Testimony of GRC21 Participant
In Jesus’ Name…A Prayer to Extend His Kingdom
Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord! My name is Etsuko Hotta and I live in Tottori Prefecture, which is the least populated prefecture in Japan. I’m grateful for the opportunity to testify about what the Lord has done through GRC21, and I want to give glory to the Lord.
A few years ago, I was given the vision to evangelize students through study abroad by utilizing my position at the International Exchange Center where I’m responsible for students from English-speaking countries in charge of the university where I work. I attended GRC18 when I was praying to the Lord about how to support students who had just returned home with an interest in the Gospel.
Before attending GRC18, I was afraid to evangelize students because of my position as a university employee. However, through GRC18, the Lord prepared my heart, led me to repentance, and gave me a calling to evangelize students through study abroad. After receiving this call, I was able to find local families of God, communities, and educational institutions in North America, Europe, Oceania, and Asia that agreed, prayed, and cooperated with this work through God’s grand plan. Students who had never even heard the name of Jesus Christ were given the opportunity to experience the love of the Lord during their study abroad, from short-term study abroad for four weeks to long-term study abroad for one year, and some were saved during their study abroad, while others were not yet saved but returned home with an interest in the Bible. In order to support these students, we started our ministry by starting small groups and worshipping with students unconnected to the church.
After GRC18, my daily prayer to the Lord was to attend the next GRC21 with the saved students who were the fruit of this study abroad mission started by the Lord. However, the students connected to our small group were so busy with part-time jobs, coursework, and assignments that they were unable to commit to study and worship, which was our biggest prayer challenge. However, as Isaiah 55:10-11 says, when rain or snow falls from heaven, it does not return unchanged, but it always moistens the earth and brings life to it, just as the wilderness becomes green and beautiful flowers bloom, so the word of God never returns in vain, and the hearts of those who hear it will be filled with joy. No matter how dry and barren the hearts of those who hear it may be, the word of God will be sown into their hearts, and they will be transformed into a lush heart. I continued to pray, believing that the Word of God would be transformed into an abundant heart of love for God in God’s time, and that this was what the Lord wanted.
It was also a challenge to encourage students who were unable to attend small groups and worship services regularly to participate in GRC21, but the Lord answered the prayers that had been pouring in since GRC18. The Lord answered our prayers, and we were able to participate in GRC21 together with the returnees from New Zealand who had just graduated and the returnee students from Canada who started supporting us right after GRC18.
The theme of GRC21 was “In Jesus’ Name…” The Lord spoke abundantly to both of their hearts in Jesus’ name, and they were able to connect with new returnee Christians and see their faith grow through this GRC21. After GRC21, it was difficult for them to get together, but now they are willing to fellowship and study together. This is a great joy and a sign that we have been praying for each person’s spiritual growth in Jesus’ name. It is also a testimony of our prayers to expand the Kingdom in Jesus’ name, that we received the call at GRC18, and three years later at GRC21, we are able to join with the souls of the fruit of the Lord’s work and see the growth of the Spirit!
I pray from the bottom of my heart that the precious work of JCFN will continue to be protected and used to support returnee Christians in connecting with God and His family, being transformed into Christ’s likeness, being equipped, and being sent so that their faith will not be isolated after they return home.