What′s God Up to Here?

Imagine that your close friend is standing near a crumbling cliff, a short distance from a bridge that could carry him to safety. Would you call out to him? How much would you risk to lead your friend to safety? Would it even matter to you? Of course it would! This is how we feel about our Japanese friends without Christ.
Christ has bridged the divide between death and life. All can be carried to safety, but we are given the privilege and responsibility of helping people of all nations across! As Carl F.H. Henry put it, "The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time."

Consider Japan. You might see Japan's economic success and consider the nation to be reached for Christ. But that’s hardly the case! Although economically wealthy, Japan is a spiritually bankrupt nation. Many have not heard of that bridge. More are waiting for someone to direct them. A staggering majority (99.4% of the country) have yet to cross it to new life in Christ.

The love of Christ compels us to share this message of life with the Japanese people, our dear friends. They can cross that bridge from helplessness, loneliness, and despair (issues that plague Japan) to a new and living Hope. Will you join us in this work?

Church planting is people work

When we started Denen Grace Chapel with a few people in our living room in the fall of 2001, we knew that growing a church in Japan (one of the hardest-to-reach countries in the world) was beyond us. It would be the work of God or it would fail. Slowly but steadily, God brought people to our church and to faith in his Son, Jesus. One by
one, baptisms have added people to our small church which now numbers around 30.

Still, the hardest growth was something we had not fully anticipated: growing a person to maturity in Christ. Moving a person from a pagan worldview to become a follower of Christ involves a lot of tears, prayers
and one-on-one work. Because it involves a spiritual work in the lives of people, it can be both exasperating and exciting at times. But we have seen God's blessing in our small church and believe he has great things ahead. Take a look at this gallery of photos and the video above. Celebrate God's faithfulness in our church with us!

Grace C.A.F.E. (We′ve got your blend!)

It isn’t really about the coffee. C.A.F.E. stands for Christ And Friends in English. The vision is to become a new community for the following groups: 1) Foreigners living in Japan, 2) Japanese returnees back from time abroad, 3) International students in the area seeking a church family, 4) Japanese desiring an English-based church opportunity.
We began this once-monthly casual church service upon realizing there are 130,000+ foreigners living in Kawasaki and Yokohama and countless unchurched returnees with a felt need to keep their English. Kawasaki/Yokohama is a very international area!
The needs and possibilities are huge, but Japanese churches in Kanagawa welcoming these people are very few. I sense that we are a Japanese church with unique potential in this international area, and a have a heart big enough to welcome this overlooked demographic. Would you pray for the impact of this new ministry?

Let the little children come!

Our kids ministry had humble beginnings. We started with one child, our son, Justen. For awhile in the beginning, he was the Sunday School class. We knew there was need for a family-oriented Christian ministry. So we began reaching out intentionally to young families.
In recent years of church planting work, we've worked hard every imaginable kids outreach (see gallery): Easter egg coloring, Christmas parties, puppet shows, gingerbread houses, crafts, English classes, top contests, ice cream parties. It's been exhausting fun!
The next step was to start training a few church members, new believers themselves, to become effective kids workers. There's still a lot to do. We sense that Jesus' plea, "Let the little children come unto me" is a challenge to us to do all we can to remove any barriers to Japanese children coming to church, and to Christ.

Teaching the A-B-C′s and the B-I-B-L-E

If you're a native English speaker, you're a sought after commodity in Japan. Japanese people want to make friends with English speakers to develop their language ability. Parents want their tots to develop an ear for the sounds. Kids needs help with English homework. Adults
want conversation practice for work, travel, or just fun. Here's an opportunity for the gospel!

We could easily spend all of our time here responding to this felt need by preparing and teaching English classes. But the leap from interest in English to Christ is a large one.
So, instead I've chosen to teach the Bible in simple English. Adult students know they'll be examining the tenants of Christianity (there is no "bait and switch"). We sing in English and do an inductive Bible study. This approach has been well-received and created much good interaction around God's Word with those not yet Christians.

Good things come in small packages

We do small groups here, too. The fact is that any ministry in Japan is a ministry of working with small groups (reaching large numbers of Japanese does not come easy).
Our church started from a small group Bible study, just six people around a table. We see the value in continuing to grow and nurture small groups. They provide points of entry to the church for non-Christians. They provide a discipling and leadership development environment for Christians.
So, we offer several small groups for different demographics within the church, including youth, young adults, businessmen, ladies, and English speakers. We personally lead several of them. Slowly we are training others to lead and multiply these groups. Take a look at some of the outreach activities they are doing in the photo gallery above.

A Day in the Life of a Missionary

Everyone knows that a missionary "missions" (or so I am told). But what exactly is that? Our days are very full, and no two days look the same. But some of our activity include things like the below. There is always much left undone and so much more we could have done. We need God's wisdom as we prioritize our days for his kingdom here!
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  • Sunday message preparation
  • Small group prep and leading
  • One-to-one Bible studies
  • Worship planning
  • Hanging out with youth
  • Tract/flyer distribution
  • Individual counseling/visitation
  • Language study!
  • Pastor and missionary meetings
  • Time with non-Christians
  • Event/activity preparation
  • English ministry
  • Personal study and renewal
  • Much email and reporting!

