Resources
Praise the name of the Lord.

     JCFN's fiscal year ends in June, and the new fiscal year starts in July. For this transition, our monthly newsletter will change! Actually, we’ll cease sending a monthly newsletter, but will start posting news and articles on a brand new “JCFN blog” from July. Please check out the details about the blog at the bottom of this newsletter.

     For the June final monthly newsletter, we’ll share reports and testimonies from GRC18 (Global Returnees Conference) held in Japan in May.

 
[GRC18 Report]

"GRC18 Report"
Erika Grace Mine
GRC18 Director

 
     To my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ

     It has almost been 2 months since GRC18. I hope everybody is doing well. After GRC18, I have experienced a big relief, but when I remember all the goodness that God had given us during that time, it makes me want to go back! 

     There were many brothers and sisters from all over the world who prayed for this conference. All those prayers were answered and the conference ended with God’s abundant grace and blessings. I wish I could personally thank each person who prayed for us, but I would like to use this opportunity to say it now, THANK YOU!!

     At GRC18, we brought new things into the program. We added Hula Worship as one of our workshops, we asked the artists who glorify God through their own art and had an art gallery at the lobby, and we also had creative scripture readings before the plenary messages. These ideas come through my call and desire to worship God. I started feeling like God has called me to worship ministry once I got back to Japan three years ago. Therefore, I started going to graduate school to learn more about worship services. To take intensive classes, I go to Florida once a year. There, we have many worship services. One morning, a man read scripture without any script and with his heart. This is not a nice way to say it, but it was just a reading from scripture but I could not stop crying. I felt the living power of God through his scripture reading. That made me think that we should read the living word of God like it has life. That was the beginning of having the dream of doing a creative scripture reading. To start new ideas were not easy. There were many sacrifices and effort from other directors and creative volunteers. I really want to thank them for giving God the glory He deserves through their creative minds that God has given them. It was truly amazing and I was able to experience the living God through the living Word. Many people that came to GRC18 commented that they were blessed by it. I want to thank God for what He has shown us through this experience. 

     This year’s theme was “Dwell~ The Lord Will Live Among Us~” Directors and I prayed that everybody would know and experience that God does live among us every single day. Life of faith is not easy, but how much can we feel courage, peace, and love if we experience that He lives among us everyday? For me, this conference helped me to realize that I don’t have to carry a heavy burden when I DWELL with the Lord. 
 

Zechariah 2:10-11 (NIV)
10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord. 11“Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.

     When thinking, praying, planning, and using ample time for something, naturally, the mind starts envisioning and imagining. I believed God would be in control of this conference and thought that I should be like David when he killed Goliath; having 100% faith in his victory but still picking up five stones to prepare for battle. All I had to do is to have complete faith that God was in control of everything but I had to do my part in do everything I could to prepare. However, once the conference started, I realized that whenever something did not go the way I envisioned, I started to feel worried. Through conversations with the JCFN staff and prayer, I realized that I was holding onto this conference and was not letting it go for God to be in control. When I realized that, I went to God, asked God to change my heart, and rededicated this conference to Him. After the prayer I felt a big burden was off my shoulders and peace that is hard to describe engulfed me. If I was able to give it all up to God from the beginning, I did not have to go through these worries, but I think it was His grace that allowed me to experience how it feels like to DWELL in Him and allow Him to be in control of my life once again.

     Even though each person has a very different life, I truly believe that God has spoken to us individually at the conference. GRC18 was full of His blessing, but I do not want everyone to finish with “Yeah, GRC18 was great” because I believe the important part comes after the conference. I continue to pray for all of you. I pray that you will know and experience that God DWELLS with everyone of us and that when we live in His love, we can be His Kingdom ambassadors. I am encouraged by the GRC attendee facebook page. I am so happy! I would love to continue to see people encouraging and praying for one another in their ministry and celebrating together about all that God is doing that is new! There may be many people that you did not get the chance to talk to at the conference, but we are still none the less family of God. SO please do encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ through commenting and liking their posts. I know by experience that the small act of love encourages others!

     Thank you for those who have sent us your testimonies from GRC18. I have been blessed by them. Thank you so much!! Our God DWELLS among us! AMEN!! Although our next GRC is in three years, let us be connected continually! 

