Now, we are heading into Passion Week, and we will celebrate Easter next Sunday. May it be the week to remember the cross and celebrate and give thanks for the resurrection.
JCFN's monthly newsletter for March is the ministry report from Michigan.
"Michigan Is Calling Me"
North American Japanese Outreach
(Missionary in Michigan)
1) I was planning to go back to Japan after 2 years but...
I was sent to Michigan with my wife as a short term missionary in 2010 and originally planned to return to Japan after two years. There were about 10,000 Japanese families who worked at Japanese companies in Michigan. The people had very open hearts toward the gospel and were interested in studying the bible. I was very surprised at first because many Japanese don't like to hear about "religion." Since there were many people interested in studying the bible, our bible study expanded into ten groups in different locations. Also, the Japanese worship service at which I preached expanded to four different locations all across Michigan.
2) Many Japanese are saved
Last year, we had to choose whether to return to Japan after our two years were up, or to stay in the Michigan. After seeing that so many Japanese people were being saved and baptized, we were confident that our work was to be here in the states.
3) The Three Miracles From God
After we chose to remain in Michigan, God preformed three miracles for us. First, we were able to get our green cards right away. Second, He supplied our missionary funds right away. Third, my pastoral license for the states was issued instantly. We were in awe of God's greatness.
4) After leaving Japan...
Many Japanese start to open up their hearts to the gospel after they leave "the Japanese society" and start their life in "the Midwestern society." Prior to their stay in the United States, they would never have thought that they would open up a bible or hear God's word. God's plan was to isolate the Japanese families from the Japanese society and to lead them to a place where there is financial fulfillment and a rich society. Families usually live in the states for about four years and although husbands are still busy with work, house wives have plenty of time to reflect on themselves, study the bible, and to discover God.
5) How to Spread The Gospel in The Midwest
An effective tool in missionary work across the midwest is to do video bible studies via Skype. Seekers or Christians in big cities who are able to attend Japanese Worship Services are extremely blessed but that opportunity is very rare. Most Seekers or Christians must attend English Worship Services. Therefore, these families and individuals need support in their native language. In order to support these families, we teach the families about the basics of the gospel and train them to be disciples, all in their native language. Through our fellowship over Skype, we support the Japanese so that they can connect to the local church and will be able to connect and serve at a local church in the future after they return to Japan. Of course, just communicating through Skype is not enough. We still meet in person time to time to have fellowship, as this is an important aspect of evangelism. It is important for these families and individuals to be rooted in the areas of: 1) security of salvation, 2) education and growth in the knowledge of the bible, 3) training in discipleship, (so they can eventually start their own) 4) home bible studies. Supporting and discipling the Japanese requires much work, but I envision that through this process, families will eventually be able to start their own home bible studies wherever they are located. This is what our missionary work looks like in a place with limited Japanese pastors and limited Japanese fellowship but I would like to keep up the good work and would like to continue as this ministry develops over the long-term.