A Table of Content
2014 JCFN Board Meeting Report
JCFN Ministry Report "Returnees are the salt of the earth."
JCFN Staff Update
Report from Japan
Report from North America
Testimony of JCFN Internship
New Membership System "Supporting Membership" is now Launching!
Bible Lesson from Tomikichi's Cartoon
To JCFN Supporters in Japan and All Over The World,
With sincere gratitude for your faithful prayers and support, we send you report of our annual board meeting.
The report consists of four main items:
1) Convening of GRC (Global Returnees Conference) 2015.
2) Establishing a headquarter in both Japan and North America with its own director (operation enhancement).
3) Board member revisions and installment of auditor (board structure and audit function enhancement).
4) Expectations for financial stability.
We revisited JCFN's main purpose as an organization to minister to Japanese in North America and follow-up for returnees in Japan. From that stand point, it was decided to conduct "Global Returnees Conference 2015 (a conference for returnees from all over the world)" in September 20th to 23rd in 2015 at Lake Kawaguchi Evergreen Fuji.
There have been requests for a conference that caters to people who are returning to Japan from all over the world and provide follow-up and support for the issues they face. Our hope is to utilize this event to respond to such requests, help returnees network in various areas of Japan and Japanese local churches, and also to fulfill the needs in Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake. We wished to reflect the transnational/trans-ethnic intercommunication of people through the naming as well. Therefore, we decided upon "Global Returnees Conference."
2) Regional Directors in Japan and North America.
JCFN first began when a few Japanese students networked at Urbana Conference in 1990. In its 20-year history, the ever-growing importance of Japanese ministry in North America and returnee ministry in Japan is ever so clear.
In order to enhance the activities and administrative operation in Japan and North American with each region's unique characteristics, we discontinued the system with an International Director at the end of fiscal year 2013, and instead transitioned to having a headquarter both in North America and Japan with its own regional director. The Japan and North American directors will each take turns as Staff Coordinator as well. As for the financial accounts, we will continue to manage it as a consolidated account.
3) Board Member Revisions and Installment of Auditor
A board member revision and an auditor was chosen:
(Kokubunji Baptist Church, Pastor)
(Seiseki Megumi Christ Church, Pastor)
(Tachikawa Evangelical Free Church, Pastor)
(New) Ryuichi Yamazaki
(Former KGK General Secretary, Ochanomizu Christian Center Board Member)
(Carefree Clearwater, Ltd, President)
(Ph.D.in Psychology, Translator)
(Yamaha Canada Music, Former President)
(OMF International, Missionary)
(Japanese Christian Church of New Jersey, Pastor)
(New) Yoko Iwai
(Toronto Mission Branch of Koiwa Christ Church, Evangelist)
(New) Eliya Onoe
(Ohara Graduate School of Accounting, Assistant Professor)
4) Financial Support
In order to strengthen the current staff's financial status, we would like to increase the frequency of visitations. We appreciate the support such meetings. We are also working on staff consultations by the superintend board members.
The operational expenses (costs for ordinary JCFN activities/administrative operation) are also increasing with the growth of the ministry. We sincerely appreciate the continuous support from each of you.
We pray blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ upon all who are reading this letter.
Thank you for your prayer for JCFN ministry in 2013. We are also thankful for your various support at each of your locations to join us in the work of building God's kingdom through JCFN.
During the Equipper Conference at the end of 2013, we learned together with the participants to respond to the work, which God has entrusted to us, and to be an influential force in our environment with the theme "SALT + LIGHT ~ Blossom where you're sawn."
"You are the salt of the earth."