     Again, thank you for joining us at GRC18. Thank you for those who prayed for our conference. Please continue to pray for JCFN, returnees, and those who are still on the journey to meet God overseas.

     I pray to see everybody again soon!

All glory to God,

GRC18 Director
Erika Grace Mine

 
[GRC18 Testimony]

“Rediscovering My Calling”
Akana Nakamura

     I was saved during a short-term study abroad in Canada and returned home about two years ago. God spoke to me this year in January, and since April I’m going to seminary while working full time.

     Even though I sought God’s guidance before applying to seminary, studying while also working was far more difficult than I imagined. I would lose track of time and my walk before the Lord began to wane. Meanwhile, I began having doubts about whether or not I was hasty in going to seminary, about whether or not I mistook the desires God gave me, and about the future. I was very troubled, and I came to the GRC meeting place, imploring God that if that calling was really of Him, please speak to me again here at GRC.

     God answered my prayer during the general meeting at night on the second day.

     The desire I got from God before going to seminary was like this.

     The Gospel of Luke depicts Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. When He saw Jerusalem, Jesus wept and lamented. Afterwards, He cleansed the temple. The “temple” mentioned here is the human heart. When I read this passage, Jesus entered my wreck of a heart that was devastated by sin and hurt. He began teaching me and rebuilt my heart. Because of this, I wanted to help God rebuild and heal the hearts of the broken.

     During the message on the second night, there was a slideshow with before-and-after pictures of ruined church buildings that were abandoned during construction. The instant I saw the pictures, I immediately felt like God was visually showing me what He previously showed me in the Gospel of Luke. I got goosebumps and started crying. God spoke to me directly, as if saying “this is what I want you to do.” That day, Rev. Shibusawa’s message was about how God’s word doesn’t fade. That day, I was fully convinced that the calling and desire I received from God to heal and rebuild others with His unfading word was not a mistake.

     Everyone, not just non-believers, has in their hearts rooms that are ruined, rooms that are decaying, and rooms that are closed shut. I regained the desire to do the work of fixing the broken rooms of broken people through the truth of God’s word.

     Also, even though I still have such crumbled rooms inside me, through the fellowship during the small group time, I was able to take the first step in surrendering to God the places inside me that I wanted to give up to God. Through this, I felt God’s love and was greatly blessed through the small group.

     I still don’t know exactly what kind of ministry I can do in the future, but I pray that I will never forget the calling that God showed me here at GRC.

[GRC18 Testimony]

“Attending GRC18”
Ayaka Omine

    I attended GRC18 this year because my older sister persuaded me to do so.  In my childhood, I lived in Canada, but I do not remember much about my time there,  and I was not saved there. When I became a college student, I left my hometown, and my sister invited me to a church located in the neighborhood. I attended the church just because my sister and her husband came to pick me up at my house. I was drowsy during the service because the explanations of the Bible were difficult for me to understand and I was so tired from my daily life. Hence, I did not want to spend the Golden Week holidays attending the conference.

     I at first intended to decline my sister’s invitation to GRC because it would be expensive, but I decided to attend since my parents and sister convinced me by saying that I might be able to get a scholarship. “Let’s go together. It will be a good opportunity for you. Just go!”

     So I attended the conference, and was very impressed by the fellowship with faithful Christians of my generation. I had a really wonderful time through all the activities of sharing, worshiping, listening to messages, and repentance. I will never forget the freshness in my heart I experienced at night of the third day. I was filled with the sense that my sins were forgiven and God’s love flew over to me. It was the first time for me to have that kind of experience.

     Since GRC, I am receiving God’s words every day by listening to and singing the worship songs I sang in the conference. Even now, a while after the conference, I am still be able to appreciate God, pray, and rejoice every day because of God’s love that I received at the conference!

     I purchased a Bible of the newest Japanese translation at the conference, and I will be serving in the church by reading Bible verses! Thank you Lord!! I am willing to pray for staying together with God! I very much appreciate for this wonderful conference!! Thank you so much!!

 
From Monthly Newsletter to BLOG!
 
