Japanese Pastor Plants Church in Least-Reached State

When we first arrived in Japan four years ago, we met a young seminary student who smiled with his eyes, played the bass like a pro, painted beautiful artwork, and whose love for Jesus overflowed. His name was Nozomu. Since then we have had the privilege of teaching him in our next-gen ministry courses, singing along while he proposed to his beautiful girlfriend, sitting under his preaching at All Nations Fellowship, and sending him out from our church to plant a new one in the least reached prefecture (state) in Japan.

Recently we drove from one coast of Japan to the other so that Brooks could preach at Trinity Church Toyama, the church Nozomu has planted, directly across the street from a college campus in the heart of the biggest city in the prefecture. When we arrived, the first thing we noticed was that their worship space was filled with Nozomu’s artwork. At the cafe in the back people were sitting on cozy couches preparing meat for their weekly Sunday lunch together.

When Nozomu first arrived in the city he knew no one. Yet God has shown up. On the morning of our visit two of the first people there were English teachers whom God has provided to help lead a bi-monthly English cafe night outreach event.

Just before the service began, they pulled the projector screen up to reveal a white board full of the names of people (mostly nonbelievers) who had attended an event at the church. They spent time praying for each person by name, asking God to work in their hearts and give them faith. The friendship and love growing inside that room was palpable. People in search of community are finding Trinity Church to be a refuge, and that heart of welcome is beginning to spill out into the community of Toyama and make God’s name famous in that city. We’re told that Nozomu often has to kick people out in the evenings so he can go home and be with his family, because they just don’t want to leave.

It’s an exciting problem to have, but Nozomu and his wife, Shoko, are tired. There are not a lot of leaders in the church to offer support. Nozomu is working a lot of hours shepherding the congregation by himself, preaching weekly, and leading worship. (After preaching and leading worship each week, Nozomu also cooks lunch for everyone!) They have a new baby and Shoko just began her medical residency last month.

Please pray for them! Please pray also for the new class of seminary students just like Nozomu who have just graduated and are moving out into the places God is preparing for them. We feel the earth (and our hearts!) swelling with excitement as the gospel breaks into places that we had heard were impossible to penetrate. This is just one more way that God is overwhelming us with how much He is doing in Japan.

Brooks and Riva Cain are MTW missionaries serving with Next in Nagoya, Japan.

 

Brooks & Riva Cain in Nagoya Nagoya CBI Japan on May 18, 2017

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Pray for the Japanese men and women impacted by the gospel during recent homestays in the U.S. to continue in faith as they return to Japan.

Pray for the church-planting efforts of the Nagoya, Japan, team to be effective and that God would grow the Church in Japan.

Pray for Japanese pastor Nozomu and family as they grow a church plant in one of the least-reached prefectures in Japan. 

Pray for God to break through cultural barriers to draw Japanese men and women to Himself. And for God to call more missionaries to serve in Japan.

Pray for Japanese college students wrestling with new faith. Pray that they would have the courage to give their lives to Christ and not fear their family's reaction.

Pray for youth around the world to come to faith, and pray for missionaries who minister to the next generation. Young people often impact their whole familes for Christ.

Pray for the relationships missionaries are developing with Japanese men and women. Pray for common interests and connections to be a bridge to the gospel.

Pray for the men and women in Japan who have been attending church to make a public commitment to Christ and to express their faith through baptism.

Please pray for the rebuliding efforts in Ishinomaki, Japan, and for church planting efforts in the region that have begun since the 2011 tsunami.

Pray for missionary kids as they develop friendships with local children to have an impact for Christ.