Yu Hoshino, Candidate for JCFN Intern

After graduating from high school, I left Japan at the age of 18 to pursue university studies. I went to Hawaii as an exchange student, and in 2022, I enrolled at the Tokyo Bible Institute. I graduated from the one-year training course in 2023. During my first experience living abroad, I felt lost and stressed, my heart dried up in the face of the new land, environment, and culture. However, I started attending church, encountered God, and my life took a 180-degree turn.

During my six years abroad, I was supported by my family back home and the church family nearby. Like me, I witnessed many people in foreign countries listening to the gospel, experiencing God’s love, and believing in the Lord. My mother church, Honolulu Church, was located about a 5-minute walk uphill from the University of Hawaii, where I attended. Therefore, many short-term exchange students came to Honolulu Church to build community in Hawaii or to experience English immersion.

Through the church, I made friends and participated in activities like Youth Bible Study, hiking, and beach outings. Despite the short time, I enjoyed Hawaii with them. Such experiences encouraged me with the reminder that “I am not alone” no matter what. However, I often heard that once international students returned to Japan, they stopped attending church.

Reasons varied, including not knowing which church to attend, being too busy with life and work, unable to tell family about starting to attend church, or lacking Christian friends around. As someone who had sent off many international students, my initial thought was, “Even when I return to Japan, I want to stay connected to the church.” That was one of the reasons I enrolled in the Bible Institute. I wanted to support returning students, encourage them to connect with the church, and provide support. Such thoughts were instilled in me as I continued to attend worship services abroad.

Even after enrolling in the Bible Institute, unsure of my future path after graduation, I kept praying, “Lord, is there a burden for international student outreach? Is there any work for returning Christian students?”

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24).

The path that the Lord has given me now is an internship with JCFN in California. During my studies, I was given the opportunity to participate in the internship through Mr. Shizuki Shimizu. I was anxious whether this path was truly God’s will or if it was the path He had opened. However, by participating in the EC that I had been attending every year, I gained confidence in my path.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10).

I decided to walk in the “good works” that God has prepared for me rather than what people expect. I firmly believed that God, who uses us as instruments of righteousness, would never use us as instruments of unrighteousness. I resolved to entrust myself to God, who uses us as instruments of righteousness, and to surrender everything to Him.

Only God knows the “good works” prepared for us. I believe that as we obey the small things prepared before us, the Lord will transform us to live by His grace. Now, the path set before me is the internship with JCFN. Stepping into a new path requires courage. However, trusting in the word of the Lord and the Holy Spirit given to us without fear, I will walk with the Lord.

 

Please support Yu Hoshino

The participation fee for the internship to be held in California in May is still insufficient. A donation of $4,500 is required, covering travel expenses, meals, insurance, rent, and activity fees (for training and service at retreats, leadership camps, etc.).

Please pray that the needs will be met, and if you feel led, please contribute.

You can make a donation through the following methods:

Check: JCFN P.O. Box 17982, Irvine, CA 92623 (Please write “Intern Scholarship (Yu Hoshino)” in the memo section.)

Credit Card: [link] (Please select “Intern Fund” as the destination.)

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

 

Reflection on this year: Testimony of Allison (JCFN Intern)

A year ago, I could not have imagined all that 2023 would hold. God has been so faithful and gracious in providing new communities to serve and grow alongside. I’m thankful for my fellow believers who long to introduce people to Jesus and new friends from Japan and other countries who do not personally know Jesus yet. I’m so thankful for your encouragement and support this year and for the times I’ve been able to visit and see many of you. These past few weeks have been bittersweet with many farewells and preparations for this new season. I’m excited for this next step in the journey and to see God’s continued faithfulness as he opens the door to go to Japan. I anticipate that this next season will be stretching and exciting. Just like he provided for this past year, I’m confident he will continue to provide in another new place and culture.

As I’ve been processing and praying through this time, my gratitude for the family of God has deepened. For us in Christ, there are no goodbyes, there are only farewells. On the other hand, for those I have met this year that don’t know Christ, I grieve because I do not know if I will see them again. I’m so thankful that many of them know Christians and ask you to pray that God will continue to plant seeds in their hearts and ultimately open their hearts to believe and receive His saving grace. I’m reminded that this is our calling – to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.

