The Summer is coming to and end soon,but the days are still very hot.

One of my theme for this year is to “enjoy the seasons that God has made”.
I realized that the year has gone by so quickly and that I have been spending my time without really thinking about it, even though God created the seasons.

☑️ Eat lots of summer vegetables and fruits.
☑️ Go to sunflower field
☑️Have a picnic at night
☑️ watch fireworks
☑️ have guests over for dinner, etc….

I had a very productive summer. Thank you God!

I will take a late summer vacation in September. I am also thankful that I have been given time off.
I am now making a list of things I want to do in the fall.
Fall is the season of sweet potatoes, and many places will have sweet potato sweets and drinks. Mont Blanc, Tsukimi burgers! I would like to taste Chinese tea. I want to go see silver grass too!

Let’s enjoy the seasons God has made!

Shiori Kisangala

WIT23 Blessings: Akane Otsuka

It’s been a little over a month since wit23 ended, but the challenge of embracing humility that I learned at wit still continues within me every day. When one thinks of participating in wit as a member of the staff, it might not sound like going to a place to receive blessings or learning something great, but it’s more about organizing a camp to ensure that participants have a good time. Yet, I found myself returning from that place with an overwhelming amount of grace and challenges, surprised by witnessing the humility of the one who had worked there, more than anyone else. Despite my intention to guide participants at wit as someone who had prayed and prepared for months, seeking God’s Word and learning a lot about humility, I was told that I was the one who hadn’t humbled myself the most.

God has performed many miracles at wit. The entire staff was disappointed at the lower number of participants than usual. However, once it started, there was a moment of excitement as we realized there were exactly 12 people, just like the 12 disciples. Due to the small group, we were able to enjoy the handmade meals by JCFN staffs and that mealtime turned into a blessed time of fellowship which was one of the highlights. For one participant who was delayed and couldn’t arrive on time, we all prayed and stayed up until midnight waiting for her. When we thought there weren’t enough praise leaders, participants ended up leading worship, and the time of praise was blessed. On the last day, during a session that hadn’t been fully prepared until the last moment, a testimony was shared, and grace exploded. There are more instances, but from my perspective, every “Oops!” or “What do we do now?” moment was beautifully transformed into something good by the Lord. When I let go of my ideals and images and humbled myself before the Lord, He began to work and show miracles. In the midst of rough waves, I saw Jesus calm the sea and show miracles before a disciple who was panicking.

In my session, I focused on the love of Jesus. I don’t possess an extraordinary amount of knowledge about the Bible, nor do I have the gift of speaking publicly, so I’ve been anxious since I was recruited whether I can create meaningful moments. While preparing, one of the staffs advised me to “humble yourself before the Word of God.” With a humble heart, I prayed to the Lord, asking Him to work through me, realizing that it’s impossible for me to conduct this two-hour session solely with my abilities. In reality, if someone were to evaluate how much new learning my session provided, I wouldn’t know the exact assessment. However, I was content with just one participant saying, “Thank you for sharing the love of Jesus.” I was genuinely pleased that the Lord had comforted that person through me in that moment. Thank you, Jesus!

Personally, while speaking about the love of Jesus, I realized that I have sins preventing me from receiving His love openly. As I learned to humble myself before the Lord, I recognized how far from humility I usually am and how I often live for my own glory. Holding onto the joy of confessing “Jesus Christ is Lord” like in Philippians 2:11 at wit, I want to continue changing into an instrument that loves my brothers and sisters and serves the Lord.


Summer Celebration2023

Hi~! I’m Hoshimi Kanari, GiFT core group leader. I’d like to report on GiFT fellowship in the Kanto area of Japan and the Summer Celebration event held in July.

Introducing GiFT

GiFT (Growing in Fellowship Tokyo) is a gathering for returnees and returnee Christians in the Kanto area. I joined as a core group member of GiFT in 2021, and it’s my hope that GiFT will be additional place for everyone to enjoy each other and be filled with God’s love. GIFT is also where we can pass on blessings of this fellowship and the joy of serving onto the next generation. Many of those who attended a Christian church outside of Japan, encounter Jesus, and are saved, are often college students. I hope GiFT can be a place where the next generation of returnees and returnee Christians can rest when they return to the Kanto area and be encouraged in their faith life in Japan.

GiFT plans events every two months in the 2023 fiscal year. Up till last year, we held online events due to COVID19, but from this year hold in-person events entirely; a game night in May and Summer Celebration in July and are planning a picnic in September. (Saturday, September 9 from 5:00 p.m. at Yoyogi Park). We try to get together regularly with fellow returnees to share memories of life overseas, testimonies of our God experiences, and the difficulties of life in Japan, while praying and encouraging one another. Some people experience reverse culture shock after returning to Japan. I hope that we can experience together in the Japanese church the good things we experienced in churches overseas. For this purpose, please come to GiFT events! We’re also always looking for core members! If you have a heart for returnees and returnee Christians, why don’t you join us and serve at GiFT?

【Report on Summer Celebration】

On Saturday, July 29, 2023, Summer Celebration was held at the Ochanomizu Christian Center 8th floor Chapel. Summer Celebration is the largest of GiFT’s events. This year’s theme was “OUR HOME – The Kingdom of God here”. When we come home to Japan, sometimes feeling troubled and conflicted by the difficulty and rigidity of life in Japan, family and friends who don’t understand our faith, cultural differences in the Japanese church, and we sometimes feel as if “Japan is not the place for me”. However, the God who touched and met us overseas is also here in Japan. The Kingdom of God which we experienced overseas can also be experienced here in Japan. It makes sense that God has a plan to send us, whom He loves, to Japan. Therefore, let us pray and walk together so that this place where we are now will become OUR HOME and the Kingdom will spread in this land! We have chosen this theme with the hope that it will encourage you to do so. We welcomed Pastor Seiya Majima of New Hope Tokyo was our guest speaker, and he reminded us that God is indeed here in Japan, and that we should decide to love our neighbors! In a testimony, Makoto Miyashita shared how God led him to come to Japan from Australia, where he’d lived for 18 years, by various twists and turns, but also with God’s protection and provision. Makito Kawata, one of the early members of GiFT, led the worship time, and we were grateful to share heartfelt praise with him, including praise songs in English. In the latter half of the meeting, we divided into small groups to reflect on message and to pray for one another, sharing our own struggles and concerns. It was a good time of fellowship among returnees from the same countries and regions, and we thank God for that. I sincerely hope that the Kingdom of God will spread in Japan, starting with those who participated in the Summer Celebration this time.

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