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Church Planting in the Heart of Japan

Acts 29: Churches Planting Churches

Japan is the second-least-reached nation in the world. With a population of 125 million, just 0.58 percent are evangelical Christians.

Approximately 38 million people live in the greater Tokyo area, making it one of the largest cities in the world. A few years ago, God called my wife and I to Tokyo to plant a church. We believed the promise: “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14).

We long to see Tokyo saturated with and restored by the gospel.

Watch the story of SOMA Fuchu

Leaning on the Spirit

In the first few years of our time in Tokyo, I felt called to work a normal job so that I could be involved in people’s everyday lives. God provided me with work in home care, where I helped care for the elderly and disabled in our area.

My job often required patience. I longed to speak the gospel, but had to do so at wise and appropriate times. After a year of caring for a man with ALS, I felt compelled by the Spirit to speak with him about Jesus.

Since he couldn’t move his body, he blinked to receive Jesus as his Savior. God brought us this man as the first member of our church family.

Since he couldn’t move his body, he blinked to receive Jesus as his Savior. God brought us this man as the first member of our church family. Although ALS had destroyed his body, he served our church faithfully in prayer.

Led by the Spirit

In our church plant’s early days, I often asked God to help me understand the story of this city. One day, the Spirit led me to visit the park near my house. I met a group of elderly people who were organizing a city festival. As I listened, I noticed they needed younger people to help, so I volunteered.

At the festival, I met a troubled young man. He’d been forced to join the volunteer group by his father. He had become anti-social, and his father wanted him to get out of the house and spend time with people. I invited him to our house for dinner, and we listened to his story.

We learned he’d suffered terrible bullying at school when he was younger. My wife and I continued inviting him into our home and our lives. Our small gospel community also came alongside him. Over time, he continued to share many of his difficult experiences. It was clear he felt accepted—perhaps something he’d never experienced before.

It took a year and a half, but he eventually trusted Christ. The next week he brought his sister. She heard the gospel, and that day she too trusted Jesus.

It took a year and a half, but he eventually trusted Christ. The next week he brought his sister. She heard the gospel, and that day she too trusted Jesus. She’d seen a profound change in her brother’s life throughout the previous 18 months. She wanted what her brother had. They were baptized together shortly thereafter.

But God is not done with this family. Recently, this young lady shared Christ with her grandfather. Days before passing away, he put his faith in Christ as well. We marvel at the grace of God upon their family.

Changed by the Spirit

There’s another lady who’s been involved from the beginning. One day, we taught her that the essence of the church is a believing community, not a building. Recognizing this was true, she said she wanted to be part of our community because of the great love she’d experienced. Yet despite this desire, she spent the next five years refusing to believe in Christ.

A few months ago, my wife confessed that she felt like giving up on our friend. It wasn’t easy to keep loving her, and my wife in particular felt used by her. However, the Sprit convicted us that night and reminded us of Christ’s great patience with us (2 Pet. 3:9).

The next morning, we got an email from our friend. She told us that some terrible things had happened in her family. In light of that, she was going to bring her whole family to our Sunday gathering. That Sunday, she trusted Jesus. Soon after, she was baptized and began sharing her newfound hope with others.

Work Continues

In Japan, most of the people we meet have never heard the gospel. People say that it’s one of the most difficult countries to reach. But here’s the good news: God is always with us, to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20).

So we continue planting churches in hope that the gospel would saturate our land. May it fill all of Japan as the waters cover the sea.

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