NEW! Tsu-Na-Gu

Hello! My name is Etsuko Hotta, JCFN associate staff 😊

It’s time to feel the beginning of early summer from the fresh green season! I think some of you have started a new life in the new year, such as going on to higher education, getting a new job, or changing jobs. In such a new environment, some of you may feel again the importance of connecting with God and others. Connection is very important!

What kind of connections do you have now?

I have been working with Christians and communities overseas, arranging homestays for Christian host families, connecting with Christian communities to connect them with local churches, and praying with local Christians to bring students into contact with the love of Christ during their study abroad experience. We pray together with local Christians to help students experience the love of Christ during their study abroad experience, and we work as a “Tsu-Na-Gu” (connecting) ministry to support students from the time they are sent to their home countries until they return home.

The Tsu-Na-Gu ministry is a ministry of connecting non-Christians and Christians with Christians overseas, with the earnest hope and prayer that they will stay connected to God, His family, and His church after returning to Japan! We have connected students with Christians in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, and Malaysia, and have seen students who did not even know Jesus Christ before they went to Japan to be touched by the love of Christ and saved during their study abroad experience, from as little as 3 weeks to over a year. Some have been saved while studying abroad, while others have not yet confessed their faith, but have been led to confession of faith and baptism after returning to their home countries, and are now living a life of faith.

As part of Tsu-Na-Gu’s support for returnees, we have an online group of 20-something returnees living in the Chugoku area who gather together to read and share the Bible, and sometimes gather in person for a meal together.

We hope that Tsu-Na-Gu will become such a place. By God’s grace, it is a great joy and blessing that the returnees connected to Tsu-Na-Gu are able to overcome various difficulties, stay connected to God and His family, and walk together in the process of being transformed and made into the likeness of Christ as they study His word and pray together, rather than being isolated in their faith. It is a great joy and blessing.

I hope and pray that the Lord will continue to use Tsu-Na-Gu to connect us with God’s love.

God is really good at connecting people to each other 😊 I hope you all connect with the people God is trying to connect you with. Let’s connect with God’s love!

New regional meeting: KONNECT

I have long prayed for a place for returnees in Kanagawa Prefecture, the second most populous prefecture in Japan. I have decided to start a Kanagawa Prefecture returnee meeting, Konnect.

The “K” in Konnect represents Kanagawa Prefecture, while “Konnect” means “to connect” in Japanese. Our aim is to foster connections with God, fellow Christian returnees, and the church, all while having fun in the Lord. We hope to be a place where people can connect with each other and with the Lord.

Meetings occur bi-monthly, welcoming returnee Christians, non-Christians familiar with the gospel, and those open to embracing returnee Christians.

mochi-paeties

Konnect originated from a returnee gathering last November, featuring themed activities like Mochi parties and cherry blossom viewings(Hanami), with a BBQ planned for the third meeting. Mealtime fellowship holds significance for returnees.

Each gathering includes testimonies, often evoking tears and praise to the Lord. I’ve prayed for this meeting for over five years, and God has led us to gather 17 people. From there, we shared the vision, core members were given, and the Lord has been leading and blessing this ministry.

Hanami

Non-Christian have also been given each time., and some participants will be baptized soon. We pray that Konnect continues to glorify God by connecting returnees to the church, each other, and Him.

Follow us on Instagram and join us at Konnect when you return to Kanagawa Prefecture.

https://www.instagram.com/konnect_kanagawa?igsh=OGlpejhlY3Fiemhs

Frequency: Once every two months

Eligibility:

1) Returnee Christians (Christians who were saved overseas or have experienced overseas)

2) Non-Christians who have heard the gospel overseas

(3) Those who want to accept returnee Christians.

 

JCFN staff
Shiori Kisangala

R35+, a ministry for adult returnees, re-launches🕊

R35+

Do you know how to read it?

It reads “R Thirty-Five Up.”

R stands for Returnee’s R.
35 is the age of 35 years old.
+ is read as “up,” meaning “over” 35 years old. And up, meaning “looking up” to God.

 

When GRC21 was held online due to the Corona Disaster, there were regional gatherings. The people over 35 who were in the group together there shared a heart that there was a need for a place for adult returnees to gather, and R35+ began in July 2021.

Objectives of R35+:
(1) Fellowship among people of the same age group
(2) A place where lonely and tired adult returnee Christians scattered all over Japan can gather, look up to God together, and rest in Him. We want them to walk back being encouraged by God.

Online meetings continued for about two years. We gathered around the message and small groups, and each time the survey said how encouraged they were through the fellowship.After the May 2023 online meeting, we took a break for about six months to give ourselves time to pause. With the core members who had been involved, we reaffirmed the blessings we had received from being involved in ministry and the blessings God had shown us through ministry. Indeed, it was a period of rest where we shared again the importance of the ministry that was started by a heart from God and the importance of continuing to receive that heart.

After a period of rest, we held an online meeting on the 2nd of this month for the first time in about 10 months. The small group lasted a full hour. Even so, some said they would have liked to have talked more. We also took time to talk about what we are especially looking forward to for R35+ in the future, and it was clear that this is a ministry that has been eagerly awaited during the break period. They also shared their feelings that it is difficult to find a place in the church for those over 35 years of age unless they are of child-rearing age, and it was a time to reflect on the significance of R35+.

 

 

As we proceeded with our ministry following the restart of R35+, we were taught the importance of pausing and confirming God’s heart.

 

The future R35+ is,

July 6th (Sat) Online Gathering
September 16 (Monday, Respect-for-Senior-Citizens Day) Picnic (Tokyo)
October-November Online Gathering

And we are also praying for a limited time small group to be held between the online gathering and the meetings.

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