EC Testimony vol. 1 : Grace and Prayer by Michiya Arakida

I am truly grateful for being able to participate in the Equipper Conference for the first time this time, and for receiving so much grace and healing. First of all, receiving this EC scholarship was the greatest blessing of all.  Transportation, accommodation, and other various expenses were obstacles for me to come from Oregon. But through prayer, I was provided with accommodation and transportation, and I was reassured that there is nothing impossible with the Lord. This EC was the most fruitful conference I have ever attended, where I was prompted to consider my Christian faith and witnessed many works of the Lord. Here, I would like to share some of the blessings I witnessed.

I joined in prayer team and also shared a testimony for the first time at this conference. Since becoming a Christian through baptism in the United States a year and a half ago, I have attended Christian conferences about four times, but I had never involved in a volunteer work at the conferences before; I had always attended as a participant. Through serving this time, I was able to experience the love and grace of the Lord in tangible ways.

When I was recruited for the prayer team, although I had been prayed for by others before, I hadn’t prayed much for others, so honestly, I thought it would be enough to just pray. Since it was also my first time participating in EC, I couldn’t imagine the overall flow or content of the prayer team. The content of the work mainly involved listening to prayer requests from participants during the EC period. Although prayer was the main focus, we faced various attacks from the enemy while gathering as a team to pray for participants and the EC. Despite this, I witnessed prayers being answered and experienced moments of fruition multiple times. Being busy with work from morning till night, I often couldn’t find time to rest properly and sometimes fell ill, but naturally, I found myself adopting an attitude of wanting to pray for others and for the EC, and the experience of my body moving was truly mystical, beautiful, and a sensation I had never experienced before. Before participating in EC, when I prayed, it was mostly formal, just uttering words, but it gradually transformed into a heartfelt prayer to truly convey my prayers to God and to connect with Him.

In sharing my testimony, although I had shared many times at conferences before, since it was mostly done in English, it was my first time sharing in Japanese since my baptism. The theme was about Calling, and I intended to share as I had done before, but from the moment I stepped onto the EC stage until the final applause, I don’t remember much, and even now, I don’t recall what I shared. After it ended, I was alone and fearful, worried that I might have said something wrong, but I received feedback from many people saying they were “encouraged” and “moved,” not because of myself, but because it was a testimony from the Lord.

The learning and fellowship in small groups were also very enriching. My group consisted of people in their twenties, all close in age, and they were the most fervent in faith and knowledgeable group I had ever seen. Even after returning to the dormitory after the evening session, Bible studies continued until two in the morning, and even now after EC has ended, there are online study sessions. Having had such deep interactions with Christians of the same generation brought me great joy, and I am truly grateful to the Lord for providing me with this group.

EC 23 was truly filled with many blessings and fruitfulness, despite facing attacks from the enemy at times. I am very grateful that we were able to face the Lord together with all the participants and welcome the year 2024. After EC, I returned to Oregon and the new semester began at university, but through this EC, I became aware of the beauty of praying for others and received a vision for Japanese international exchang students, leading to the initiation of a new campus ministry to connect Japanese exchange students with Christians on campus and to provide a place to know God through the Bible together. This fellowship has been greatly blessed, resources and places have been provided, and both non-Christian Japanese exchange students and Christian students have been provided. I pray that more non-Christian Japanese exchange students who desire to know God and more resources and Christian students will be provided. I am truly grateful to have been able to participate in EC 23.

My Ministry in Atlanta

Hello! I’m Daisuke, the North American head who loves ramen.

…I started writing, but this time I won’t touch on ramen at all. (Ah, I really want to eat ramen…)

I’d like to touch on the recent situation in Atlanta.

Maybe because I’ve been serving as the Director of Equipper Conference for a few years now, I’ve been hearing a bit more about EC’s image lately. But the original heart and passion of our ministry lie in “Local Ministry.” I also recall that my path as a ministry was cultivated by opportunities to share testimonies and the gospel with international students and expatriate families.

I live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta is the largest city in the southern United States on the East Coast!

When I first came here, I didn’t understand anything, but now I find myself being introduced to more Japanese people in the community.

In addition to JCFN, where I am, there are several missionary organizations reaching out to Japanese people, and we work together as a team to minister. It’s nice to be able to focus on God’s work together without any territorial disputes or feelings of being taken or taking from others. It’s beautiful!

The work in the Atlanta area is largely focused on “Events,” “Building community networks,” and “building a Personal relationship”

We hold an “English Cafe” every month, where not only non-Christian international students gather, but also parents with kids to those in their 30s. By the way, when it comes to February, the world celebrates Valentine’s Day!! In the February English Cafe, we plan to discuss the difference between the love celebrated in the world and the love Christians receive. It’s a team event where we have weekly meetings and make various preparations for this packed content.

 

We also value collaboration with local churches, pastors, and missionaries.

We plan gatherings with the collaboration of churches to invite Japanese non-Christians to fellowship. It’s a precious opportunity for them to learn about “What is a Christian?”.

Through cooperation with local Christians, we aim to further introduce our ministry, hoping that when people connect with Japanese individuals, they’ll also connect with the Tsuchida family!

Lastly, we provide support for understanding in Japanese.

When spoken to in English, even if we don’t understand, as Japanese people, we tend to say things like “Yeah…” (laughs). I totally understand that feeling… Even though we’re told “If you don’t understand, ask,” it’s like we can’t bring ourselves to ask!

However, as a result of such casual responses, Americans often happily report things like “He accepted Jesus”… well, I guess that’s to be expected.

But later, when you ask in Japanese, you might hear, “Huh! That’s not exactly what happened!!” – the language/culture issue.

Personally, I take opportunities to ensure that through testimonies, scriptures, and prayers in Japanese, individuals can truly understand what the Bible teaches.

Because it’s a ministry for Japanese people overseas, I feel that understanding in Japanese is even more important every day.

In the place where God has put me,

I will do my best!

お問い合わせ

連絡先

JCFN 北米
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。)

JCFN 日本
〒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。)

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