I made the decision to accept Christ last April, and I will be returning to Japan next month (February). Since I began my college life, I was surrounded by Christians and that has become my norm. Now, I am going to live as a Christian in Japan, I have no idea what that would look like. I hadn’t even thought about it before EC, but after I had decided to register for EC, I began wondering how I’m going to keep my faith. I was worried about not knowing where the churches are or anything about a Christian life in Japan. I wanted to become a Christian because I had this special environment. I was worried about leaving my faith once I returned to Japan. In fact, I wish I hadn’t said that I would become a Christian. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I even thought that.
EC is a perfect conference for a new Christian and a soon-to-be-returnee. It was just the thing for me! I was able to attend because it was online, but because it was online, I could only listen to the sermons in between my work and it was difficult to concentrate at times. I was able to make many connections with people in Japan in small groups and by region, and was introduced to many churches and related events and communities. Among them, I was able to feel God’s work through the Soul Care Ministry.
When I applied for this counseling program, there was a section on the application form where I had to write down the details of my issues. I didn’t have any major problems at the time, but I thought I’d just apply for the counseling, so I wrote something like, “I made a decision to accept God in April, but everything is online. I’m going back to Japan soon, so I’d like to think about what I’ll do after I return to Japan.”
I thought that the counselor was aware of my issue, but she didn’t seem to know anything about it and she was anxiously praying for the time together with me.
On the day of the session, I spoke with the counselor for the first time via Zoom. At that point, I had some questions and concerns about returning to Japan through the EC program, so when she asked me about my concerns, I told her that I wanted to ask about how to find a church and relationships with my family and relatives after I returned. She had experienced a similar situation as me when she returned to Japan. Her face instantly lit up and it became obvious to us that it was arranged by God for us to meet.
I will be baptized next Tuesday.
I had a feeling that Christianity was a part of American culture, but when I realized that there are so many believers in Japan, I felt that the God we believe in is the same God everywhere, the one and only, the absolute, and that we are all connected through Him.
The thought of being connected with so many Japanese Christians and Christians who support them gave me courage and made me feel less anxious about returning to Japan. I am not afraid because I have friends and the same God. From now on, no matter what people say about me in Japan, no matter what difficulties I face, I want to believe in God’s timing and grow in Him.
From now on, we will introduce one of EC workshops that JCFN staff like and recommend once a month. The first pick is by Setsu Shimizu.
“An Introduction to Apologetics You’ll Want to Talk About” By Kazusa Okaya
(Sorry the workshop is in Japanese only)
“Aren’t all religions the same in essence? Isn’t it arrogant to say that only Christianity is the truth? Isn’t the resurrection chemically impossible? Why does evil exist when there is a God? These are difficult questions that make you want to run away. But if we face them properly, they can lead to opportunities for evangelism and growth. We will consider how we as Christians can respond to some of the most common questions that are stumbling blocks to our faith.
P.O. Box 17982, Irvine, CA 92623-7982, USA tel 949-424-7535 e-mail: ushq＊jcfn.org (＊を＠に変えて入力してください。)
〒101-0062 東京都千代田区神田駿河台2-1 OCC ビル内 Tel/Fax03-5217-2505 e-mail: nihon*jcfn.org (＊を＠に変えて入力してください。)