Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord.
Although it's not long since we sent out the May newsletter. We are sending out the June issue. The second registration deadline for GRC15: Global Returnees Conference (Yamanishi-ken) is on June 15th!, and we want to remind you about this great opportunity to sign up for GRC15. The newsletter includes messages from one of the main speakers and planning committee members. We also share with you a report from the student ministry called "Pneuma" which takes place in Chicago, IL. Also we would like to remind you of the first deadline for Urbana15 registration. The Urbana Missions Conference (Saint Louis, MO) is the gathering where JCFN was born 25 years ago.
"To Go On Their Way Rejoicing"
Rev Akihiro Matsumoto
Singapore JCF Pastor
GRC15 Main Speaker
I had been pastoring a church in Sapporo since March 2005, but just as Philip was told in Acts 8:26 to "go south," I received the call to "go to Southeast Asia," and so my family and I arrived in Jakarta that April.
At first I wasn't sure what God wanted me to do, but my eyes were gradually opened to the importance of evangelism to Japanese living overseas. I felt this way after meeting many Japanese who, like the Ethiopian eunuch, were earnestly seeking God. My time is limited, but in the same way that Philip and the eunuch studied the Bible together in the chariot, I study the Bible together with the Japanese that I meet in Jakarta, and those who believed in Jesus have been baptized. They will soon "[go] on [their] way (to Japan) rejoicing" (8:39).
At that time, the passage Luke 5:7 was given to me. When Peter, on Jesus' order, rowed out into the deep water and caught so many fish that it seemed that his net would break, his companions came in their boat to help him, pulling the net up together. This made me understand that, in evangelism to Japanese living overseas, if we do not pull our net in together with Japanese churches, we will allow fish to escape.
After pastoring a church in Jakarta for just under seven years and being freed from child-rearing, we went out as "Birds of Passage," and for one year visited and spoke in Japanese churches without pastors in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. During that time, we received an invitation from a Japanese church in Singapore where we stayed to help for three months, and I have been working as their pastor since March of the year before last.
At GRC15, I am looking forward to discussing and praying together about the increasingly important ministry to Japanese living overseas, as well as building an even stronger network.
Born 1961 in Asahikawa, a region in Hokkaido known for Ayako Miura. His father's job required many transfers, and the number of elementary schools attended were 6, including those in Hokkaido, Aichi, and Gifu prefectures. Looking back now, it was preparation for missions. When a junior in high school, his elder sister invited him to an English conversation class taught by missionaries in Kushiro. Shortly thereafter, made a confession of faith and After receiving baptism, went to Aomori prefecture to attend university in Hirosaki. Later worked as a teacher at Sapporo Seiryou High school for 4 years. Attracted by the café outreach ministry, became a member of the Church of Twelve Apostles, a church part of the United Church of Christ in Japan denomination. During that time, married his wife Masako. Taught English to OMF missionaries for a little over a year, and was encouraged by one of the missionaries to attend the ACTS seminary in Korea. After graduation, returned to his home church and joined the pastoral team of the church. 6 years later, made the decision to enroll in Western seminary in Michigan after nearly burning out. Upon graduation, returned once again to the home church and served as head pastor for 6 years. In 2005, was called to Southeast Asia and after receiving 4 months of training at the Discipleship Training Centre in Singapore, became the pastor of JCF Jakarta. In 2012, with the children out of the home, spent about a year traveling and visiting unpastored churches in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia calling themselves the "migratory couple". Became pastor of JCF Singapore in March 2013. Two sons, ages 27 and 22, are living in Sapporo and Michigan.
＊ GRC15 Announcement ＊
Please apply for scholarship!
GRC15 registration is now available online. Also, God is beginning to provide the scholarship fund. You can apply on the scholarship when you register online. Please don't let the finances the reasons for not coming.
You can also give to GRC Scholarship Fund by clicking here.
[Regional Ministry Report]
JCFN Member in IL
We are privileged and thankful to God for this opportunity to share with you the amazing work that is happening in Chicago today.
"Pneuma" is a Japanese Student Outreach Ministry that happens once a month in Chicago, IL. We rent a room in Moody Bible Institute that is located in downtown, Chicago. From 5 to 9p.m. we have Japanese food together, games, worship time, testimonies, prayer, Bible study, and small groups. Currently, Japanese speaking Moody students and American students who have a heart for Japan are serving together to share the gospel to Japanese non-Christians.