As it is announced at the beginning of this newsletter, we’ll cease sending a monthly newsletter, but will start posting news and articles on a brand new “JCFN blog” from July. Thank you for reading our newsletter, and from July please enjoy our news and articles at JCFN Blog page. Also, we are hoping to send out event announcement e-mail monthly.
If you have any requests on blog, please feel free to conact us!

↓↓ Click here for JCFN Blog ↓↓
(It hasn't been updated yet...)

JCFN Blog
 
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 already a supporting member, we will contact you for renewal shortly in July.
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!!!
 
Let's go to Urbana18!

End of this year, there will be Urbana, where JCFN was born.
(NO Equipper Conference this year.)

December 27 - 31, 2018
St. Louis, MO
host by InterVarsity

Registration with super early bird rate will end on June 30th.
If you are an international students, attend "Global Students Track."
If you have any questions regarding registration or Japanese translation, please contact JCFN.

www.urbana.org

 
 
Looking for a Japanese/English Translation Volunteer

Many of JCFN’s publications will be in bilingual format. Please, If you wish to improve your translation skill, or in the future prepare for a translation job, please contact JCFN. We have native speaker to check the translations, so don’t worry.

Praise the name of the Lord!

     It is less than 2 months until GRC18: Global Returnees Conference held in Japan. For March monthly newsletter, we would like to share an expectation for the conference from Rev. Kazuhiko Yamazaki-Ransom, one of the main speakers.
     Also we would like to share the workshop "Holy Discontent" held at EC17.

 
[Expectation for GRC18]

Our Identity Together with Christ: Expectations for GRC18
Kazuhiko Yamazaki-Ransom
GRC18 Main Speaker

     Greetings, everyone! My name is Kazuhiko Yamazaki-Ransom, and I will be leading the Bible exposition sessions at GRC18.

     The “Ransom” in my name is not my middle name, but is a part of my family name, “Yamazaki-Ransom.”My wife is American, and her maiden name is Ransom, so we combined our family names when we got married. We did so in the hope of creating a new culture in Christ by merging our Japanese and American cultures. Since then, both of us as well as our 3 children have been living out our new identity, that of belonging to the Yamazaki-Ransom family.

     Many of you who will participate in GRC have lived abroad. As returnees, you may have experienced many identity changes, even if you didn’t change your name. You acquired the identity of “foreigner” and “ethnic minority” overseas, and the identity of “returnee” after coming back to Japan… you are no longer the same old you before you went abroad.

     Above all, many of you experienced a huge change in your identity when you became a Christian while living abroad. You have been changed to know for the first time the God who created heaven and earth, and the love of Jesus Christ who died for you on the cross. You have been changed to live for Him. This is indeed a great, joyful change! You were no longer the same person when you came back to Japan. You were born again as children of God (John 1:13; 2 Cor. 5:17; 1 Pet. 1:3). While still living in the world, you now possess citizenship in heaven (Phil. 3:20).

     On the other hand, however, sometimes when you change your identity, you face hardships.

     When you are changed, your view of the world changes.  The way the world looks at you also changes. I became a Christian in Japan, but I nevertheless experienced various struggles during my 6-year stay in the U.S. I am also aware of the difficulties many returnee Christians face when they come back to Japan, such as the pressures from a non-Christian society and the sense of not fitting in at Japanese churches. Many of you who attend GRC may have experienced such problems.

     If those are your concerns, I urge you to turn your eyes to Jesus Christ.

     Jesus Christ, who was the very nature of God, humbled himself enough to become a human (Phil. 2:6-8). He thus acquired a new identity, one that combined heaven and earth, so to speak. But this world was not an easy place for him to live, because “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11). Yet Jesus did not give up his incarnate identity; he lived it out to his death on the cross----for the sake of his love for us. Therefore, he is able to empathize with our suffering and pain.

     The theme of GRC18 is “Dwell: the Lord Lives among Us.” Jesus Christ does walk together with those of us who live in Japan. You can experience it through the work of the Holy Spirit in the church, through the preaching of God’s Word, and through the fellowship with your brothers and sisters in the family of God. It is my heart-prayer that GRC18 will be an opportunity for you to realize your true identity together with Christ.

