually passed our medical examinations.
Getting the Certificate of Eligibility and tickets were dramatic. The New Worker Orientation were 2 weeks away but we still have not gotten the COE to apply for our Visa. Tickets for the direct flight to Osaka were running out (it actually ran out but somehow God provided) and we made it by the nose to arrive in Japan the day before the orientation began.
Looking back, Susan and I are glad for all the obstacles and challenges that we had to overcome along the way. We believe that these will serve to remind us when we encounter difficulties during our stay or in ministry that God led us here and He will see us through whatever storms that are ahead of us.
My conversion experience was not dramatic like some others. It was a simple and personal realization of my sinful nature, an encounter with Christ and understanding the price He paid for my sins.
I accepted Christ as my personal saviour in my late teens. A friend invited me to Faith Methodist church and I joint the Sunday School class there. The teacher was teaching from the book of Revelations. She explained about the Rapture, the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ and Judgement. She also explained about the salvation for those who believed and accepted Jesus into their lives, so that their sins would be forgiven and they will receive eternal life. I was convicted and accepted Christ through her teaching. That was 40+ years ago and I have been attending Faith ever since then.
Growth in church life
I continued attending the Sunday School for several years. I had good teachers and I enjoyed Sunday School where we learnt from both the Old and New Testaments on God’s continued desire to have an intimate relationship with His creation and how over and over again we failed Him.
Part of growing in Christ was also in the area of service. Back then, door-door evangelism was still permitted in Singapore. So every Friday we would go knocking on doors in our neighborhood to share the gospel. I continued to be active in ministry, taught in Sunday Schools for several years, served in the church’s Evangelism Committee, Church Camp project committee and eventually left my secular job to work full time in Faith.
Missions in Japan
As a youth I was interested in the Japanese language. I studied the language for a short period of time but I did not have any opportunities to use it so I never became proficient in it. So I was very interested when I heard that Campus Crusade (now called CRU)c was organising a short term mission trip to Japan. That was in 1998. We did tracting and 1-1 sharing to the students at Hitotsubashi University. I came home with renewed interest in the language and went back to study Japanese but work and motherhood took its toll and I stopped after 1 year.
However, my interest in the language did not die, it was just put on hold. In 2014, Larry (knowing my interest in the language) suddenly asked if I had the opportunity to resume studying the language in Japan, would I be interested. Of course. Larry obtained approval from his company to allow him to work remotely from Japan and in 2015, we stayed in Japan for two 3-month periods, (3 months in Kyoto and 3 in Sapporo). I attended Japanese classes while Larry worked from the apartment.
That 6-month period opened our eyes and minds to the great need of the gospel in Japan. We began to pray and seek God’s plans for us in the area on missions in Japan. Which eventually led us to undertake a 1.5 months vision trip in 2017 where we visited 3 missionary organizations, of which WEC was one. We met many missionaries, saw the ministries that they are involved in, gained a deeper understanding of the needs in Japan.
We shared our feelings with our close friends and asked them to pray for us and that God will reveal His will to us. We met with the WEC Singapore Branch leadership, began the application process, was accepted and underwent the Candidate Orientation. We applied with our church for their endorsement and support. They gave us their approval.
There were obstacles along the way but God helped us to overcome them one by one. As each door was opened, we stepped through and worked towards the next. One hurdle after another until now we are here in Japan serving with WEC. I believe that the entire process was also a preparation for us to prep us for our time and ministry in Japan. We are very glad to be part of this ministry with WEC Japan. We thank you WEC Japan for accepting us and for making us part of the family.
“Dear Readers, Greetings from Kyoto, Japan. We have had a lot of ministries like receiving mission teams, visitors and usual ministries last few months. We expect all things glorify His name through our work and lives. Thank you always for your prayers and supports.
Pray for Membership Department would be prepared and led by His provision and strong intercession. Pray for all missionaries health; some are having hard time for some pain. Pray for new missionaries who have been here about 2 years, they need more strength and refreshment from God for settling down and getting to know Japanese people and culture.
This time we updates how Short term worker, Abby spent her 3 months volunteers work in Japan. She worked in Japan on the end of April, till mid of July,2017
She usually stayed in Yamashina area, Kyoto and helped English classes, church ministry, and attended Karate classes and learned Japanese language in a regular bases as well as visited other churches in Nagahama, Kinomoto, Moriyama, Kusatu, Rakusai.
We appreciated her time and effort for helping us.
Here is her story.
What were your expectations?
I expected to be better at my tasks then I actually was. For example, I thought I would do well teaching kids, but it was a lot harder than I thought. I also felt before that it would be easy to make friends and get along, but the differences in language, culture, and personality made it difficult at times.
I didn’t think I would be bored and I definitely wasn’t. There was always something to learn or relearn like how to do laundry, get groceries, take transportation, and even things like how to make a friend.
How was your time?
It was probably the greatest experience of my life –so far. Meeting so many of the missionaries here was so enjoyable. Hearing their life stories, and the Journey God had them on was so inspirational. Just being in Japan sometimes was so overwhelming, because I wanted to come here since I was young. Seeing different kinds of animals and plants; everything felt so fresh and vibrant.
There were many challenges I never had to face before, like cultural differences, communication difficulties, personality clashes, new customs, and learning how to enjoy life. The challenges that came up helped me to grow in ways I never could back in the States.
My favorite times were whenever I could talk or hangout with Japanese people. Even though my Japanese wasn’t the best we still fun conversations, and we were able to relate to each other. I especially enjoyed the Japanese classes I went to. Everyone was so open and willing to share about themselves to help me understand more about the Japanese way of life.
Advice for new stw,Shrot term work?
For new STW I would say be flexible. Many things change and change often so don’t get stressed when everything isn’t going as planned. Remember you’re only here for a short time, while the other missionaries are here to stay. So, go with the flow and don’t let things get to you.
Also try not to have things your way; even if it might seem more efficient or effective. Keep focused on the purpose you came for, and take a step back at times to get a clear perspective, especially when you’re stressed out. Don’t be so worried about making mistakes as well. Time with God will absolutely be your biggest strength in facing anything that comes your way –take it seriously.
Take any chance you get to look around and explore. Go shop, walk by the river, or try out the many cafes around. Find somewhere that you can feel comfortable to escape to now and then.
My last piece of advice is spend time with people. You never know where you can make friends. Don’t be afraid to use whatever Japanese you have. You don’t know how you can change someone’s life forever. Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.