Newsletter (Equipper)

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Praise the name of the Lord.

     JCFN's fiscal year ends in June, and the new fiscal year starts in July. For this transition, our monthly newsletter will change! Actually, we’ll cease sending a monthly newsletter, but will start posting news and articles on a brand new “JCFN blog” from July. Please check out the details about the blog at the bottom of this newsletter.

     For the June final monthly newsletter, we’ll share reports and testimonies from GRC18 (Global Returnees Conference) held in Japan in May.

[GRC18 Report]

"GRC18 Report"
Erika Grace Mine
GRC18 Director

     To my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ

     It has almost been 2 months since GRC18. I hope everybody is doing well. After GRC18, I have experienced a big relief, but when I remember all the goodness that God had given us during that time, it makes me want to go back! 

     There were many brothers and sisters from all over the world who prayed for this conference. All those prayers were answered and the conference ended with God’s abundant grace and blessings. I wish I could personally thank each person who prayed for us, but I would like to use this opportunity to say it now, THANK YOU!!

     At GRC18, we brought new things into the program. We added Hula Worship as one of our workshops, we asked the artists who glorify God through their own art and had an art gallery at the lobby, and we also had creative scripture readings before the plenary messages. These ideas come through my call and desire to worship God. I started feeling like God has called me to worship ministry once I got back to Japan three years ago. Therefore, I started going to graduate school to learn more about worship services. To take intensive classes, I go to Florida once a year. There, we have many worship services. One morning, a man read scripture without any script and with his heart. This is not a nice way to say it, but it was just a reading from scripture but I could not stop crying. I felt the living power of God through his scripture reading. That made me think that we should read the living word of God like it has life. That was the beginning of having the dream of doing a creative scripture reading. To start new ideas were not easy. There were many sacrifices and effort from other directors and creative volunteers. I really want to thank them for giving God the glory He deserves through their creative minds that God has given them. It was truly amazing and I was able to experience the living God through the living Word. Many people that came to GRC18 commented that they were blessed by it. I want to thank God for what He has shown us through this experience. 

     This year’s theme was “Dwell~ The Lord Will Live Among Us~” Directors and I prayed that everybody would know and experience that God does live among us every single day. Life of faith is not easy, but how much can we feel courage, peace, and love if we experience that He lives among us everyday? For me, this conference helped me to realize that I don’t have to carry a heavy burden when I DWELL with the Lord. 

Zechariah 2:10-11 (NIV)
10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 11“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.

     When thinking, praying, planning, and using ample time for something, naturally, the mind starts envisioning and imagining. I believed God would be in control of this conference and thought that I should be like David when he killed Goliath; having 100% faith in his victory but still picking up five stones to prepare for battle. All I had to do is to have complete faith that God was in control of everything but I had to do my part in do everything I could to prepare. However, once the conference started, I realized that whenever something did not go the way I envisioned, I started to feel worried. Through conversations with the JCFN staff and prayer, I realized that I was holding onto this conference and was not letting it go for God to be in control. When I realized that, I went to God, asked God to change my heart, and rededicated this conference to Him. After the prayer I felt a big burden was off my shoulders and peace that is hard to describe engulfed me. If I was able to give it all up to God from the beginning, I did not have to go through these worries, but I think it was His grace that allowed me to experience how it feels like to DWELL in Him and allow Him to be in control of my life once again.

     Even though each person has a very different life, I truly believe that God has spoken to us individually at the conference. GRC18 was full of His blessing, but I do not want everyone to finish with “Yeah, GRC18 was great” because I believe the important part comes after the conference. I continue to pray for all of you. I pray that you will know and experience that God DWELLS with everyone of us and that when we live in His love, we can be His Kingdom ambassadors. I am encouraged by the GRC attendee facebook page. I am so happy! I would love to continue to see people encouraging and praying for one another in their ministry and celebrating together about all that God is doing that is new! There may be many people that you did not get the chance to talk to at the conference, but we are still none the less family of God. SO please do encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ through commenting and liking their posts. I know by experience that the small act of love encourages others!

     Thank you for those who have sent us your testimonies from GRC18. I have been blessed by them. Thank you so much!! Our God DWELLS among us! AMEN!! Although our next GRC is in three years, let us be connected continually! 

     Again, thank you for joining us at GRC18. Thank you for those who prayed for our conference. Please continue to pray for JCFN, returnees, and those who are still on the journey to meet God overseas.

     I pray to see everybody again soon!

All glory to God,

GRC18 Director
Erika Grace Mine

[GRC18 Testimony]

“Rediscovering My Calling”
Akana Nakamura

     I was saved during a short-term study abroad in Canada and returned home about two years ago. God spoke to me this year in January, and since April I’m going to seminary while working full time.

