Hallelujah! Praise to the name of the Lord!
During this season, especially in the United States school year has finished, and there are more returnees both temporarily back and for long-term. This month, we would like to share a testimony of one the returnees. Please check a report from Kanto small groups.
"Testimony as an returnee"
JCFN Tokyo Member
I am thankful from the bottom of my heart to be able to share my testimony to those whom are returning to Japan at ec14. I am able to testify that the suffering that I had to experience was for me to share my trials and suffering at ec14.I can attest that the suffering that I have faced should not be experienced through anybody within the body of Christ.
I pray that in order for me to share my Testimony, it will encourage those whom will be returning back to Japan
I have finished my study-abroad on February 2011 and returned to Japan. I was an international student in California, met Jesus and became a Christian and it was my first time returning to Japan as a Christian. Before returning to Japan, I was able to attend ec10, attended workshops for returnee and I was on fire to be an evangelist in Japan.
However, returning to Japan I was a church-refugee, as many Christian returnees have experienced. I went to several churches in the neighborhood but many times the churches treated me as a guest; would not notice if I was there or not, would not bother to greet me, or will ask me to be involved in a ministry when it was my first time attending the church which left a bad aftertaste of church. I was also the first in the family to become a Christian so I thought that not going to church would not be a good testimony to my family. But I was caught in a limbo of where I didn't want to go to church, but I do want to go but I don't know which church to attend. So I resulted in pretend to go to church in front of my family and took walks around the park and I return home and would lie that I went to church. I felt miserable and I don't want any of the returnees to face my experience.
How did I continue to connect with God even in my state of mind? It was through my JCFN small group. I went to the Small group in Shinjuku every Thursday. I was able to transition smoothly to this small group because I have contacted her before returning to Japan.
Although I was not able to find a church, I was able to meet with Christians every week and was able to share and pray. I was not able to retain my faith without this time. Also, I was able to have an accountability partner through this small group. Through a set time, with the same sex, I was able to have an accountablility partner which we were able to share and pray together. While the accountability parter term has ended, we are still able to be accountibility partner for over three years. Our relation as an accountability partner is to encourage each other and also to point out if we are doing something to wrong. I was able to maintain my faith through friends like this.
Also I was able to find a church nine month after I returned to Japan. To be honest, as a church refugee, I was tired of looking for a church and there was a time that I didn't go to church and a time when I went to church out of habit. But one Sunday after a church service the Holy Spirit convicted me that "I was not suppose to stay in this state." I had a friend who continued to invite me to church even when I turned her down, but because of her, I was able to go to a church she invited me. Looking back, I know that God was at work.
I am currently attending a small church named Life church in Mitaka.The Church has open it's doors four years ago and the congregation is small but it is a really good church. I know there are many returnees that haven't found a church in Japan yet. I believe that you need to be aggressive in order to grow in faith in Japan oppose to living overseas.It is easy to fall away from Christ so I encourage you to be persistence in the time of fun, a time when you cannot find a church, a time when you are not able to go to church, you have people that are going through a similar situation. And please don't condemn yourself in times of trials. There will be a time when all will be well through the God, leading of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ that have gave it all.
* This testimony was shared at the seminar during equipper conference 14. SakI made some modifications after ec14.
Kanto Small Groups
JCFN Associate Staff
(Small Group Coordinator)
It has been ten years since JCFN started small groups in Kanto. As a result of ec14, this year a group was born in Kamata as well as two in Chiba (in one of these, Chiba residents are gathering in Shinjuku). There are currently 11 groups holding gatherings in Kanto. Most of the original members are no longer participating, as many have grown in their faith and for various reasons, such as devoting themselves to serving at their churches, have moved on from the group. Among these, some did not connect to a church after returning to Japan, but continue to attend a small group and be connected to a Christian community; others, being encouraged, are connected to a church. There is a leaders meeting once every three months where small group leaders share about how their groups are doing, discuss various issues, and encourage one another. As they are fellow leaders, able to understand each other's struggles, this is in and of itself a small group. The groups are coordinating with each other, and a system is gradually being established for returnee follow-up. Please continue to pray that these small groups would be used to follow up with returnees.
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