 
Born in 1970 in Osaka and grew up in Kanagawa, Kazuhiko met Jesus and was baptized during his second year of college. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science from the University of Tokyo. He dedicated to full-time ministry as a doctoral student. He married his American wife in 1999. In 2000, he and his family moved to the United States and he studied at Bethel Seminary (St. Paul, MN), and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (suburbs of Chicago, IL). He earned his Ph.D through his study of the New Testament. After returning to Japan in 2006, he began teaching at Revival Biblical Seminary, and became its principal, as well as the chairman of Japan Evangelical Theological Society in the Chubu area. From April 2018, he becomes the Academic Dean of Covenant Seminary and an associate pastor of Tsurumi Covenant Church. He has written The Victory of the God of Peace (Praise Press), The Roman Empire in Luke’s Narrative (T&T Clark) and others. He updates his blog Through a Glass regularly. He ha three teenage daughters.
 
[EC17 Workshop]

Holy Discontent: Approaching the origin of vision
Makito Kawata

     “I don’t know what God’s will is.” “A lot of people around me say things like ‘It’s amazing to be used by God. So this is what it’s like to respond to God’s calling.’ But I have no idea what God’s calling me to.” “I have lots of hobbies and things I like to do, but I don’t know if that’s my calling from God.” “Because I don’t know, I can’t do anything.”

     All of us have had these kinds of worries from time to time, and I think a lot of people probably feel this way right now. At EC17, I led a workshop focused on this topic. I’d like to share just one part of that. It might not give anyone a definitive answer, but I hope it can be at least a little bit encouraging to those who have been saved by Jesus and want to give their newfound lives to the Lord.

     There are many methods of listening to God, but I’d like to talk about one called Holy Discontent. What does discontent have to do with your calling? Everyone has different discontent in their lives, but when it lines up with God’s will, it becomes holy discontent. In other words, when we look on this depraved world from God’s perspective and feel in our hearts, “Things can’t stay like this!”, “I can’t leave things this way!”, or “I can’t stand it anymore!”, that’s holy discontent.

     In the Old Testament, Nehemiah was someone whose holy discontent was used by God. The walls of his hometown Jerusalem had been broken down ever since the Babylonian captivity, and those who had escaped the captivity were in a very difficult situation. When Nehemiah heard about it, he became very sad (Nehemiah 1:3-4) and thought, “Things can’t stay this way!” It wasn’t just that, however; he admitted that this situation was the result of Israel’s sin (1:6-7), he remembered God’s words (1:8-9), knew that God was moving in his heart (2:12), and said that he should be the one to stand up and rebuild the walls (1:11). Nehemiah wanted God to bring success in rebuilding the walls in order to prove that the omniscient, omnipotent God of Israel was alive (2:20). The result was that God used Nehemiah mightily, and the walls that had been left broken down for the 140 years since the captivity were rebuilt in just 52 days (6:15). Furthermore, the surrounding nations who had been slandering the Jews were afraid, and they knew that this work had been done through God (6:16).

     It’s cool, right? I kind of wish I could end by saying, “Let’s respond to God’s calling just like Nehemiah did,” but we worry because it’s difficult to do so, because we don’t have confidence in what God’s will is, and because we’re afraid of failing. Because of this, I’d like to end by sharing something Pastor Katsuhiko Seino talked about in his workshop on world missions at EC05. In answer to the question, “What should I do if I make a mistake about God’s will?”, this is how he answered.

     “What should you do if you make a mistake about God’s will? Hm… What’s important is your motives, right? If you look carefully at your motives and they are that you sincerely want serve God and go out into the mission field, then you don’t need to worry about wondering what God’s will is. God is a dynamic God! As long as you have a heart that truly wants to please Him, then He can use you.” [1]

     God has created each of us uniquely. I think that God has given each of us holy discontent that only we can respond to because we are all different in how we grew up, where we are now, our hobbies, our abilities, and our personalities. Once you recognize that discontent, as long as you desire to serve the Lord through it, I believe that God is saying that as you pray and rely on Him, you can boldly step out in faith.
 



[1]Translation from http://d.hatena.ne.jp/mmesachi/20060108/1136773478

* Audio of this workshop is available at the website (Japanese only).