     Even though I sought God’s guidance before applying to seminary, studying while also working was far more difficult than I imagined. I would lose track of time and my walk before the Lord began to wane. Meanwhile, I began having doubts about whether or not I was hasty in going to seminary, about whether or not I mistook the desires God gave me, and about the future. I was very troubled, and I came to the GRC meeting place, imploring God that if that calling was really of Him, please speak to me again here at GRC.

     God answered my prayer during the general meeting at night on the second day.

     The desire I got from God before going to seminary was like this.

     The Gospel of Luke depicts Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. When He saw Jerusalem, Jesus wept and lamented. Afterwards, He cleansed the temple. The “temple” mentioned here is the human heart. When I read this passage, Jesus entered my wreck of a heart that was devastated by sin and hurt. He began teaching me and rebuilt my heart. Because of this, I wanted to help God rebuild and heal the hearts of the broken.

     During the message on the second night, there was a slideshow with before-and-after pictures of ruined church buildings that were abandoned during construction. The instant I saw the pictures, I immediately felt like God was visually showing me what He previously showed me in the Gospel of Luke. I got goosebumps and started crying. God spoke to me directly, as if saying “this is what I want you to do.” That day, Rev. Shibusawa’s message was about how God’s word doesn’t fade. That day, I was fully convinced that the calling and desire I received from God to heal and rebuild others with His unfading word was not a mistake.

     Everyone, not just non-believers, has in their hearts rooms that are ruined, rooms that are decaying, and rooms that are closed shut. I regained the desire to do the work of fixing the broken rooms of broken people through the truth of God’s word.

     Also, even though I still have such crumbled rooms inside me, through the fellowship during the small group time, I was able to take the first step in surrendering to God the places inside me that I wanted to give up to God. Through this, I felt God’s love and was greatly blessed through the small group.

     I still don’t know exactly what kind of ministry I can do in the future, but I pray that I will never forget the calling that God showed me here at GRC.

[GRC18 Testimony]

“Attending GRC18”
Ayaka Omine

    I attended GRC18 this year because my older sister persuaded me to do so.  In my childhood, I lived in Canada, but I do not remember much about my time there,  and I was not saved there. When I became a college student, I left my hometown, and my sister invited me to a church located in the neighborhood. I attended the church just because my sister and her husband came to pick me up at my house. I was drowsy during the service because the explanations of the Bible were difficult for me to understand and I was so tired from my daily life. Hence, I did not want to spend the Golden Week holidays attending the conference.

     I at first intended to decline my sister’s invitation to GRC because it would be expensive, but I decided to attend since my parents and sister convinced me by saying that I might be able to get a scholarship. “Let’s go together. It will be a good opportunity for you. Just go!”

     So I attended the conference, and was very impressed by the fellowship with faithful Christians of my generation. I had a really wonderful time through all the activities of sharing, worshiping, listening to messages, and repentance. I will never forget the freshness in my heart I experienced at night of the third day. I was filled with the sense that my sins were forgiven and God’s love flew over to me. It was the first time for me to have that kind of experience.

     Since GRC, I am receiving God’s words every day by listening to and singing the worship songs I sang in the conference. Even now, a while after the conference, I am still be able to appreciate God, pray, and rejoice every day because of God’s love that I received at the conference!

     I purchased a Bible of the newest Japanese translation at the conference, and I will be serving in the church by reading Bible verses! Thank you Lord!! I am willing to pray for staying together with God! I very much appreciate for this wonderful conference!! Thank you so much!!

From Monthly Newsletter to BLOG!
As it is announced at the beginning of this newsletter, we’ll cease sending a monthly newsletter, but will start posting news and articles on a brand new “JCFN blog” from July. Thank you for reading our newsletter, and from July please enjoy our news and articles at JCFN Blog page. Also, we are hoping to send out event announcement e-mail monthly.
If you have any requests on blog, please feel free to conact us!

↓↓ Click here for JCFN Blog ↓↓
(It hasn't been updated yet...)

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If you are already a supporting member, we will contact you for renewal shortly in July.
If you are willing to support JCFN ministry with annual support offering of $30 (3,000 yen), you are it!
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Let's go to Urbana18!

End of this year, there will be Urbana, where JCFN was born.
(NO Equipper Conference this year.)

December 27 - 31, 2018
St. Louis, MO
host by InterVarsity

Registration with super early bird rate will end on June 30th.
If you are an international students, attend "Global Students Track."
If you have any questions regarding registration or Japanese translation, please contact JCFN.

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.