During 2013 JCFN month of prayer, we wrote that "returnees are the salt of the earth." The impact salt provides is significant. A few grains can change the outcome of a dish and stimulate the palate of the eaters. These small salt crystals are also very strong; a few grains of salt on a flat surface can support a salt shaker at an angle (see the photo). Like a grain of salt that can have an impact on its surroundings despite its small size, returnees can also be influential in their environment. Just as the user of salt needs to be conscious of the power of salt and the existence of the strength in its grain, people surrounding returnees need to be aware of returnees strength, and also for returnees themselves to always be consciously taking advantage of the strength they are given. It is our prayer that JCFN will be used for such advocacy.
Continuing from 2013, into 2014, we are working with three staff members in North America, and two staff members in Japan. Machiko Saito (Miki), North American staff, got married in May. Chihiro Nakamura, Japane Director is also being led to get engaged in September, and has changed her two year limited term in Japan to continuing her work in Japan from April 2015 on. As stated in the board meeting report, some of the former associate staff joined as board members. Also a new associate staff was added in Japan in partnership with another organization. In the new fiscal year, the three associate staff in the North America and two associate staff in Japan will be working together with us for returnee follow-up. In Japan, a part time administrative staff member joined us in October and is still continuing her work.
We will proceed with our returnee ministry in 2014 with JCFN's goal for the year "To expand and deepen the circle of co-workers," the North American goal being "To know and respond to expanding needs," and Japanese goal being "To connect and expand through prayers." We will convene the Equipper Conference in December in the North America, and Global Returnees Conference in September 2015 in Japan. Please pray that in 2014 we can faithfully work on each ministry God has entrusted with us.
Japan Director, Interim Staff Coordinator
My first fiscal year in Japan is done. For the first half of the year, I mostly spent time rebuilding the Japan office administrative system. For the remainder of the year, it was the time to remember the importance of welcoming returnees and connecting them to regions within Japan, since I had attended ec from Japan for the first time. I have become the director of GRC15 to be held in Japan in September 2015, and will be considering on the fundamentals of returnee follow-up ministry for the fiscal year of 2014. Also, I will be formally engaged September 2014 and married February 2015. With the many changes, I will continue serving the JCFN ministry in Japan for awhile. I desire is rely on the Lord as I go through these changes.
1) For GRC15 preparation for that I may be in tune with the heart of the Lord.
2) For interactions with returnees; especially for connections with regional returnee ministries.
3) For preparation for marriage so that we may walk as tasting and seeing God's goodness.
Chihiro's Blog: http://chofu.ch/cbc/blog/missionary_chihiro/
North America Director
Thank you so much for your prayer and support! It is hard to believe, but has been 20 years since I began working as JCFN staff! I'm the one who is most surprised by this, but what a privilege to be able to serve God in such a fun ministry! Because I am with young people, people think I am younger than I am, which also is a blessing! Circumstances change, but the Lord's work is moving forward! After 20 years, many who pass through JCFN, married, had children and are active believers in the workplace and in the church. That's my joy! As North America Director, it is my prayer to see God build the Michigan Network, youth ministries, and others, along with what God has already been doing.
1) That God will be the sole wisdom and power to move JCFN and that my experiences won't get in His way.
2) This is the 20 year mark for my ministry. Pray for me to enjoy an intimate and deep relationship with God.
3) Together with my husband, we are a part of the core team for a church plant. Please pray for blessings on this exciting ministry!
North America Staff
I wear three hats as a wife, mother and missionary. Since my youngest daughter turned three, my life seems more settled. Meanwhile, I've been involved ministering to business people and families and I felt God's leading to edit a Returnee Workbook for them. I continue Bible studies with ladies and host a Mommy & Me class for outreach. This year's resolution is to read more books and take time to think. I'd like to have an "unhurried life" so that my relationship with God is strengthened.
1) For balance of family and ministry life.
2) To be daily nurtured by the Word, prayer, and led by the Holy Spirit.
3) God's guidance and help as I write and edit the Returnee Workbook for business people and families.