 
 
GRC18: Global Returnees Conference
May 2 - 5, 2018

@ Hotel Evergreen Fuji (Yamanashi)
Theme: Dwell ~The Lord will live among us~
Theme verse: Zechariah 2:10-11
“Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,”declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.
Main Speakers: Rev. Kenichi Shibusawa, Rev. Aogu Tateyama, Rev. Kazuhiko Yamazaki-Ransom

http://globalreturnees.org

Online Registration
Click HERE
* Registration ends on April 6.*

GRC18 Special Program, "C-link Meeting"

"C-link (Creative Link) Meeting" will be held on the first day of GRC18 before the main program starts. It was born from ministers networking meeting held at GRC15. It aims to learn from case studies on returnee ministry, and discuss and pray for further opportunities for missions together.

Time: Tuesday May 2nd 2-6pm
Location: GRC18 conference site, Hotel Evergreen Fuji
Target: ministers, those who are involved in returnee ministry, and those who are interested in missions
Purpose: To seek opportunities for mission partnership based of returnee ministry
Fee: Free
Registration: Link (Different registration from GRC18)

 
May 28 - 30, 2018
@ Judson University, IL
Theme: Crazy Peace ~Living In The Peace of God~
Theme verse: Philippians 4:4-7
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Main Speakers: Rev. Tetsuo Ben Kagiwada

http://central.jcfn.org

Online Registration
Click HERE
* Early bird registration ends on April 16.*

 
 
 
Looking for a Japanese/English Translation Volunteer

Many of JCFN’s publications will be in bilingual format. Please, If you wish to improve your translation skill, or in the future prepare for a translation job, please contact JCFN. We have native speaker to check the translations, so don’t worry.

 
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!!

Click here for supporting membership renewal announcement!

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

Join in JCFN Supporting Membership!!!
 
Praise the name of the Lord!

     Thank you all for prayers for GRC18: Global Returnees Conference. It was finished in blessings. We will share a report and testimonies later. For this month newsletter, we would like to share an article from EC returnee seminar and regional returnee ministries info; for this season, there are many students returning from North America.

 
[EC17 Returnee Seminar]

"Returning Home with Jesus"
Nobu Sakakibara
Orange County Christian Church Pastor

 
     It has been almost twenty years since I became a pastor in America. In that time, I have sent many people off to Japan. I want to send words of encouragement to those of you who are going home.

     First of all, let’s think about what kind of place the country of Japan is that you are going home to. I think that people who have experienced being away from Japan and have seen it from the outside will agree with what I’m saying.

     When looking out at the world, the first thing you will notice is that Japan is an island nation. Moreover, it was a closed country for many years; as a result, Japan is not a place that easily accepts things from the outside. The truth is, I think the same can be said about the church there. Churches say they want new people to come; they wish, pray, and hope for it. And they really are happy when new people come...but, in reality, they may not be as good at this as foreigners. People who are used to churches in America or other countries where people are quick to welcome you with a handshake or a hug might think Japanese churches feel a bit lonely. Even if you try your best to be open with people, you might find them to be kind of distant, or feel that you are not being welcomed. But that’s not true; that’s just the way Japan is.

     Additionally, if you go to a Japanese church and feel lost, it is because the worship style is very different. Of course there are churches that are open to returnees and foreigners, and some that go out of their way to make their churches feel welcoming. Even so, in most cases, the atmosphere is probably going to be very different, and you might feel lost.

     Let’s take clothing for example. For me, Hawaiian shirts are kind of my church uniform (lol), but you will almost never see pastors like that in Japan. And not just the pastors; the people that come to church dress formally too.

     You might also feel that the message style is different. For example, in America, in many cases the message is made to be easy to understand. Generally in Japan, you will see that the style is more like a theology lecture.

     The worship is different too. While churches in America and other countries have bands that play modern worship songs, in Japan it is still common to only sing hymns accompanied by an organ.

     At the first church I pastored in Japan, when there was a special worship song during the service, no one would ever clap. Even if there was a great performance by a soloist, choir, or violinist, there was never any clapping. This is because of the idea that all glory should only go to God. Are there churches like that in America? At least in the churches that I have pastored at or been invited to as a guest, I have never seen that custom. Of course all the glory is still God’s, but these people naturally express their joy in worship outwardly.

