Newsletter (Equipper)

   Hallelujah! We praise the name of the Lord.

     For September monthly newsletter, we'd like to share testimonies from BBWIT (Bridge Builders' Whatever It Takes) leadership training camp held in Japan. For BBWIT17, we had a mission team from Woodlands Evangelical Free Church in Singapore visited and support the camp. Please enjoy sharings from both one of the attendees and one of the mission team members.

Testimony of BBWIT17 attendee
Community for those we haven’t met
Kazune Yamada
Core member of Inspireuion (a.k.a. INSPA), returnee ministry in Tokai region

     One of the things that left an impression of me of the things I learned at BBWIT is the importance of continuing to talk about the vision. We easily forget or lose sight of our vision, and so it is important for us as leaders to keep sight of the vision with passion and continue to talk to those we lead about it. I came to BBWIT from INSPA, a returnees gathering in the Tokai region, and both during and after the conference I kept thinking about what INSPA’s vision is. The one thought that kept coming to me was that INSPA is not only a community for the people that actually attend our meetings, but also for those who are going to be returning in Japan in the future, people we have never met. Sometimes we get preoccupied with running our ministries, or maybe we find ourselves focusing on our regular members, or the returnees we have received information about. However, as we pray and continue to think about it, the idea of being a community that exists for the sake of people we haven’t met yet will grow in our minds. I have this picture in my heart of being a place where we would warmly welcome returnees in, saying, “We’ve never met, but we’ve been waiting for you! We’ve been praying for you for so long!”

     In Acts 16, Paul receives a vision of a man from Macedonia begging him to cross the ocean and come. I think that we at INSPA are also called for the sake of people we’ve never met. Our ministry may be small, but even so, we will pray, meet, and encourage each other for the sake of returnees we’ve never met. Please pray that we would continue to hold that vision, to tell each other that vision, and be passionate in the way we respond to people.

     Thank you to the staff members who planned BBWIT, the team that came all the way from Singapore and gave us so much encouragement, everyone who gathered together from all over Japan, and especially my fellow INSPA members who saw fit to send me to this conference.

Testimony of BBWIT17 Singapore Team
One day at summer camp
Daniel Wong
Woodlands Evangelical Free Church
     We checked into the camp on a late, hot Sunday afternoon. Just over 24 hours later, we were going our separate ways. But in the short time that our Singapore team spent at the BBWIT conference, we found ourselves warmly welcomed by our new Japanese family of believers.

     Language, we found, was no barrier to our new friendships (mostly because many of the JCFN members are comfortable using English), whether it was in ordinary conversation during dinner time or as part of the discussions. We may have been the new faces among a group of people who have known each other for years, but the hospitality extended by the JCFN leaders to us meant we never felt like outsiders.

     And when Pastors Ivan and Louis taught what they knew about vision casting, re-entry issues and mentoring techniques, we tried to see how we might have been able to encourage and help the JCFN leaders reach out to the Christian returnees in their areas of ministry.

     But what we soon realised was that we were the ones being encouraged through the lives and testimonies of those we were meeting.

     We saw a hunger and fervour for God and His kingdom among the JCFN leaders, despite being in a country where there are not many Christians, and where being different can be a disadvantage.

     We saw the unity of the Church, in the gathering of these Japanese young adults - from different parts of Japan, different churches, different walks and seasons of life - brought together by a common desire to boldly live out their calling as Christ’s disciples, and fuelled by a passion to help others do the same.

     We heard, through testimonies, of how God ministered and restored brokenness and disappointments, and sensed His delight and watchfulness over each of them.

     We saw service and self-sacrifice, of people who willingly gave up their time and money to travel to the conference, and then to serve their fellow believers so that they could spend more time with God and each other.

     We saw the joy of the Lord as we worshipped together. And while we may not have understood all the lyrics, we were struck by the passion the JCFN leaders displayed and the deep longing they had for Jesus to be an even deeper part of their lives.

     We heard the struggles and setbacks that many of the JCFN leaders were facing. But far from being discouraged, we saw how God breathed strength into them, spurring them to find new ways of ministering to other Christians.

     We saw a group of dedicated leaders, who were looking to use whatever they had at their disposal to spread the word of God, instead of worrying about a lack or resources or complaining about how difficult it was.

     We gained a deeper appreciation of the challenges the JCFN leaders faced in their responsibilities, and of their faithfulness in taking up their roles.

     We saw God weaving new relationships together and renewing old ones, and saw that God is the Bridge-builder working among His people as they build their own bridges to honour Him.

     We are grateful that we were a part of this ministry, if only for a very, very short time. Grateful for the sharing of bread (actually, curry rice) and of testimonies. Grateful that in some way, we could be an encouragement, and that we in turn were challenged to use what God has granted us in Singapore to do more of His work.  

     And we can all be sure that God surely has a special place for the Japanese in His heart and longs to see many more encounter Him and know Him personally.

     But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4: 7-9

The Singapore team: Angeline, Daniel, Emily, Eunice, Louis, Jason, Ivan and Renata

ERF Retreat

Date:November 3-4, 2017
Location: Karuizawa

Hosted by ERF (European Returnees' Fellowship)

Facebook event page 

Online Registration is now available.
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equipper conference 17

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Date: December 27, 2017 - January 1, 2018
Location: Murrieta Hot Springs Christian Conference Center
Theme: “Freedom”: Living the Freedom in Christ
Theme verse: 2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
Speaker: Rev. Naoto Kamano, Rev. Shinji Seki, Rev. Yuichiro Inatomi

GRC18: Global Returnees Conference
May 2 - 5, 2018
@ Hotel Evergreen Fuji (Yamanashi)
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