Walking by faith,
Allison

*Allison had served as an intern with JCFN this past year.  Now she is heading off to Japan to serve there!  Please pray for her.  If you are interested in receiving her newsletter, please contact ushq@jcfn.org

Testimony: Allison Smith (JCFN Intern)

Allison has been serving as an intern at JCFN North America for about a year starting this January. She will be sent to Japan as a missionary through OMF International next February, but she will be serving at JCFN to prepare and train until then! This is a great blessing for us. She is currently in Southern California, where our office is located, participating in English conversation classes at several local churches and building relationships with people who are here due to expatriation or international marriage. She is also involved in leading bible studies, evangelizing to those students, and sharing the Word of God. This month we will be posting her testimony. Please pray for Allison and her ministry.

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I grew up in a Christian family and I came to believe in Jesus at a young age. I attended Cornerstone Bible Church in Glendora, California, and through the love and faithful teaching of my parents and church, learned about God and grew in my faith. When I was in junior high, I was baptized. Also, at this point, I thought I might like to be a missionary one day. Every year our church would have a missions conference where our missionaries would come and share about the work they were doing around the world. Through these stories, God began to work in my heart, and I thought I would one day like to serve in Kenya. Any chance I had, I participated in short-term service and mission trips, going to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Mexico by the time I graduated from high school.

In college, I finally thought I would have a chance to go to Kenya on one of Azusa Pacific University’s summer mission trips. However, I was not placed on a team going to Kenya, but on one going to Japan. At first I tried to go to Kenya through another way. However, my mentor at the time said that God sometimes changes plans. She encouraged me to take a step of faith and go to Japan. So, in 2014 I went. While I was there, God began to work in my heart and showed me how much the Japanese people needed His love in a way I would never have thought or imagined. I came back to the United States and started to invest in the local Japanese community, helping with an outreach ministry, attending a Japanese church when I could, and going to different Japanese conferences. It was incredible to see God at work through these ministries! God continued to give me a heart for the Japanese people and my focus shifted from wanting to be a missionary in Kenya to wanting to be a missionary in Japan.

God also was preparing me in other ways for mission work. I spent a semester studying in Ecuador where some of our curriculum was about missions. Here God showed me the importance of partnering with the people we go to serve, listening and learning from them, and being cautious about imposing my way of doing things or my culture on the communities we serve. I also attended Urbana, a large missions conference, and took a course called Perspectives on the World Christian movement, where God continued to grow my view of missions and the work He is doing in the world. For so long I had focused on the part of Matthew 28:19 where Jesus says “go,” but as I learned more about this verse, the main verb was “make disciples.” Missions is not as much about going as it is about making disciples. In Genesis 12:1-3, where God makes his covenant with Abraham, He says that all nations would be blessed through Abraham. God’s heart to reach the nations JCFN North America Director Letter April 2023 is not just something found in the New Testament, but is also seen in Genesis. Wow! God really does care about each of us knowing Him!

Through these different opportunities, a second trip to Japan in 2016, as well as in other ways, God continued to confirm his calling on my life towards missions in Japan. In June 2021, I was appointed with OMF International to go there long-term. OMF’s vision is “through God’s grace we aim to see an indigenous, biblical church movement in each people group of East Asia, evangelizing their own people and reaching out in mission to other peoples.” Less than 2% of the population of Japan are Christian, and it is the second largest unreached people group in the world. The need for new churches and the strengthening of existing churches in Japan is great. Additionally, a large majority of the existing churches have pastors over the age of 50 or no pastor at all. Overall, there is a need for the love, hope, and truth of Jesus in a place where many live without hope and have deep-rooted cultural ties to Buddhism and Shintoism.

In preparation for serving in Japan, I am interning with JCFN where I am serving with various ministries and churches in Southern California. These ministries include assisting in ESL classes, building relationships through English conversation and dinners with international students, English/Japanese Bible study, and attending the Nichigo service and senior fellowship at Wintersburg Presbyterian Church. In February 2024, I plan to attend OMF’s orientation and afterwards arrive in Japan. My first term with OMF is four years. The first couple of years, I will be spending time at their Japanese Language and Culture Center (JLCC) to learn the language and culture. I will also be assigned to a church during each of these years. After this, I will be assigned to a training designation, where I will continue learning the language and also be trained to serve in a ministry context, which will be determined during my time at JLCC. After this, I will come back for home assignment and pray through what the next step is in this journey. I am excited to see how God continues to lead in this journey of faith and how He will work for His glory! 

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