     I gave several concrete examples of differences, but the point isn’t about which one is good or bad. It’s only necessary to remember the reality that they are just different.

     But please think about it. If you had never left Japan and had instead belonged to a Japanese church first, you would never have thought this way. In other words, yes, you have already changed! Up until this point, I have written about the differences between churches in Japan and overseas, but next I will discuss how you yourself have changed.

     You can say that countries like North America, Korea, or South America are Christian countries. In America, the president places his hand on the Bible and makes his oath during his inauguration. There are lots of Christian book stores, and even regular stores sell Christian goods. But there is nothing like this in Japan. It’s different to the extent that you don’t know where churches are, and you rarely even meet other Christians.

     In addition to this change in surroundings, you need to understand how you yourself have changed. If you first started going to church abroad, why did you go for the first time? There might not be a lot of people who first started going because they were seeking Jesus. The reasons might be things like feeling tired of the foreign culture and way of life; wanting to speak Japanese; being able to eat Japanese food for free; being able to make Japanese friends; and so on. But if you go back to Japan, you don’t really need those things anymore, right?

     Just as I have written until now, as you experience the differences in Japanese and foreign churches and changes in your environment and in yourself, you might feel lost  in your faith after returning to Japan. And so the last thing I want to say is: even after going home, let’s connect to churches!

     It is said that the Christian population in Japan is less than once percent. In the midst of that reality, the people of Japanese churches persevere in their faith. Isn’t that amazing! Even in an environment where most people are not Christians, Japanese churches are living on in the life of Christ. That is because there is a passion of faith that you won’t find in Christian countries. Reading the Bible desperately, praying passionately, guarding their faith, and sharing the Gospel with all they have: this is the Japanese church. And so please, I want you to keep your eyes on that. I wish from my heart for you to learn and grow from the Japanese church.

     Japan is changing. There are a lot of Christian characters in Japanese NHK period dramas and other TV shows. Hifumi Kato has sung hymns on variety shows, and a Johnny’s Entertainment pop celebrity confidently declared that he is a Christian.

     Things like that haven’t happened before. Japanese Christians are desperately protecting their faith, and are becoming bolder in declaring it. You are going back to that Japan. Through Jesus, you are being sent to Japan! What’s waiting for you when you return? There is no reason to worry, because Jesus is with you. Yes, you are going back to Japan with Jesus!!

“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” John 8:29

 
 
[Regional Returnee Ministries info]

Regional Returnee Ministries
(1) Name of the ministry
(2) Contact info
(3) Introduction
(4) Upcoming events

***

[TOHOKU]
(1) Returnees In Michinoku (RIM)
(2) E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/134953776520306/
(3) Our goal is to connect with and encourage all those that are returning to Tohoku. We plan occasional gatherings and events. Every year during the 3-day weekend in October, we host a 3-day 2-night camp. All are welcome to come!
(4) For the time being, we’re thinking of having a gathering soon in Miyagi or Fukushima. We’ll post more details to our FB page (RIM) real soon.


***

[TOKYO]
(1) GiFT (Growing in Fellowship Tokyo)
(2) Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Facebook Page: GiFT
(3) Once every 2 months, we host an event in a church or OCC in the city. Here, returnees can get connected and bear much fruit!
(4) 7/28 Summer Celebration @OCC Reception starts at 12:30 Event ends at 16:00
    9/15 Event Focusing on Sharing @TBD
    11/10 Hiking Fellowship @TBD
    1/19 Seminar and Sharing@TBD
    3/16 TBD

***
[CHIBA]
(1)Re-Chiba
(2)Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/488613087984344
(3)We’re aiming for fellowship not only for Chiba returnees, but fellowship that non-believers and local people can join as well. Main points: Lunch, testimony/message, SG, fellowship time.
(4)Haven’t decided yet…!

