Central Conference 24 Testimony (1) Junko Carper

Hallelujah, I praise the name of the Lord Jesus.

This time, CC 24 was titled “Kingdom Citizenship” (Philippians 3:20).

For me, there was a more compelling reason to participate than the title itself.

Currently, in my faith, although Jesus is near, He is obscured by a mist, making Him unclear to see and inaudible to hear. However, because I believe that the living Jesus is by my side, I wanted to cling to even the hem of His garment or His shadow.

Believing it was the Lord’s will, we began a church plant in our area at the beginning of this year with home gatherings after long prayers.

Though it started with joy and hope, the attendance has been less than expected, making me doubt if this is truly God’s will, if this is the right place, or if we are the right people for this task.

I found myself giving up on inviting seekers after multiple attempts and hesitating to reach out again.

Just as I thought the foundation had been laid, I was at a standstill, wondering what God wanted from me when CC happened.

On the first day, Pastor Ichikawa, the guest speaker, spoke about our identity as citizens of God’s kingdom. At that moment, I realized I had lost sight of my identity in God’s kingdom. Guided by the Holy Spirit, I started by examining my own heart.

As I participated in the main gatherings, small groups, and early morning prayer meetings, the Holy Spirit poured into my dry heart like water into a sponge. Even as it overflowed, it continued to be filled without running dry.

It felt as if all the accumulated burdens within me were washed away and replaced with new, fresh water.

In the meeting, Pastor Ichikawa said that in the Bible, the Holy Spirit is represented as fire, water, oil, and wind—sources of energy.

We also cannot function without the supply of this energy.

Perhaps I was merely content with my actions of praying, having devotions, and worshipping. I had forgotten to persistently seek God.

When I heard this, the initial desire to cling to the hem of Jesus’ garment resurfaced strongly, and I couldn’t stop it. As this feeling grew, I felt the Holy Spirit filling me. I physically felt the compassion of the Holy Spirit. I finally regained my identity, and my perspective on the church plant changed. I realized that I had been trying to do everything by my own strength, without truly seeking the Lord’s help.

Now, I find joy in everything the Lord has prepared for me and can look forward to what He will provide.

I realized that what I thought was good on my own was actually an attempt to move without the fuel from the Holy Spirit.

CC was filled with constant touch and gratitude toward the Lord, and renewed anticipation for the kingdom of God. We witnessed many works of the Holy Spirit, including the salvation of one person and her child in our small group. We saw her face change day by day right before our eyes.

We shed tears of joy together.

The reasons I needed to attend were answered from the first day until the end, and I am still filled with joy.

God truly provides what is needed at the perfect timing.

Let me share the word given by the Lord:

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)

I am grateful to our Heavenly Father for giving me this time, to my family for sending me off warmly, and to everyone in the church who prayed for this.

 

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