Hallelujah. Praise to the name of the Lord. Happy Resurrection Day of Jesus Christ. During this season, cherry blossom has bloomed and the new fiscal year has started in Japan. We also are reminded of some of the returnees are going through the transition around this season. Let us pray for them. As for April monthly newsletter, we would like to share some report from Setsu Shimizu's trip to the United Kingdom.
London Trip Report
JCFN North America Staff
God loves Japan! God is working in and through overseas ministry to Japanese! That was what I had felt through this trip to London.
I was invited to share about returnees ministry at "Japan Weekend Conference" hosted by Japan Christian Link (JCL). JCL originally known as Japan Evangelical Band was started by Buxton and Wilx in 1903 sending missionaries to Japan for church planting ministry. JBE had planted over 150 churches and began Kansai Bible Seminary. In 1999, as a new era began, JEB changed its name to JCL and renewed their vision to reach out to Japanese in Japan as well as outside of Japan.
At this conference we had over 100 people attending who are in some ways involved in ministry to Japanese. There were British retired missionaries who had served in Japan for many years, to young missionaries who are getting ready to go to Japan. We also had Japanese who recently became a believer while she came to U.K. for working holiday. We even had a visiting scholar who was yet a believer.
In London and vicinity, there are 5-6 Japanese worship services. Most of them are a considered to be a Japanese ministry of a local English speaking church. Even in the area where there is no Japanese worship service, home fellowship and small groups in Japanese are held and there, Japanese believers serve as leaders. Many of them are internationally married or permanent residents. They, too, are a part of a local church.
(At VIP meeting)
I believe the reasons for these local churches to be so committed to Japanese ministries are indeed works of God and their passion for salvation for Japan. Also, there are Japanese Christians who work as 'bridge' builders to bring these passion and desire to reality. I was able to share at two of the main worship services of one of the local churches which have Japanese ministry to represent Christians in Japan to give thanks to God and also to the church for their sacrificial ministries to Japan. I was able to share visions that their ministries to Japanese in London doesn't end there, but go all the way back to Japan for its revival.
(At Ealing Christian Centre)
Japanese people's hearts are opened because they have opportunities to go overseas. They will experience many challenges and blessings upon their return to Japan. Through this trip, God had renewed my passion to serve those who will return to Japan and beyond that they will continue to grow as children of God and walk as ambassadors of Christ.
For four days from March 13th to 16th, we had JCFN's annual joint staff meeting at JCFN North America Headquarters in Irvine, CA. In the fiscal year of 2013, we had a big personnel change. During the meeting, we reflected and reviewed on the passed year, and set a goal to tune in what God entrusts us in both North America and Japan for 2014. We recognize that God's ministry is alive. Please pray that JCFN may be able to continue to respond to God's guidance faithfully. (Written by Nakamura)