Rambling Notes from Japan
Here are some blog posts that we hope will make you feel a part of things, and help you understand how to pray better for us and Japan. Please see our external blog in Blogger, if this page does not display correctly.
|Musashi-Kosugi, Japan (new church plant location)|
In the thick of church outreach activities, message prep, meetings, people needs, and countless Bible studies, I ignored the growing stack of unfinished work on my desk. “I’ll get around to all that when things settle down after Christmas,” I figured. But the stack grew, until it occupied parts of my floor, too. My digital inboxes were filled with urgencies. And little emergencies kept cropping up.
Come mid-January, I was in deep clutter. “Where did all this work come from?” I muttered. I consider myself pretty neat, but messy stacks were piled precariously around me like a bad Dr. Seuss illustration. I like finished projects, so this was all very stressful!
Even as I still deal with my personal catch up (in time for Easter?), I realize there is a greater unfinished task to be done. I live in the middle of it.
It’s ironic -- or perhaps necessary for my discipleship -- that God would put someone that likes neat, finished things into the middle of the World’s Biggest Unfinished Task in mission history. Yes, I’m talking about Japan. Japan’s 99% without Christ is one BIG unfinished project in missions for the church -- that’s you and me both.
We may never finish the task of evangelizing the 99% of Japan. Even through a multiplication effort of the entire church in Japan, many will choose to live without Christ. But there’s a part of the task we CAN finish:
We CAN plant an evangelical church witness in Tokyo’s growing urban centers -- starting with Musashi Kosugi (photo above). This is finish-able! If the world can add all that infrastructure and all those people to that tiny area, surely God’s people can add a mission outpost and church planter. Or do we think -- like I did with my unfinished tasks -- that “we’ll get around to it when things settle down” ?
We invite you to consider investing in a new church work in Musashi Kosugi, as a church, family, or believer that loves Japan. May we ask that you first help underwrite the monthly financial support of a local church planter (that’s us) for Musashi Kosugi? You may use WorldVenture's online giving here.
You might prefer to give toward our “Musashi Kosugi Project.” In the days ahead, we’ll share more, but you may give any time through WorldVenture and mark it “MK church seed fund.”
By the way, at the end of the day, and in the middle of my unfinished work, I am so glad to rest in the FINISHED work of Christ at Calvary!
We envision a version of this with 1st floor “store-front” space for outreach ministries and new church to gather, and living space above for ourselves/staff.
This vision is so beyond our power. Please pray God will open up a house that can be renovated or cheap land that can be built on, and provide needed financial resources.
From the beginning of our work in Kawasaki in 2001, our vision has been to start a small cluster of new churches outwardly focused and networked together for greater impact in this area. We believe a team is the best approach for the future. And we’re working to create one. We’ve laid out our rationale for all this in our vision booklet viewable online here: lavermansinjapan.org/vision
New TeammatesJustin & Lindsay Mitchell arrived in February, settling just “up the street” from us about 20 minutes away. Yes, there’s been some learning curves in food, shopping, hospital (Lindsay will have a baby in August), transport and financial services, also the tiny space in Tokyo, mail, garbage sorting (an ongoing mystery even for me - see lavermansinjapan.org/gomi) and so on. And the Japanese language will be a humbling adventure for years. But they’re adapting great.
Then during April, we hosted Gary & Jennifer Chang and kids here in Kawasaki for a two-week “vision trip.” They’re raising support and coming to Japan through WorldVenture in 2018 to join hands with us on this new team.
Bit by bit the team is forming, but we need others, too. Specifically, a full-time Japanese worker, an English speaker for TESL outreach (see lavermansinjapan.org/tesl), and more missionaries with expertise in music, media, youth, or kids ministry.
Protestant Christianity in Japan began just south of us in Yokohama bay in the 1860’s. But the number of churches has never kept up with the density of people and need. New churches are needed for the 5.2+ million in Kawasaki-Yokohama, 99% without Christ. Would you pray with us for the formation of this “mission possible” team for Japan?
Justen wants to serve God through his talent in design. Those of you who have seen his artwork know that he shows great potential. We look forward to seeing how the Lord will blend all these third-culture kid experiences, design skills and languages together for His glory through Justen in the future.
The first line was April 27 at Musashi- Kosugi station. I was wrestling to get the Chang family (see front) and their suitcases to the spot on the platform for the airport express, but the morning commuters were as thick as it gets. We were only able to move down the platform a few yards at a time after each train pulled out of the station, and before the next arrived. The video link above might help you understand.
A few days earlier I had viewed this station and Musashi-Kosugi area (our location for next church plant as God provides), with a visiting supporter from the 62nd floor of one of the many hi-rise apartments. Now I know where all those residents go in the morning. There needs to be an evangelical church witness for them!
The second line was May 4 at a shrine in Kamakura. Hundreds had rented a basket from the shrine to insert coins or bills to dip into the magic spring that multiplies prosperity. I took a video (above link) to give you an idea. Japan doesn’t need more prosperity. They need Christ! Superstitions can’t give what He offers freely.
Pray for Musashi-Kosugi. Pray that God will lead us to a person of peace through which to start a church in this neighborhood soon. Pray for them to put their affections not on the superstitions of this world, but on the work of Jesus Christ.