Bittersweet Summer

Bittersweet Summer

The Black Box

The Black Box

The Living Table

The Living Table

BITTERSWEET SUMMER — Just as in weather, in the seasons of ministry there are times when the "hurricanes" seem to come one after another. This past summer was a "hurricane season" for us as we … [Read More]

The Living Table

The Living Table

Calligraphy Anyone?

Calligraphy Anyone?

The Black Box

The Black Box

THE LIVING TABLE — As I reflect on our decade of church planting here, a strange theme emerges: the table. Our church was birthed around our table at home where we held worship services with just 5 … [Read More]

The Black Box

The Black Box

The Small Room

The Small Room

Calligraphy Anyone?

Calligraphy Anyone?

THE BLACK BOX — Church Planting = transporting heavy objects. When you haven’t your own church building you need to do a lot of carting things back and forth from home. The first years were … [Read More]

Calligraphy Anyone?

Calligraphy Anyone?

My Blockhead Wife

My Blockhead Wife

The Small Room

The Small Room

CALLIGRAPHY ANYONE? — The Japanese have a tradition of exchanging New Year's cards called "nengajou," just like Americans enjoy exchanging Christmas cards. The first week of January our mailbox is … [Read More]

The Small Room

The Small Room

Tsunami Relief

Tsunami Relief

My Blockhead Wife

My Blockhead Wife

THE SMALL ROOM — The room is only 6 x 6, but somehow we manage to squeeze a bunch of people in it. It’s a good thing this is Japan! We’ve felt for some time the need to offer more opportunities for … [Read More]

My Blockhead Wife

My Blockhead Wife

Bittersweet Summer

Bittersweet Summer

Tsunami Relief

Tsunami Relief

BLOCKHEAD WIFE —Before you start sending me emails, let me hurry to explain. Kaori recently accepted the responsibility of head of our block, or "hanchou" (yes, that also makes her "head hancho")… [Read More]

Tsunami Relief

Tsunami Relief

The Living Table

The Living Table

Bittersweet Summer

Bittersweet Summer

TSUNAMI RELIEF — "It's beyond a nightmare." said a Japanese friend of the apocalyptic scene in northern Japan. The 9.0m earthquake and 40 foot tsunami double punch left 20,000 dead or missing, and a … [Read More]

Return to Japan…Return to God

Q: Where do most Japanese
become Christians? [
Click]
Hitomi and her family live overseas. Away from her Japanese culture and its entanglements, Hitomi begins to consider the Christian faith of her host culture. She finds friendship and meaning in attending a local church. Over time Christ draws Hitomi to faith in himself.

A half million Japanese like Hitomi live abroad. Thousands become believers each year. The difficulty comes when they return home. "Returnees" find it difficult to blend back into church life in Japan. Their experiences are not completely understood. Reverse culture shock, and renewed family/work pressures overwhelm their new faith. Many fade away from church altogether. What a great loss to God’s Kingdom!
To help reverse the above trend, we’ve launched RIK (Returnees in Kanagawa). RIK is a group of Christian returnees whose desire it is to welcome back and strengthen returnees of all ages,
The church in Japan would be many times its 0.3% size if it were to hold the harvest that returns each year.
and help them connect with a local church in our Kanagawa area. We and our church plant here are particularly burdened for this ministry because of the large number of ... [Read More]
Interested in helping returnees? Check our How to Help page for ideas. Friend Returnees in Kanagawa (website).
WE ENVISION…
..the people of Yokohama and Kawasaki forever transformed by the love of Christ, gathered in dynamic, ever-multiplying local church communities.

WE ARE COMMITTED...
…to the evangelism, church planting, and leadership develop- ment tasks — in partnership with many people and the local church — to make this happen.
Take a close look at this photo. Do you see the lives of all the people represented in these photo albums recovered from the 3/11/11 tsunami debris? Sadly, most of them lost their lives.

In Yokohama and Kawasaki (our local area) alone there are nearly 5 million people. Statistically, 4.98 million of them are without Christ! How will they know of God’s love and forgiveness? Where will they spend eternity?

As God empowers us, our desire is to use the resources He gives us to reach as many as of these people as possible. Will you
help us in the task?
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Mission Impossible?

"That house is a lost cause! I thought, and hesitated putting a church flyer in its mailbox. The home was in the shadow of a powerful Buddhist temple next door. [Read More]

Seeing the Need

Click on the photo above to enlarge. Can you find the two people hilighted in yellow? Proportionately in this photo, they would represent the number of Christians in Japan. So, where are the rest of them all headed? They are headed to an eternity without Christ unless someone brings them the message of forgiveness and new life God offers in His Son. A staggering 99.4% still need to be reached with the Gospel message.

Who will bring that message and guide them to a place of spiritual safety and joy? Do you see the need to do anything?

Gone Gospel Crazy

If your image of Japanese is that of serious, staid and quiet people, you might be in for a shock to see the loud, vibrant way they belt out black gospel [Read More]
Miss K. is a single woman that loves gospel music. One day as she was web surfing for lyrics she came across [Read More]
Don't miss our gospel choir video clips on our media page.
I've but one candle of life to burn. I'd rather burn it out in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light.

— John Falconer, died in Scotland, age 31

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We serve with WorldVenture, an evangelical faith mission. Our sending/home church is First Baptist Church of Lansing, Illinois.
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