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.
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.