Yuko's Blog: http://fffyuko.exblog.jp/
North America Office Staff
Thank you always for your prayer and support. It's been three years since I started to work at JCFN. I'm starting the second year of a second term. This year was like preparation for a new start; I got married, applied for a green card, and other things. As time goes by working at JCFN, I sometimes question why I'm here doing what I'm doing. Looking back as I did last year, I can see that every single experience was carefully orchestrated by God and also that He loves me and is guiding me and is with me. For the next year, my hope is to keep responding to God daily, continue to seek God, and have faith in Him as I walk a new journey.
1) That I will live a life in Christ and choose what God delights daily, that the relationship between God and I will be enriched and that I will be used as God's vessel to serve others.
2) That I can faithfully serve God in the ministries He has put me in in the way He wants me to.
3) That everyone will follow God, be transformed, and continue to build one another up so God's work will be expanded in Japan and in the world.
It's been more than 10 years since I returned to Japan. My time with JCFN in Japan has become double the length time that I was with JCFN in the US. I realize when I look back I've experienced many things and received the support and prayer of many people. My wife and I were given two new lives in last 10 years and we are privileged to raise these three precious lives. I hope and pray that I may continue to serve the Lord through both the ministry and in my family.
1) For my wife and I may continue to grow our children in the Lord.
2) That God will continue to mold me as a useful vessel in the Japan ministry.
3) That I can be an encouragement to both returnees and any soul that I come in contact with.
North America Associate Staff (OR)
It was great blessings for me to be able to be involved again Equipper Conference as an adviser. I learned the importance this ministry from a different perspective than the previous Equipper Conference when I was a chief director. Once again I feel that God is leading us into local ministry. It's big surprise that God has opened the door In November 2013 to be involved in a new church plant in Portland. I pray that I can apply what I had learned from many years of network ministry and serve locally with global mindset.
1) To serve with wisdom in all areas, family, work and ministry.
2) Direction how to do ministry in current local situation.
3) Blessings on the new church plant in Portland.
North America Associate Staff (San Diego, CA)
In the past year, my involvement with international student ministries has changed since my daughter was born. I could no longer do as much as I used to in ministry, and I felt sad and even guilty for that. Then one of my Christian friends led me to realize that I was falling into the temptation of seeking approval from God and men through my ministry activity. Today, I'm not completely free from such temptation, but I believe God is at work in me. I'm thankful for that. I have hope in God's power to change me, and by God's grace, I'm still able to host a Japanese Bible study group at my home. I'm thankful for my husband's understanding toward the ministry and help from other leaders.
1) Wisdom for good balance between ministry and family
2) Health of my family
3) To understand the Bible better and to build a stronger relationship with God.
Emiko's Blog: http://emikokawakami.wordpress.com
North America Associate Staff (MI)
Last year we had the opportunity to get involved with retreats in the Midwest, such as Central Conference and C-WIT as a couple. I worked in partnership with local ministries, which mainly focus on expat Japanese families and their kids' program. In January, we found out that I'm pregnant with our third baby, so my pregnancy life alongside my care for my 2 & 4 year old sons, God has so richly provided support when and where I needed it. I'm very thankful for the blessing filled year and feel I was the one who has been nurtured the most through my connection with these ministries. This year I would like to prayerfully seek ways to serve, while balancing being a wife and mother to three.
1) Protection for the birth of our new baby girl in September.
2) Wisdom and guidance for the future ministry involvement.
3) To be able to be nurtured and rely on the Word daily, even in the hectic life situations.
Japan Associate Staff (SG)
Through participation in ec13, I was able to connect with many students returning to Japan, as well as others who return temporarily for summer vacation. I was able to connect with other participants from Japan and am very grateful that we, as a team, were able to follow up on returnees this year. Even within my church, young adults in the college student ministry are also working to help me support returnees. Once every three months, small group hosts in the Kanto area meet to reaffirm our vision, currently nine groups meet weekly. Through the ec-reunion, I'm also able to spend time with and pray with those who are unable to attend church. Through this I've reaffirmed my calling and rediscovered my heart for returnees.
