Ministry in Japan April/May 2009

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 by Donna Marttunen

Praying friends,

We are boarding a plane in a few hours to head back to Victoria after nearly three weeks in Japan. It seemed like the clock raced forward as we spent time with our missionary units in the Japan Baptist Fellowship. The field itself is a team of FEBI and World Venture missionaries. We journeyed north from Tokyo to MidoriNo, Tsukuba city and then HitachiNaka seeing our team of veteran missionaries working to establish new churches. After a retreat (conference)in the seaside town of Oarai, in which I was again privileged to bring the messages from God’s word; Community, Connections and Communication, we headed to the big city. Tokyo is a city of 32 million in the greater city catchment.

The unique approaches of our team to ministry demonstrate that there is more than one model, method, and means of winning others to Christ. We see how fruitful the use of Black gospel music has become in this context of groups or circles. The Japanese people are committed to joining, or belonging to groups that enable them to experience and learn most things in life that Westerners glean from books or other individualized means. Our team of ministry developers and church planters are on task as they evaluate all their initiatives and plan new strategies for taking Christ to others. Conversations, environments, contacts, language learning are buzz words that we regularly hear in this context.

Many of our staff use local schools and augment their children’s education via internet and other means. Some use the excellent school; CAJ, Christian Academy in Japan, founded to educate missionary children, as the means of education, and others have chosen schools outside the country. This is a clear parallel to their ministry creativity in that there are many different approaches to raising and educating children in an international context.

The greatest prayer concern of our JBF team is to see more place their hope in Christ. While the results seem small compared to the efforts made, the results are sweet. There is a stream of people being won and churches in time being established.

It is hard to put into words our gratitude for the privilege that you give us to serve in this way. We sense in so many ways the prayers of those behind us. In personal interviews doors are opened as we share burdens, offer care and come away deeply impacted by the dedication and commitment of our staff to continue establishing churches in Japan.

On a personal note we took 3 days of personal vacation and took a high speed train to the city of Kyoto to explore the old city. A few pictures of our time are included in our album. We learned and relearned so much about Japanese culture on this vacation. The architecture of the old buildings (temples, palaces, gardens and other sites) was stunning and carefully preserved. Nearly every site we visited proclaimed it as the oldest wooden structure of that form in the country. Many of the sites were shared with hoards of Japanese school children who snapped up souvenirs as they enthusiastically took in the sites. I think we are featured prominently in not a few of their photographs!

Prayer and praise

1. Praise for good ministry, deepening and continuing relationships with our missionary staff.

2. Pray for our adjustment back to a busy schedule in ministry and life in Victoria

3. Pray for greater fruit and effective church plants in Japan.

4. Pray for effective follow up.

5. Praise God for new workers and continue to ask for more workers to join this field.

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