God Living in Me (Central Conference Testimony)

I would like to thank all the people involved with the JCFN and the conference director, Mrs. Yu Okaya, for asking me to share my testimony for the Central Conference 2022 – Reconnect – afterwards! I am grateful for this precious opportunity, and I will give my testimony while praying that all the glory will go to God alone.

Finally, this is my first in-person JCFN conference, and I have been preparing for it as a committee member with my beloved brothers and sisters, and I will be allowed to serve as a small group director. I was really looking forward to the opportunity to finally meet those brothers and sisters face-to-face, whom I had only met on Zoom, and to hear Pastor Seki’s message in the audience. When I found out that I was Corona positive and that I would not be able to attend the event at the same venue as everyone else, I was just so bitter, sad, and frustrated that I cried so hard I didn’t know how much tears could come out. I even felt anger toward God in my heart. It was not the way I had expected, but I was able to participate through the live streaming, and the kind God, who is the One of love, was with me throughout the three days and spoke to me a lot. I am now convinced that each and every Bible verse that Pastor Seki spoke on the theme of “Reconnect” was necessary for me to hear in that place because I was in that situation at that time. I was filled with an inexpressible peace, especially as I slowly chewed over again the story of the prodigal son, a story I had read and heard so many times before. When I pictured in my mind’s eye the scene of the son who had gone away, lost everything, and returned home at his wits’ end, and the father who had waited for his beloved son all these years, it made me think again of the overwhelming love of our Heavenly Father, how immeasurable His love is. At the same time, he said to his angry brother, “Child, you are always with me. All that is mine is yours.” Again I was filled with an inexpressible peace, as if God was gently saying to me, “I have always been with you, and I am with you now. I realized how many good things God had already given me that I did not deserve.

God poured out more blessings than I could have ever expected at CC22, which I attended in a very special way. I had been dead in darkness, separated from my Creator, not knowing the truth, but He appeared to me as light and brought me back to life as a new person, the same God whose love is exactly the same as when we first met, and who loves me completely, no matter what my circumstances. That He searches my thoughts and knows my feelings and sees me. And that He is holding my hand. The more I think back on my experience at CC22, the more I feel grateful to my living Heavenly Father, my Lord and my God, who is truly good in every situation. I want to give thanks to God who is still living in me today, who strengthens my faith in ways that I cannot imagine, sometimes in unexpected ways, and who allows me to encounter God’s love more and more and reconnect with that love.

Natsumi Iwamoto

Prayer Circle of Returned Christians in Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu Connected by the Lord ♡

Hello everyone!

My name is Etsuko Hotta living in Tottori Prefecture😊.

This time I would like to tell you about the wonderful work of God who is very good at connecting people with people!

At the “regional meetings” held at the JCFN EC and GRC, there were fewer returnees from the Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu area than from the Kanto and Kansai areas, where many returnees gather, and I felt somewhat sad about that. I felt saddened thinking that returnees who moved from abroad to the Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu areas might have been isolated in their faith. How sad to even think about it! Aren’t there really more returnees in the Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu areas who just aren’t connected to each other? I want to strengthen the network of returnees in western Japan! (I myself am not a returnee like Setsu. Yup, a Christian born in Japan! LOL).

I expressed this desire to several members of the Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu region gathered at the GRC21 regional meetings, and we agreed that we should first get to know each other and then connect! We agreed that we should get to know each other and connect! We prayed for guidance and wondered what we could do, and from there our Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu group’s monthly online gatherings began. Our members are returnees from the U.S. and New Zealand, living in Okayama, Shimane, Tottori, Kochi, Kagawa, Fukuoka, and Daegu, Korea (originally from Okayama), and new returnees are being added as we continue to meet. In our meetings, we share the difficulties we are facing, encourage each other to outreach to returnees who are not connected to the church or God’s family, and pray for each other. We also sometimes hear testimonies and ponder the Word together. We started this online gathering not knowing if we could continue, but God has connected us and led us, and it has been a year now. Thank you, God!

We are looking forward to what God wants to do through this Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu group (we are currently considering the name of the group), and we pray that each member will be equipped to give glory to the Lord in the places to which he or she has been sent.
Ephesians 4:16 says, “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” We, too, should be complemented and united with each other by Christ, work according to our own portion, and be built up by His love, becoming the body of Christ that covers Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu, even though we live in different areas!

And may it be connected to the whole body of Christ that covers all of Japan♡.

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