Newsletter (Equipper)

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Happy New Year
Setsu Shimizu
North America Director

“Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, ‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” (1 Chronicles 4:10)

     It has been already for a month since the new year begun.  How are you doing?

     Equipper Conference, which began 20 years ago this year, took place at the end of last year, from December 27 through January 1. This was the 15th EC. Together with about 370 participants, we received great blessings and great challenges through this conference. This year’s theme was “Freedom.” Through the book of Exodus, we learned that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, and how we might live that freedom for the Lord. The messages from the plenary sessions are already available on the EC home page, and we will be uploading the workshop audio soon as well. We hope it will be helpful to you.

     When looking back on this year, we feel strongly that God was speaking to us. At the BBWIT leadership camp in Japan, we were made to consider what JCFN’s main pursuit, returnee follow-up, is. And through the change in the attendees at EC, we experienced the reduced number of exchange students and the reality of short-term study abroad students, the spread of local staff, and more. We are sensing God inviting us into the next step of JCFN’s ministry.

     As the Scripture passage above says, our prayer is for God to richly bless the ministry of JCFN and enlarge our hearts for the territory of this work. We pray from our hearts that the way we live would be a response to this.

     The ministry of JCFN is for those who encountered Jesus overseas and then went home to continue to grow as disciples of Christ and live joyfully, whether in Japan or somewhere else in the world. For that reason, we use various methods to prepare returnees before they go home, as well as ways to follow up with them after they return. That ministry is happening because of the cooperation of each of you, as well as churches and other Christian organizations. In this new year, 2018, we hope that you will continue to pray for and support us.

Report of Equipper Conference 17
Marian Mine
EC16 & 17 Director

     My dear brothers and sisters,

     Close to three weeks have flown by since we rang in the near year at EC! I hope you are doing well.

     There are no words to express my gratitude for all the people around the world who prayed for EC. Through Facebook Live, we had over 2,000 people joining us in receiving God’s Word and blessings at each plenary session. Many people expressed to us how even through the screen, they felt the Spirit was freely working in the place and that they also experienced freedom and healing. I praise God that whatever happened at EC did not just stay on the grounds of EC, but God allowed us to share the blessings with brothers and sisters across the States, Japan, and around the world.

     This year’s theme was “Freedom~Living the freedom in Christ.” As a committee team, our prayer is that this will remain to ring out as a theme in our individual lives.

     II Corinthians 3:17
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

     In the sanctuary and all throughout the campus grounds, we experienced the Lord’s Spirit working. There was an amazing unity in the Spirit among our five messengers who preached the Word at the conference. Our sincere gratitude is due to Dr. Naoto Kamano, who led our Bible expositions; Pastor Yuichiro Inatomi for the evening sermons; Pastor Shinji Seki for evening sermons as well as the sermon in the men’s meeting; Setsu Shimizu for her sermon during our Praise and Prayer Hour (PPH); and Megumi Awano for her sermon at the women’s meeting.  

     On the first night, Pastor Seki shared that to claim freedom is to love. We began the conference with a powerful message that, through Christ, we can love in a way that restores the image that we were originally created in, and that we were made to be loved. The next morning, Dr. Kamano confronted us with the truth that we must admit that our old selves feel more comfortable to remain as slaves and that we need to acknowledge that only God can free us, and He has already done that through Christ. Pastor Inatomi shared with us about the time when his taste in fashion slowly transformed into his wife’s and explained that when the Spirit works, we receive God’s heart, which makes us want what God wants. Setsu preached about the boy who shared his five loaves of bread and two fish, which he “happened” to have at that time, and God used to perform a big miracle. She spoke on how we can live our calling when we respond to God’s voice with whatever small things we have in our hands at any moment. At different times and in various ways, all the messengers spoke on the truth that God can work in great ways through us, as long as we are faithful to God’s calling in our lives, are in loving relationships with Jesus, and are moved by the Spirit. These amazing Words from God were freely preached and were planted in our hearts, all thanks to the amazing and spirit-led worship team, prayer team, media team, and skit team, as well as all the other volunteers who contributed to the making of our worship services. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!

     Although I was so excited that the Holy Spirit was at work, I was also convicted that we put limits to all the wonders that God want to perform within and amongst us, and that may be a reflection on the spiritual reality of Japan as well. There is so much more that God wants to do in our hearts, but it is hard for us to be completely open to let the Spirit work through and through. Without the Spirit working in us, we are not even able to receive God’s plan and vision that surpass our imagination. “Living the freedom in Christ” might in fact be our goal for the rest of our lives, until we come face to face with our heavenly Father one day. With this goal in mind, until I see Him face to face, I would like to pray for Japan’s salvation and freedom, as well as to witness and testify God’s many wonders along with my fellow brothers and sister.

     All that said, wasn’t EC fun??! I honestly sometimes wish I could go back. However, even if I have to miss EC occasionally, I never have to miss God. Just like “Buruzon Manja” was saying, “God is with you, wherever you go!” (If you don’t know the comedian, ブルゾンちえみ, check out the youtube video, as a part of learning how Japanese people laugh at the most ridiculous things.) The Lord is always longing to have our hearts. In the Spirit, let us continue to seek God at the “molecular level” and walk our faith life, loving Jesus in our spirits. Please take the time to contact your small group members to encourage and share with them. Perhaps as a part of your quiet time, you could look through the program pamphlet and notes from EC to let God speak to you anew. The Lord desires for us to continue to live and experience deeper freedom. I hope we can all join each other in opening our hearts and to have faith that welcomes the Holy Spirit in our everyday lives.

     To God be the glory!

Winter Fundraiser

This winter, both North America office and Japan office are asking for winter fundraiser. Please pray for the all needs to be met.

North America Office
Our goal for this Winter is $20,000, including $7,000 for the EC17 Scholarship Fund. Others are for staff recruitment, development for new ministries, administration, and supplementing the shortage of the staff support fund. (North America office winter fundraiser letter)

Japan Office
From November to January, there will be a Winter Fundraiser held in JCFN Japan. This time, we are praying for $15,000 for the Administration fund, Winter bonus for staff, and GRC18: Global Returnees Conference Scholarship fund. (Japan office winter fundraiser letter. Japanese only.)

GRC18: Global Returnees Conference
May 2 - 5, 2018

@ Hotel Evergreen Fuji (Yamanashi)
Theme: Dwell ~The Lord will live among us~
Theme verse: “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,”declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.
Main Speakers: Rev. Kenichi Shibusawa, Rev. Aogu Tateyama, Rev. Kazuhiko Yamazaki-Ransom

Online Registration
Click HERE
* Early Bird Registration is until Feb 15.*

Looking for a Japanese/English Translation Volunteer

Many of JCFN’s publications will be in bilingual format. Please, If you wish to improve your translation skill, or in the future prepare for a translation job, please contact JCFN. We have native speaker to check the translations, so don’t worry.

Join in Annual JCFN Supporting Member
The term of this membership is from July to June no matter which month you submitted the application.
If you are willing to support JCFN ministry with annual support offering of $30 (3,000 yen), you are it!
Please take this opportunity to join in the annual supporting member!!

Click here for supporting membership renewal announcement!

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