Looking Up at Everest… Will I ever climb this mountain path… or can I!?

I feel like I’m looking up at Everest… Will I ever climb this mountain path… or can I!? This is the real feeling I had when I started to seek to be the JCFN staff a few years ago.

I have many opportunities to talk about the reasons that led me to the ministry, but surprisingly few opportunities to talk about the period between my return to Japan and the installation. For the first two years after returning to Japan, I worked part-time as a couple. I made shiso rolls (have you ever heard of shiso rolls? ), my wife had a part-time job teaching English at a children’s school, and on weekends, we visited churches that asked us to come. At the churches I have visited, I have been told, “That’s a great decision and faith.” At such times, I could not say, “I believe in God, I am filled with peace, and I have no worries…” It wasn’t that great. I was happy and sad, and sometimes depressed. But each time I was shown that it was not up to me to do something about it, but that God would always open the door. Everything is in God’s hands, and “what He does, He does!” It was a period of time when I saw this obvious thing. I realized how easy it is to forget or doubt this simple thing. It’s like the Israelites in the Bible. Whenever I feel weak, I realize, “So that’s why I need to rely on God!” Through this repetition, I think I have been able to take one step at a time.

In the past, there were many times when I wondered if my family size would be a hurdle to overcome, or if I would have to worry too much about my financial situation. However, I have not taken this step alone, but as a family, and my wife and children have been led to this point while going through their own challenges. I believe that this was a preparation period that God gave us in order to be used as a family. It is definitely God’s best for this family to be led together. It is definitely God’s best for us to be led as a family because God, who is full of wisdom and love, has opened this time as the best time for us to be led.

Please pray that they will be granted visas. Also, our daughters have been meeting and parting with friends, and each time it has been painful, but new friends have been given to them everywhere. Please pray that they will be given good friends and a good environment in the midst of future changes, and pray that the ministry will be used in the places where they are given.

Daisuke Tsuchida

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WIT21 was great

Keito Okamoto (in Texas)

Hello, good evening, and good morning to everyone who reads this testimony. My name is Keito Okamoto and I am a college student in Houston, Texas, USA. This is the first time for me to write my testimony, so it may be difficult to read, but I hope you will read it until the end. So now, I would like to share my testimony.

I came to the United States on January 1, 2020 as an international student. As soon as I arrived, I could not understand English and only said “Yes” and “No” like a robot. However, when I began to understand English to a certain extent and was able to lead a reasonable daily life and university life, I suddenly had a question. Why did God send me to America? Why Texas? Why Houston? That’s when I started to wonder. Through daily Bible reading, prayer, and looking at the current situation of Japanese Christians in Houston, God gave me the answer. “God gave me the task to “share God’s word with Japanese students in Houston. When I found out about this, I immediately started a FB group to take action. Let’s tell people about God! But I had never created such a community before, so I didn’t know what to do even if I started it out of the blue. When I was praying and worrying, I received an invitation to join WIT21. At first I was like, “What is WIT? But when I heard the explanation, I thought, “This is it! What if! I had no choice but to join!” I thought, “God has heard my prayers for my problems and is leading me!” I decided to join.

I was so excited and nervous when WIT21 started. 4 sessions were held in 2 days and all of them were wonderful. There were four sessions in two days and all of them were wonderful. One of them was from 1 Corinthians 12:5-6, there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.”  This is a session that was spoken from that here are differences in theology, differences in thinking, differences in gifts, and differences in the way we serve, but the God we serve is the same. I learned that we are united by God. This was a great session for me as I am now thinking about building a community. He also talked about the importance of accountability partners. What is an accountability partner?

(1) A relationship where people listen to what needs to be heard
(2) A relationship in which we watch each other in our spiritual growth.
(3) A relationship in which we can share, report and point out to each other for that purpose.
(4) A relationship of intentional and voluntary involvement.

I learned that it is important to have people who can support me in my faith life in order to build a community.

I would like to continue to follow God as an agent of His plan. I would also appreciate it if you would remember to pray for the gospel for the Japanese students in Houston.

Thank you to all the staff at WIT21.

 

WIT 21 Testimony

Saki Nishikori(in New Jersey)

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 2:1-5)

Those who served in the WIT program led workshops on how to grow as a community leader. They also shared their testimonies of their ministry experiences. They talked and reminded us to be humble leaders like Jesus, not just socially acceptable leaders, but leaders that God would be pleased to see us become.

I’m currently studying at a state university in NJ, serving at a Japanese Christian church I’ve attended since before I was born, and in youth and college ministry on the East Coast. Specifically, I have a desire to connect with and evangelize Japanese and Japanese-Americans in the NJ/NY area.

At this year’s Central Conference, Rev. Kurisu talked about whose neighbor Jesus would have been if he were in today’s society. Since then, I have been thinking about who I should be a neighbor to. Then the faces of the people around me who needed Jesus the most came to mind. And through this WIT, I realized that I want to walk in the same way that Jesus approached and showed His love to those people who may not be easy to get along with or to be friends with, but who need God’s love. Through WIT, I was able to learn a lot about how to humble myself, let go of my pride, and live a life centered on Christ’s love in both Christian and non-Christian communities.

I still have a lot to study and learn, but God spoke to me deeply as I prayed with the friends and staff I met at WIT. Ministries are not something you do by your own efforts, but something you give with gratitude and joy, just by God’s grace and love. And that God would provide us with the friends and needs we needed, regardless of our own shortcomings and weaknesses. As we build up our new community, I hope that great blessings will be poured out as we seek God in every process.

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