Every month for the Bible study, we pick a different topic and study it from the perspective of the Scripture. We make it a point to communicate His Word in their mother tongue, Japanese, so that when they do hear the gospel for the first time, they will understand better. Also, in the small groups, we have a time when each individual can share their thoughts and opinions freely.
The purpose of this ministry is for Japanese to meet Christ, and to walk in faith with Him, and to be changed into one who shares the gospel with others. We also hope that Pneuma will be community that each individual will experience Christ love, to feel safe and excepted for who they are during their time here.
This ministry started four years ago when a Japanese non- Christian attended a Japanese small group at Moody Bible Institute. God opened the eyes to see that there are Japanese lost souls that He cares dearly for in this city, in a city that is said to have very few Japanese population. God challenged and said, "Will you stand up for this one lost soul?" The next year, March 3rd, 2012, the first Pneuma outreach was held by God's grace.
The first time I joined Pneuma was a half a year later when I started school at Moody Bible Institute. The first Pneuma for me, I remember sensing the overflowing Spirit's working and a open communication that was built on the trust of the Christians and non-Christians. It touched me to see that Pneuma was a place where non-Christians could feel safe enough to ask questions such as "What does the Bible say?" or "Who are Christians?"
I've been serving for the past two years now, but the biggest blessing has been being able to see non-Christians knowing and experiencing Christ's love little by little. People who have never read the Scripture, reading His Word for the first time, praying to God for the very first time, and hearing the gospel, which leads the lost to salvation, for their first time in their lives, being there by their side at that precious moment has been an honor and the biggest joy for me.
Most non-Christians who come are here as an exchanged student or for traveling. There is a very limited time here in Chicago for them. Although, the seed has been sowed, many go back to Japan without making a confessing of faith. It is a challenge to follow up after they have gone back to Japan, but we know that God still loves them wherever they are. We pray earnestly, that we will see them come to Christ and that the day we worship the King of kings will come soon. Thank you for allowing us to share His work with you. God bless.
1. For salvation of the Japanese non-Christians.
2. That God will lead new non-Christians to Pneuma.
3. That God will provide Japanese speakers serve in this ministry.
JCFN Member in Utah
This year is an Urbana year. Urbana is a 5-day missions conference held every three years where college students in North American and all across the globe come together. There, students learn about God and His mission through inductive Bible studies, worship services, and seminars. In 2012, more than 16,000 students gathered in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A. and were sent out to the world after having life-changing experiences. For me, Urbana12 was an experience that I will never forget. Urbana was more than what I expected. There, God challenged me and made me dig deep within myself.
One of the things that God was asking me was if I was ready to follow Him in everything. When I thought about that question, I couldn't say "Yes". I knew how hard it was to die to myself and put God first. As I thought about that, God taught me the importance of daily obedience. Our Christian life isn't over when we say yes to God and get saved. Even after our conversion, we have to keep saying yes' day after day. Yes, it can be hard to lose everything for Jesus but God is mighty and He is worth losing everything for. Knowing that, I was given a desire to trust in Him and obey Him daily, even in the little things.
Another thing that God showed me was the importance of evangelism. In this world, there are so many people who still need to hear the Gospel and there is no time for me to waste by staying in my comfort zone. People might make fun of us and there will be times where we struggle as Christians but even if we have to take risks, we must share the Gospel with others.
I was transformed by Jesus a few years back but I didn't share my faith much. I cared too much about what others thought of me and was scared to talk about Jesus. I would often say that I would wait until "I know the Bible" or receive training in evangelism. Yes, those things are helpful, but I can't use that as excuses for not sharing the Gospel. The truth is, God has already given everything I need to share the Gospel. I am equipped because He has instilled in me His spirit and His Spirit is enough. I realized that by trusting in His Spirit, I was able to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
It has been two and a half years since then. I became a Bible study leader, mentor and starting in August, I will be working as an InterVarsity staff worker doing campus ministry. I would have never imagined two and a half years ago that I would become the person I am today. Although Urbana wasn't the only place God has spoken to me, I can say that what I learned at Urbana has had a big impact on my Christian journey.
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