Have you ever heard of “WTP”?
This is a Japanese Christian pod cast.by Pacific Broadcasting Association (PBA). And it’s the most popular podcast in the religious category!
It’s a talk show hosted by the well-known Rev. Shigenori Oshima, who is also familiar to JCFN, where he invites various guests. When it started in 2016, it was a program co-hosted by Rev. Masaru Asaoka, one of the speakers at EC23. Anyway, it’s really funny and interesting. They talk about things completely unrelated to faith, like fashion, hobbies, and food, but they also honestly and deeply answer various questions about faith based on their own experiences. There are many insightful and educational moments on the show.
And guess what, I appeared on it too!!! It airs on days with a 7 in them.
By the way, my husband, Mao, also appeared on the show before. It’s the program where the phrase “Pray and let go!!” was born.
Mao’s appearance on Episode 065
Mao’s appearance on Episode 066
Mao also talks a lot about JCFN. Of course, I do too!
If you’re interested, please give it a listen! (But be warned, once you start, you might want to listen to all the back episodes too!)
Episode 138 (guest: Setsu 1)
Episode 139 (guest: Setsu 2)
Episode 140 (guest: Setsu 3)
I had a great time at CC23! I am so glad that I was able to spend three days with Japanese Christians learning about God, playing together, and just having fun even though I usually don’t have many chances to meet Japanese Christians, let alone Japanese people themselves! Maybe it was because CC had its first youth program in the same year that I was going to be a youth, or maybe it was because so many youth came in the same year, or maybe this year was just the best, but for me, CC23 was the most fun I have ever had at CC. I had a great time praising and playing games while being surrounded by people who were more like me and could relate to me than the people I usually hangout at school. In addition, this year, since I became a youth member and started going to adult worship services, I was able to listen to sermons that were deeper and taught me more things than ever before. Through this experience, I learned that even though I am still in junior high school, I can and should spread the gospel. I had already been to youth group at my regular church, but there were many times when I couldn’t focus and couldn’t listen properly. However, thanks to the fun and interesting preaching at CC, I have been able to enjoy church more and listen to the sermons more attentively. I believe that God has blessed me with these two elements, a lot of fun and learning experiences. I received not only great messages, but also new friends, experiences, and motivation to continue to work hard and have these experiences again. (Shion Otsuka, IL)
My name is Samuel Kim, and I am a 2021 college graduate from Minnesota. Growing up, I knew only a handful of Japanese people in my hometown. However, many seeds were planted throughout my upbringing that led me to be curious about the Japanese language and culture. Although I do not have a formal position in ministry, I have put a significant amount of time and energy into personal endeavors related to reaching Japanese with the gospel and learning the Japanese language. Since the COVID pandemic began, I have been a part of various ministry groups focused on reaching Japanese, both in person and online, and I have regularly attended a Japanese church in Minneapolis since the summer of 2021. At CC23, I received confirmation that my personal outreach efforts are not being wasted.
I believe that CC is a very special gathering since people of many different backgrounds come together for the unified purpose of encouraging Japanese returnees who put faith in Christ. At CC23, I was blessed to be part of a gathering where God’s Word and faithfulness were proclaimed in every way, and I was strengthened in my faith in the context of fellowship. I was encouraged and amazed to meet people who were gifted in praise, speaking, testimony sharing, prayer, and caring for others, among other gifts. I was also grateful for the strong sense of community and God’s love which permeated every part of the three-day program. I saw strong evidence that God’s love creates an environment that is ideal for spiritual growth.
CC23 helped me to confirm my personal calling to Japanese people. I would not go as far as to call it a “gifting”, but one area in which I have been highly focused and committed is Japanese language learning. I take inspiration from the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23. “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” My understanding of this verse has helped me to let go of my preconceived notions about Japanese people and culture, surround myself with native Japanese individuals as well as missionaries to Japan as much as possible, and find creative ways to learn as much about the Japanese language and culture as I can. My Japanese small group at CC23 was one avenue where this learning took place.
I faintly recall when I was filling out my registration form for CC23 on Google Forms that it asked me whether I wanted to be placed in an English or Japanese small group. I picked both options, leaving the language of my small group assignment to the luck of the draw. Much to my surprise, after the first plenary session on the first day of CC23, I found myself in a small group that was all Japanese individuals, except for me. I felt both excited and nervous at the same time. Since I had never lived in Japan and had only had interactions in Japanese that happened relatively sporadically, I knew that I had to rely on God’s grace and mercy to get me through the three days of Japanese-language small group meetings ahead of me. One takeaway from my small group experience is that God’s grace abounds and that God does not expect me to perform in a way that compensates him back for his grace. In fact, I realized there is no way I could possibly even do such a thing. I was blessed by my kind small group members who welcomed me in discussions and slowed down their pace of speaking whenever they noticed I needed help with understanding. I was also thankful for the opportunity to practice Japanese by sharing my own thoughts out loud on the discussion prompts we were provided with. Looking back, I wonder what it was like for the people in my small group to listen to me speak disfluent foreigner’s Japanese. Anyhow, I look forward to having more opportunities to practice speaking Japanese and being able to share my faith especially with unbelievers and also be an encouragement to Japanese brothers and sisters in Christ. I am looking forward to EC23!