Newsletter (Equipper)
It's already been a month and a half since Equipper Conference ended. We trust that everyone who attended is continuing in the theme of "Rise and Go" by dedicating themselves to God's work wherever they are.

This month, we will be sending out testimonies of people who attended EC. We hope that, through these testimonies, those who attended EC will be reminded once again of what they received from God there, and those who didn't attend to be able to share in what God has done.

 
For the conference plenary sessions video and pictures, click HERE
God Gives Us the Best
Yuma Inagaki

The first time I attended EC was in 2014. At that time, I served in the Seekers track, and was blessed by the experience way beyond what I had expected. I was very thankful that at EC16, I was given the opportunity to serve as director in the same program, and even during preparations, I was really excited to see what God was going to do.

However, as if to smash all of those expectations, the program went in a direction very different than I had imagined. In this year's Seekers program, God gave us a record 27 attendees. This is something to be thankful for, but because there were more people than expected, we didn't have enough leaders, and I was desperately recruiting up until the last minute. But the Lord helped me, and just one day before EC began, all of the needs were met. At last I felt like I could look forward to EC. I felt pretty good about things.

However, my joy was brief. Just as EC was about to begin, some of my leaders who had been helping with preparations began to cancel their attendance to EC one after another. I felt disappointed. Even though they had been praying for the Seekers program with me all this time, why did God let this happen? I started to have feelings of doubt. And then we were starting EC short on leaders. The things I had been excited about, I now felt worry and guilty about. Even so, our God, who is rich in mercy, fulfilled all of my needs through to the end.

Through EC, God showed me that even those problems were part of His best plan. Many new leaders were brought in, and the small groups that ended up coming together were really, really good. From the first day on, the leaders and members opened up their hearts in their small groups, and I saw their relationships deepen each day. It helped that a lot of this year's attendees were open and curious, and they were able to talk to their leaders about their doubts. The leaders even gave up sleep as they faithfully shared about Jesus.

At this EC, we focused on making all of the content—sessions, Bible study, meetings, etc.— relatively easy for the seekers to learn. They seemed to absorb a lot. God worked in a variety of ways, and I rejoiced to see people getting closer to salvation each day.

As the end of the program approached, God showed me amazing things. I saw people crying during sessions, and one after another I witnessed people make the decision to accept Jesus as their Savior. God turned problems into gain, and in the end He saved many of the attendees. I have never felt so much joy before.

When I look back, even when there were problems, I can see that God was with me all along, and that He was working for what was best. During EC, things went differently than I had imagined, and I had trouble reconciling my expectations with reality. However, what was important to me was not the program running along according to my plans. I realized that God's ways are higher than my ways, and it is important to respond to God's desires first. No matter the situation, God's plans are the best, and it is important to live faithfully to His heart. I was reminded of all of these things during this EC.

 
A lot of people prayed for me and supported me. Thank you so much for all of your help.
 
Coming to EC for the first time
Maki Oishi

I came to this EC, my first, with my husband and two children. I would like to share three things God did for me through EC.

The first is that God reminded me of how it feels to come to faith for the first time. More than 300 people came to EC, the majority of them being young people in their twenties. These are people who came to faith in America and will return to Japan soon. As for myself, I came to America when I was 22, read the Bible for the first time, and became a Christian. It's been more than ten years since then, but when I listened to people sharing their testimonies with open hearts and shared in my small group, God reminded me of the things He has done in my life.

The second thing is that God searched inside of me and encouraged me. Before going to EC, all I could think about was my kids, and my sick father in Japan. This year's theme was “Rise and Go in the victorious name of Jesus,” but at the beginning of EC, it seemed too big for me, being consumed with what was right in front of me. However, through the daily meetings and devotionals, God helped me to face the problems within myself first. The parable of the Good Samaritan from the meeting on the fourth day especially stuck with me.

Until then, I had been in panic mode every day. I had decided on my priorities, and I was always thinking about how God could help me out most efficiently. However, through that Bible passage, God helped me to realize that He wants me to be a good neighbor to someone more than He wants me to be efficient or perfect. When the fifth day ended, I was surprised at how excited I felt to “Rise and Go.”

Thirdly, God reconfirmed in me where I am and what I can do for others through the returnee seminar. I am not planning to return to Japan permanently in the near future. But, every time I go back, I stop reading my Bible, and I get a taste of how difficult it is to lead a life of faith in Japan. I learned these three practical things at the seminar. 1. Look for a church before going back to Japan. 2. Find the things that make you feel uncomfortable in your relationship with your family who does not come to faith. 3. Build a network where people can encourage each other. God strengthened my desire to use what I have learned here in America to support people who are going back to Japan.

Lastly, I was so thankful for the child care during every meeting and workshop. The kids also had the theme of standing up for Christ. They learned from Psalm 23, and enjoyed worship and crafts. Enjoying a lively New Years countdown with all the older boys and girls has become a special memory for my 8-year-old son.

I am sincerely thankful for the chance I had to get away from normal life for a little bit.

 
 
Returnee Workbook for business people and family

The long-awaited new version of the returnee handbook for business people is here! In addition to information about how to prepare for reverse culture shock, it has information about working in Japanese companies, issues relating to returnee kids, child rearing, Japanese churches, etc. We hope that it will be useful for you to prepare to be witnesses for Christ in Japan. Orders and questions can be directed to the JCFN offices in North America or Japan.  
Japan: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  North America: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
Join in Annual JCFN Supporting Member
 
The term of this membership is from July to June no matter which month you submitted the application.
If you are willing to support JCFN ministry with annual support offering of $30 (3,000 yen), you are it!
Please take this opportunity to join in the annual supporting member!!

↓↓ Sign up for JCFN Supporting Membership!! ↓↓

Join in JCFN Supporting Membership!!!
 
Winter Special Fundraiser Japan Office Financial Report

Thank you for your participation for Japan office Winter Special Fundraiser.

Japan Office Final Report
734,500 yen
73.5% of the targeting amount (1,000,000 yen) was achieved.

 
Re-entry Seminar Video (Intro + 4 sessions) is now available on-line (Japanese only). Please use it for re-entry preparation. Clicking the image above, you can watch the introduction. All videos are available at JCFN website.
 
Second Level Mentor-ship Conference

Theme: "Walking Together as Imitators of God and Children of Light"

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8)

Date:June 2nd - 4th, 2017
Place:Calvin Center 13550, Woolsey Road Hampton, GA 30228
Speaker:Rev. Ken Milhous

For more information Click HERE.

 

Date: March 18th to 20th, 2017
Place: Shigaraki Christ Church
845-2, Nagano, Shigaraki-cho, Koga-city, Shiga 529-1851

Speaker:Rev. Nobuyuki Uchimura (Japanese Christian Church in Milano)
Rev. Atsushi Saito (Kukazawa Church, United Church of Christ in Japan)
Rev. Masataka Tanabe(Okutama Gospel Christian Church)

Detail information:Click HERE.
Please pray and join!