1) That I may be able to continue having my quiet time daily, connect with and draw closer to God.
2) That small groups in the Kanto area may continue to increase in number and continue growing.
3) That I may be filled with wisdom as I continue serving in my ministry.
Japan Associate Staff (Kanto)
I've been in my new assignment with TEAM since May 2011, and since June 2014 in partnership with TEAM and JCFN have become associate staff. I enjoy working alongside the members of the JCFN Kanto Regional Meeting Core and Returnees in Kanagawa Core. As we work together in trust and unity the Lord blesses our efforts. I look forward to what God will do as I meet new contacts. I hope to catch up with returnee housewives when their time is more flexible in the summer. I've been filling in for another missionary in at a Japanese church and look forward to returning to Musashino Chapel Center (MCC) in August. In the fall, I hope to do a short Bible study for newcomers to MCC. This may be a bilingual class.
1) Connections with Returnee moms.
2) Fall Bible Study at MCC.
3) Growth of Mitaka SG.
Our work in 2013 begun with two staff and the rebuilding of office operation. God answered our prayer and a new part time administrative staff joined us from October. Also, in an effort to create a comfortable environment for returnees to stop by, we started "Ocha Lunch," in which we open the office to the public every Thursday during lunch time. It's a casual time to bring lunch, eat, and talk together, while listening to the stories of returnees' walks after coming back to Japan and supplicating for these returnees.
Local framework to receive returnees is essential for returnee follow-up in Japan. There are three returnee gatherings in the Southern Kanto area (RIS: Saitama, JCFN Kanto meeting: Tokyo, RIK: Kanagawa), where there are many returnees, and each group had two meetings in 2013. I visited Kansai (ANR Kansai), Tokai (INSPA), and Tohoku (RIM) and their meetings and retreats and was able to see how these meetings provide opportunities for newly returned people to get connected with others. One challenge is the transitioning of core members due to their life stage changes, which makes the continuous running of local meetings difficult. Some need wisdom in sharing the vision, while others need simple encouragement. With the hope to offer some support, a few of us from Southern Kanto returnee meetings visited RIT in Tochigi. We experienced the importance of different local areas learning each other's needs and helping one another. It is our prayer for local groups to gain encouragement and momentum with GRC15, which will take place next fall.
In addition, in October there was the One Day Conference with JCFN Japan initiative to provide useful seminars for returnees, and the EC reunion in June. We are hoping these conferences will be regular annual events and that they will be utilized for returnees' encouragement and support.
(1) For local returnee meetings' core members' succession and encouragement.
(2) For preparation for GRC15.
(3) For new regional associate staff.
Reported by Chihiro Nakamura
People ask us whether we provide follow-up to non-students. Of course we do!
JCFN provides follow up not only from North America to Japan, but from anywhere in the world back to Japan. We also provide follow-ups to non-Japanese people as well. Our target is Japanese returnees, but providing care for those individuals moving between Japan and other countries is a part of our mission.
We primarily do discipleship training to Japanese people in North America before they return to Japan. WIT Leadership Camp, Central Conference, JxJ Outreach, ec14 and others are locations where we provide practical settings to train leaders and do discipleship. These are planned and executed mainly by future returnees and their being involved in the preparation for these ministries is the best way to receive training.
Also, we value our network with international student ministries and other church and mission organizations reaching out to Japanese. One of them, we recently had introduced to you, is the Michigan Network. The local churches are reaching out to businessmen's wives with Gospel through English, cooking and other classes. These seeds sown will continue to grow in Japan. We want to be a part of this network.
(1) ec14 or WIT is planned and carried out by leaders. Many of them return to Japan, therefore, we constantly are in need of next year's leadership. Please pray that God will raise up leaders for WIT, ec, and other ministries.
(2) Please pray for more workers. We need more staff and associate staff.
(3) Please pray for the development of the network of Michigan and Aichi.
