The JCFN blog has started!
My name is Megumi Takezawa (Megumix), and I’m in charge of the second week.
Once a month, we want to give reports about JCFN and returnees ministry activities, hear from guests, and share the appeal of JCFN with all of you! Your prayers, financial support, and encouragement are all indispensable to the ministry of JCFN. So let’s get excited together!
Our first guest is Shiori Furuya, who just recently finished an internship with JCFN. Shiori is currently a graduate student at Tokyo Christian University (TCU). She is studying theology and will graduate in March 2019. We’ll be hearing about JCFN from her perspective as a returnee and as an intern.
So here’s the interview!
What was it that brought you in contact with JCFN and made you decide to be an intern?
I’m originally a returnee, and I remembered feeling frustrated when I saw my friend who became a Christian overseas not connect to a church. But through that, I came to understand how God feels.
I didn’t know about JCFN, but I wanted to do returnee ministry, and at a conference I happened to attend, there was a greeting time where you’re supposed say hi to someone sitting near you. When I talked to the lady sitting next to me, I thought that I had to become friends with her!
I did become friends with her, and we started having lunch together. The first time we went to lunch, she had also invited Erika Mine (now JCFN associate staff).
It was actually the first time for the three of us to meet each other, but as we shared our vision for returnees ministry, Erika told me about JCFN, and I soon went to the office, where I met the director and decided to become an intern. I didn’t know what I would be able to do at first, but I decided to grab hold of the opportunity in front of me
I see. In the Bible, Jesus talks about how He “happened to be passing by,” right? We might think that we are “just happening” to meet different people, but sometimes that can be the start of something. You had a vision given to you by God, and God took that, prepared divine appointments for you, and helped you to take a step forward!
Alright, next question. What kind of new perspective did you gain on returnee ministry as a JCFN internet?
Honestly, I thought that all JCFN did was connect returnees to churches. But as an intern, I realized that it’s not just that, but that it is an important part of returnee ministry, encouraging individual returnees in their lives as children of God and creating places and community for people who became Christians overseas to grow together. Ultimately, although it’s something that everyone needs whether they’re overseas or in Japan, for those who are returnees especially, they offer them support by connecting them to churches and to other people.
I see! So returnee follow-up isn’t just introducing people to churches, communities, or small groups, but the desire is to help each individual grow in their faith and beyond. Then, because they want people to grow, they want to connect them to a good church and to good people.
Last question. What are you hoping to see from JCFN in the future?
It’s important for Japanese churches to know about JCFN and do things together with them. And for those who came to faith in other countries, please bring a breath of fresh air into Japan! I believe that, through returnees, God will bring a positive transformation. Also, I hope that churches and JCFN can, through good networking together, do ministry to encourage people of faith in their growth.
Shiori, thank you for sharing such important thoughts!
Since we heard from the point of view of an intern, maybe you were able to get a more clear picture of what returnee ministry looks like. From the different perspective a returnee has, as people meet each other and pray for one another’s growth, we can see how God can change the world. This, too, is part of returnee ministry. The ministry of JCFN really is broad, deep, and so important.
Shiori, good luck on the remainder of your life as a student! We are praying that God will continue to use you as His precious instrument.
That’s it! Thanks, from Megumix!