***

[TOKAI]
(1) Inspireuion
(2) E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/6255271490/
(3) We gather every month on the 2nd Saturday at 14:00 at Kanayama Christ Church. Here, local pastors encourage returnees, and there is time for Bible study and small groups. If needed, we can introduce you to local churches.
(4) 6/9(Sat)14:00~ @Kanayama Christ Church Guest:Finland missionary Takumi Kato
    7/21(Sat) Trip to Hamamatsu with BBQ (Details TBD)

***

[KANSAI]
(1) ANRK
(2) E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anrkansai/
(3) Every month on the 3rd or 4rth Saturday, we gather around Umeda (Osaka) and sing worship, listen to a message, and have small groups.
(4) We have a simple gathering on June 23rd. Details are on our FB page. Also, please contact the email above if you’d like to receive ANRK event info from the mailing list.

 
 
Let's go to Urbana18!

End of this year, there will be Urbana, where JCFN was born.
(NO Equipper Conference this year.)

December 27 - 31, 2018
St. Louis, MO
host by InterVarsity

Registration with super early bird rate will end on June 30th.
If you are an international students, attend "Global Students Track."
If you have any questions regarding registration or Japanese translation, please contact JCFN.

www.urbana.org

 
 
Looking for a Japanese/English Translation Volunteer

Many of JCFN’s publications will be in bilingual format. Please, If you wish to improve your translation skill, or in the future prepare for a translation job, please contact JCFN. We have native speaker to check the translations, so don’t worry.

 
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 already a supporting member, we will contact you for renewal in June.
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!!!
Praise the name of the Lord!

JCFN is having annual joint staff meeting on March 8th to 11th. Please pray for this important meeting!

For February newsletter, we would like to share Equipper Conference 17 testimonies.

 
Guided by God
Mayu Sunamura

     I came to America as an exchange student, came to know God at EC, and made a confession of faith. At EC, the first thing that drew me in was the fact that God never changes. After my grandfather’s sudden death, I had some problems with my family. After that, I was looking for someone who would always accept me. During the plenary session on the first day, the words “God will always be with you no matter what” gave me great courage and comfort. And, since I had been searching for a place where I could feel truly satisfied, the idea of “God’s love overflowing from inside of you” took away the burden I had felt of having to find a perfect place where I could be myself.

     Next, God gave me the gift of meaningful encounters. At the biggest Japan regional meeting, Southern Kanto, even though we randomly split up into groups, I ended up in a group with people who go to a church near my parents’ house. I was surprised to find out that that church is on the way to my high school, a place that I passed by every day for three years. Also, as I listened to one of the pastors who was the speaker during the plenary sessions, I realized that I wasn’t listening to God, but was clinging to myself. I understood sin and being set free for the first time, and felt that I was released from my selfish lifestyle. Right after the session, when I told the pastor that I had been moved by his message, he prayed for me. That night, I went to the footbath with my friends, and ran into that pastor as I was getting out. I was blessed by the opportunity to talk to him again. Aside from that, I met a lot of other people who I have mutual friends and connections with. I felt like it was God’s leading.

     The biggest blessing I took away from EC was the knowledge of God’s sacrificial love. I learned about Passover during Bible study, about how a lamb was sacrificed in order to save the oldest son. I was moved when I considered how Jesus died for all of sinful humanity, sacrificing Himself in the place of countless sheep. Up until then, I had never really understood Jesus’s sacrifice, but on the night of the 29th, which was the one month anniversary of my grandfather’s death, thinking about his death made me realize how precious life and being yourself are. At that time, I realized for the first time that if Jesus hadn’t sacrificed Himself, I wouldn’t exist. I couldn’t stop crying, and the next day, surrounded by the pastor and friends, I made a confession of faith. In order for me to understand the sacrifice of Jesus, God first had me experience the death of a person and then sent me to America. When I go back to Japan, I will share the gospel with my family and friends, and work so that more people can know the love of God.

 
 
Blessings I received at EC2017
Mayuko Shono
 
     It was my first time to participate in EC. Through this participation, Jesus showed me various promises.

     The first fulfilled promise was the fact that I was led to this EC by His power.  I graduated from college last year.  Thus I have spent past four years in this small town in Kansas, where I would hardly bump into a Japanese, nor it has been even more unusual to meet a Japanese Christian.

