Through the BBWIT

On 29 April (national holiday), a seminar on ‘Understanding Returnee Christians’ was held at the CBI near Nagoya Station.

At first, around November last year, he said, “I want to do a seminar in Nagoya. I would like to form a team and build up the seminar.” JCFN staff called on us to do so. I wondered if this was possible, as there were currently only a limited number of people involved in returnee ministry in the area, but I joined the team in the hope that the understanding of returnee Christians in the area would spread to local churches and individuals.

The team consists of six people who are involved in the Tokai region and have a desire to work with returnee Christians, and started in February this year. Preparation took about three months. The main preparation was to take charge of each chapter in pairs and present it based on the text book ‘Understanding Returnee Christians’. In between Zoom meetings, which were held about once a month, each pair read the text, compiled it into a PowerPoint presentation and prepared it by frankly discussing their opinions at the meetings. Although we only had a total of four Zoom meetings to prepare, we felt that what each of us had prepared was exquisitely intertwined and came together as one. In particular, team members followed the Lord’s lead in saying, “Bring it here” (Matthew 14:18), and offered their individual gifts to the Lord, such as making flyers, leading worship, sharing testimonies, negotiating, and preparing refreshments, and we were overflowing with gratitude to the Lord for blessing us many times over with them.

 

On the day of the seminar, just under 30 people gathered. Starting with the testimonies of two returnees, we were able to think about “how to understand and accept people with different backgrounds from our own” and return to the idea that “the essence of the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ should remain the same” no matter what their background. I myself was a returnee Christian who stumbled after returning home, but through the seminar it became clear to me that this experience was also a way to be there for someone else. I was also grateful that I was able to reaffirm my Christian identity, saying that a returnee Christian will always be a returnee Christian.

At present, our ministry to returnee Christians in the Tokai region continues to be a small ministry. We believe that more and more people will encounter Christ and return to their home countries in the future as a characteristic of the region. We would like to continue to connect with the people who participated in this seminar, and we hope and pray that the Lord will continue to do new things in the future.

Yoshiko Nishisako

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