Reported by Setsu Shimizu
Going to a school in the U.S.— God used this decision for something greater than I could ever imagine. I came to the U.S. without knowing anything about the Bible and Jesus; you could even say that I had a negative attitude towards them. However, the first thing that God provided for me was a roommate who loved Jesus from her heart. Through our time living together, she became a truly great friend of mine. Since then, God continued to show Himself and His love to me through many opportunities and meetings with people — He was so patient with me. It had been over five years since I moved in with that first roommate before I realized that I have "sin" in my heart and that I cannot do anything to be free from the bondage of sin. It was at that point I decided to accept Jesus and was baptized.
After that, God provided me an opportunity for me to study at a Bible college. However at this point I started to notice a large struggle within myself. Since I became a Christian and began to study the Bible everything has been in English. Every part of my relationship with God, such as reading the Bible and even my prayer was in English. One day I noticed that I had a very difficult time sharing about God in Japanese, and at the same time I started to feel unstable with a foundation of myself, my identity. I wanted to talk to a Japanese Christian about this struggle, and the first people who came into my mind were the JCFN staff members whom I had met miraculously at a meeting in Urbana a couple years ago. Through this opportunity, I started to learn about JCFN and their work, which made me think that their ministry and what they were doing was something that I needed at this point in my life. We prayed together, and I was led to this opportunity — the internship with JCFN.
During the two month internship with JCFN, I had many experiences that I had never had before. I started reading and learning about the Bible in Japanese. I learned how to and started to pray in Japanese. I even had the opportunity to prepare and lead a one-on-one Bible study with Christian and non-Christian Japanese friends - in Japanese. I also got to attend WIT, several retreats and conferences, events, and even Bible studies at home. Throughout this time I faced many challenging situations that made me re-think and admit the weaknesses and imperfections of myself. I also learned that the merciful Father has chose to love a person like me, accepted me, and chooses to use me for His glory. What I learned through the internship with JCFN will be important for every step and stage of my life. Finally, I would like to say that I am very thankful that God gave me this opportunity, for the staff members who taught me and treated me with truth and love, for each one of my friends whom I was blessed enough to meet during my time here, and for the brothers and sisters in Christ who supported me through prayer even from far away. Thank you.
Thank you very much for your patience. Sign up for our new membership system, "Supporting Membership," is now available online!
In addition to the current mailing list (the "regular membership"), we have recently added a new way to support JCFN, the "supporting membership" team! We hope that the supporting membership team will partner with JCFN in a new way by pledging 30 dollars (or 3000 yen) annually. Your donations will be used to support the operation of JCFN and also to provide returnee support kits (the cost of each kit is about $10).
Please see below for the details and directions on how to sign-up for the 'Supporting Membership' team!
["Supporting Membership" Details]
● Duration: July to June (12 months)
● Renewal: Every year in June, we will send out a reminder for you to renew your membership via e-mail. Your membership is renewed upon receipt of your contribution.
● Discontinuation: If you choose to not renew your membership during the renewal period, your membership as a supporting member will be discontinued. From that point you will be regarded as a "former supporting member," which is the same status as regular membership.
[Contribution and Pledge Amount]
● Pledge Amount: $30 annually (3,000 yen)
● Optional offering (voluntary): In addition to the pledge amount, you can make an optional (voluntary) offering at the same time. The amount is determined by the giver.
● How to send your pledge: credit card (in dollars), personal check (North America), postal transfer (Japan)
● Your contribution and optional offering (voluntary) in the U.S. is tax deductible.
[How to sign up for "Supporting Membershi"']
● For those who already have regular membership:
Visit the link (https://www.jcfn.org/db/profpmap.php), log in to your account, check your account information, and follow the instructions to send your pledge.
● For those who are not a regular member:
Visit the link (https://www.jcfn.org/db/signup.php), register for the regular membership, and then follow the instructions for regular members above.