     Two years ago, God led me to decide to move back to Japan in this March to spread the love of Jesus there. But I had no idea about Christian communities in Japan as I was saved after coming to the U.S. I started praying that I may find a Christian Community as strong as the one I have been blessed with. While getting ready to return to Japan with some uncertainty, I heard about the EC. I felt God intervened with His perfect timing. I felt it a huge blessing that I was led to EC by God’s power.

     The second fulfilled promise was my encounter with the right people at the EC.

     Many believers who would welcome the returnees were participating in the EC from Japan. In my small group, there were two people from Tokyo, my hometown. Not only that, many other people invited me to their churches or their small groups. I felt confident that this network initiated by God would continue to develop after I go back to Japan.

     The third fulfilled promise was I was able to share my art at the perfect timing during the EC. This could only happen by God’s guidance and the support of the fellow Christians.

     While I was working on my piece at the EC, I felt such a great joy that I had never felt as well as the power of God. This experience taught me that I can make a big contribution through my Christian art in Japan and gave me hope for my future project as a missionary.

     Finally, I reconfirmed the power of prayers and God’s vast love for Japan through EC. I was convinced God actually listened to our prayers and had plans beyond our imagination for us. I am filled with gratitude toward everyone who has supported EC and made this conference possible. Thanks to this experience at EC, my heart is ready and I can confidently go back to Japan as a Christian. May God continue to bless many Japanese Christians through EC. Amen.

 
 
The Blessing that is Serving, and Responding to Love
Yuki Hata
 
     This EC, I was able to participate in the ministries of planning for the Men’s Meeting and its worship vocals support, as well as leading an IBS (Inductive Bible Study) group. Although I am normally reluctant to speak in front of people, God showed me His will through His word, which was,  “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” Acts 20:35, and in prayer, He prompted me to experience this at EC.

     However, back when I first was approached to do this ministry at EC, I kept focusing on my own shortcomings, and my feelings of nervousness came to the forefront. While doubtful of my own preparedness, I resolved to trust in the Lord, who I knew would work through my own weakness, and do my best. As a result, I was able to serve in wonderful praise and thanksgiving with my wonderful family in Christ. God took away my anxiety about the situation, and He gave me more than I even expected from Him. I prayed deeper than I had ever prayed at any EC; I was able to “wrestle” with the Word, and I praise God that I was able to take one more step through ministry.

     Also, at this EC, I was reminded of the grand magnitude of God’s love and grace, and was able to take this time to renew my dedication to Him. I am currently in Seminary, but at some point, I had gone from being satisfied with “knowing knowledge about God” rather than “personally knowing God”. He showed me that my faith had become somewhat jaded, and more about knowledge, like the Pharisees.

     Through the plenary session messages, I was confronted with the question of whether I was truly dedicated to responding to the love of God, and it hit me. I thought of Christ, who gave me grace and mercy; and the freedom from the bonds of sin through faith, and the truth that is living in Christ’s freedom. I repented of my own view that had underappreciated the enormous love that God the Father gave, through Jesus on the cross. A prayer welled up from my heart: “I want to know more about the amazing love and the will of God. Please open the eyes of my spirit. Please take away the spirits of fear, shame, and anxiety that get in the way of dedication to You. Change me into a person that can be pushed along by Your love, and that I can share the Gospel to others.”

     I praise God that EC has given me the opportunity to deepen the relationship with God, and this time has given me a new strength and encouragement.

 
 
GRC18: Global Returnees Conference
May 2 - 5, 2018

@ Hotel Evergreen Fuji (Yamanashi)
Theme: Dwell ~The Lord will live among us~
Theme verse: “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,”declares the Lord. “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.
Main Speakers: Rev. Kenichi Shibusawa, Rev. Aogu Tateyama, Rev. Kazuhiko Yamazaki-Ransom

http://globalreturnees.org

Online Registration
Click HERE
* Registration ends on April 6.*

 
 
Looking for a Japanese/English Translation Volunteer

Many of JCFN’s publications will be in bilingual format. Please, If you wish to improve your translation skill, or in the future prepare for a translation job, please contact JCFN. We have native speaker to check the translations, so don’t worry.

 
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!!

Click here for supporting membership renewal announcement!

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

Join in JCFN Supporting Membership!!!