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♡.

Testimony of R35+ ministry

Blessings Given by God for Being Involved in the Ministry

Akana Nakamura

In 2016, at the age of 35, I was saved in Canada (Toronto) where I was studying for a short time and returned home. Immediately after returning home, I connected with a JCFN small group, which was my first encounter with JCFN. I then attended GiFT events in Tokyo and EC, where I was blessed to meet many people. However, many of them were a little younger than me, and although they were all very friendly, I found myself drawing a line between them and myself and not being able to fully fit in. There was something in my heart that I could not share even if I shared it with them. After that, I was led to seminary and my life changed, so I stayed away from JCFN small groups and meetings for about 2 or 3 years. When I attended GRC last year, all the members in the same group at the regional network were “adult” sisters in their 40s or older, and we wondered, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a ministry for the older generation of GiFT members?” We talked about this. And so, “R35+ (up)” was launched for returnees and those who have feelings for returnees over 35 years old. The origin of the name “R35+ (up)” comes from the idea that “we who are older (up) should look up together to God who is even older (up). As a ministry verse, Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. I will give you rest.” We meet every three months, mainly for small group sharing.

At the beginning of the ministry, a leader needed to be appointed, and I was asked to step into that role. This is my first time. I was not a leader, and I was not confident. However, during the GRC, I remembered how strongly God wanted me to reach out to the lonely returnees scattered all over Japan, and I wanted to respond to God’s call. Was this gathering really needed? Was this really God’s call? I was anxious. However, my fears were removed when I saw the smiles on the faces of the participants when they returned to the main session after their small groups, and heard the comments from the participants: “I am glad I attended,” “I was blessed,” “We needed a place like this,” and “Please keep doing this. I was filled with a joy that cannot be expressed in words. This was a joy I had never felt before as a participant.

Seeing Christians who are younger and brighter than I am, saved in my mid-30s, I wondered “Why didn’t God save me earlier? What in the world can I do now?” I complained to God about it. I am amazed that God heard this whisper and led me to God’s work that I/we can do because of who I/we are now. God is amazing. From the beginning of this ministry until now, I have felt that this belongs to God. I tend to be prideful and think it is my own strength when people compliment me or when I succeed, but it is strange that I don’t think “I/we are doing it” when it comes to this ministry. I think this is the blessing that God is giving us through this ministry, to be able to say in prayer without pretending, “God, this is your ministry. At the same time, I feel that it is also the greatest blessing to know the realization and joy of being a part of God’s work and the joy of seeing God restore people. We hope that through this ministry, God will heal, encourage, and draw even more “adult” returnees and supporters of returnees to Him. With thanksgiving to the Lord for everything.

EC Youth Camp Testimonies

Hello everyone! This time, we would like to share with you the testimonies from the EC Youth Camp held at the end of the year!
Please be encouraged by the honest and pure testimonies of the youth! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

 

It was my first time to go to a place where I didn’t know anyone and I was scared, but everyone was so friendly and there were so many unique leaders that I felt so blessed. I really enjoyed playing games and praising God. We don’t usually dance at my church but I enjoyed worshipping and dancing to the “Arinomama Song “. I am so glad to have good memories at the end of 2011! Mai (7th grader)

 

A few things that God said to me was that He needs me to spread the Word, and He wants to see me when my time is up on the earth.  Stuff I learned at EC is that God forgives and loves His children who are people that know He is real.  Nick (10th grader)

 

I never really heard or learned about our identity in God world, or the Kingdom, at church or camp before so it was really eye opening.  At home, my family talks about identity and gift, but not this deep.  For a while now, I really hate my gift of music/violin, but I feel like God is telling me to step up and accept it as a part of my identity.  The words like “identity”, “telling others about God”, “God will use you,” and “use your gift” has been coming into my ear a lot, so I want to try and love my gift even if it’s going a long, hard road to drive.  Also, I want to try and use it to spread and expand the Kingdom like we learned.  Mana (11th grader)

 

Identity was something I had never really thought of or worried about.  But when I heard about identity at this EC, I realized it was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  However, I heard the words, “I am loved by You.  That is who I am” in “Good Good Father”.  And I thought, that’s it!  That’s what I am; a being loved by God. 

It’s so easy to put my identity in things I can do, or what others think of me.  I know it’s going to become even harder to remember my true identity as I become an adult.  So, all my life, I want to constantly return to the fact that I am God’s daughter.  And though this quest is very hard for me, I want God to make me willing to go out and help others find their Kingdom identity, too.  Ellie (12th grader)

 

EC21 was a blessing for me.  I was truly able to focus on the message, reconsider my thoughts and place in this spiritual journey, understand and resonate with the message.  Those messages also were great.

EC also allowed me to take another step in this spiritual journey, starting to walk the path with God.  This was a great experience for me that allowed me to truly think about my journey in this spiritual area.

Another thing is that I was able to think about myself receiving baptism.  Those questions were questions that I needed in my spiritual life, as I was stuck, even though I had hands reaching to me to help me.  This time, I was able to grab those helping hands and think about wanting to receive baptism.  Max  (10th grader)

 

Before I went to EC, I always thought I was stupid!  Or I am bad!  But when I went to EC, they talked about identity.  Identity meaning you are a child of God and you are beautiful in His sight.  It felt like He was saying to me, “you are not bad or stupid, Anthony.  You are my child!”  I am a child of God.  EC was very fun!  I still kind of have a problem that I think I am so bad, but I need to remember my identity in Kingdom!  Anthony  (6th grader)

 

We thank God for the blessings He has given to each and every one of our youth! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

 

 

 

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