In our five months in Japan, the Lord has greatly blessed us, continuously and in various ways – through our families, our faithful supporters, through new Japanese friends, and the CBI community.
One of the biggest blessings in our short time here so far has been visiting various Japanese churches each Sunday. In our first year here, we have committed to do so because our big picture goal in Japan is to help plant churches. In order to do this, we want to know what kinds of churches are in Japan. We have found that visiting existing churches has been invaluable as we learn more about Japanese culture and become better informed about Japanese churches. We hope this experience will help us in the future as we assist and support Japanese church planters.
Before coming to Japan, I heard and knew that Japan is one of the largest unreached people groups in the world. Only 0.5% or less of the population are Christians. I’ve heard how difficult it is to share the gospel and to see people come to believe in Jesus; I’ve heard how missionaries struggle through discouragement and hardship because of the lack of fruit; missions agencies have left this country because of this. I’ve heard of the darkness, hopelessness, and depression that is pervasive.
But each Sunday, as we visit a Japanese church, I see faces of Japanese Christians, young and old, few in number but still faithful; I see pastors preaching Christ and taking care of their sheep; I see Christians in fellowship and community with one another; I see the gospel working in Japan. Yes, no church is perfect; no Christian perfect; flaws and less than ideal circumstances abound, BUT there are Christians in Japan. There are God’s children in Japan. There are evidences of the gospel working in Japan.
These churches are lanterns of hope, specks of light that illuminate a dark sky. When we visit these churches, I am reminded of hope. I am reminded of the power of the gospel for salvation. I am reminded of the presence of the Almighty King, who we serve and who is in control over all things, in Japan.
So please continue to pray for the church in Japan, for Japanese pastors, for Japanese Christians, for seminary students, for ministry workers. It is difficult to be a Christian in this country. Pray for the strengthening of their faith, for the protection of the church, for boldness to share the gospel, for perseverance and steadfastness in living in a culture that counters their faith daily, for the Lord’s continuing work in this country.
Here are photos of some of the churches we’ve visited:
Thanks for reading,
- Praise! Damon’s dissertation work is progressing very well and is on target for written completion by the end of the year.
- Building Relationships: please pray for continued wisdom and guidance in meeting new people and building relationships with women, mothers, seminary students, and others with whom the Lord has brought us in contact.
- Summer: Please pray for good use of our time during our summer break (school starts in September). Aliya has started weekly Japanese lessons; I (YM) needs to homeschool them in English; we hope to spend time with our friends.
- Language Learning: for all four of us!
- Faith and Family: For our faith to increase; to spend time daily with the Lord in his word and prayer; protection of our marriage; wisdom and guidance in parenting; the fear of the Lord to be instilled in Aliya and Mikayla; preaching the gospel to ourselves daily.