In May I had the priviledge of spending about two weeks in Japan. I am a part of Global Partners, the missions department of the Wesleyan Church. In Japan we partner with an indigenous denomination called Immanuel General Mission. My purpose in visiting Japan earlier this month was to meet IGM leaders and pastors in person so that we could get to know each other better, and so that we could get a clearer picture of how we might work together in the future.
To the left is a picture of the Immanuel Church in Nakameguro, Tokyo, where I spent my first couple of days. The pastor in Nakameguro is Isaac Saoshiro, who is also the president of IGM (regrettably I didn’t get a photo of him). I had a great time getting to know Dr. Saoshiro and his wife, who are former missionaries themselves. I also participated in their mid-week prayer meeting.
From Nakameguro, I moved on to Yokohama, with a brief stop in Funabashi along the way. In Funabashi I attended an Undokai (kids’ sports day) that the church was putting on. Many people from the church and community came out to participate; it was a fun time, and seems to be a great way for the church to connect with the community.
In Yokohama I stayed at our Wesleyan Mission House (pictured to the right), which is actually divided into two apartments: upstairs is home to fellow-GP-missionary Andrea Swarthout; downstairs (where I stayed) is home to our Asia Area Director, Paul Turner, and his wife.
In Yokohama I visited the local IGM Church, as well as the denomination’s Bible Training College. I had the opportunity to share my testimony in both settings.
Below is a photo of me with a few of the many people I met in Yokohama….
While in the area, I also hopped the train and visited with Kevin Zirkle, a WGM missionary to Japan. I took part in one of his weekly Bible studies at Rykyo University (see below). In addition, I had the opportunity to address a meeting of IGM’s district superintendents.
After my time in the Tokyo area, I rode the bullet train to Osaka, where I not only got to relax and visit with some old friends, but I also met with another IGM pastor — Benjamin Tsutada — whose church in Sakai is active in reaching young people through soccer.
Many details about my future appointment in Japan are still to be worked out. But this trip was definitely worth the time because of the relationships that have begun to be built between myself and our partners at IGM. Not only that, but I have also come away from the trip with a fresh perspective and new motivation to raise support and study Japanese.
After this trip to Japan I am more convinced than ever of both the greatness of the need and the greatness of the opportunity in Japan. For those of you who are helping me with your giving and your prayers… thank you. If you are not yet a part of this team, please consider joining me in this great adventure. Your giving and prayers are investments that help us to strengthen and expand the Church in Japan.