What I learned at WIT21

Kaoru Okamoto (in Atlanta, Georgia)

“I was able to participate in WIT21 at this moment and at this place.”

This summer, I moved from NJ, where I was born and raised, to Atlanta, where my university is located. I was able to start my new life with the help of various church brothers and sisters that I was able to meet online before I arrived, and I am so grateful that I have been able to attend church since the first week. On the other hand, I am realizing for the first time how hard it is for a newcomer to join a new community in a new place and blend in. I was aware that I was observing the new Christian community with a critical eye as well as comparing it to the church in NJ, but I didn’t know how to change or pray for myself. I also wondered how much I could commit to serve at the new church, as I would only be here for three years until I graduated from college, and I was becoming timid about serving God.

Being able to participate in WIT21 at that time was truly God’s leading. The theme was “COME(UNITY),” which was perfect for my situation, and I was able to learn from Philippians 2:1-5. One of the most important things I learned was “Christian Leadership Qualities”. “We don’t need to be great leaders because we are only fulfilling God’s plan, we can’t handle it on our own and we don’t need to try to solve it. Let’s rely on God.”

I am the only college student in my church and the only Japanese student in my university, but there are many universities in Atlanta and many Japanese students. After WIT21, I have a stronger desire to connect with Japanese students, rather than passively looking for a community in Christ. My eyes have been opened to the fact that I don’t have to wait until I grow up to be a leader or an adult, but that God will provide me with wisdom and help when I act on what He shows me.

I’m currently making a praise video of “Spirit, Touch Your Church” with a Christian friend I met at WIT21 on a YouTube channel called BIG Praise House, and the lyrics “I want to care for others like Jesus cared for me ” lyrics go through my mind. I would appreciate it if you would remember and pray for me to be a humble servant in this way.

Central Conference 2021 Testimony (2)

My name is Luke Weng, and I live in Vancouver, BC. I am in a strange position where I am neither in work or school. That’s because I am recovering from 2 cancers and going through a 3rd one as of this moment.

I first heard about CC through my Gakusekai small group at VJGC(Vancouver Japanese Gospel Church). I have heard them talking about it, and it piqued my interest. I tried signing up for CC20 but I couldn’t find the register button haha.

I feel that God taught me many things through the conference. My knowledge and understanding of being a neighbor has been taken to another level. It happened when I was told that Jesus has become my neighbor and to do likewise to put Luke 10:25-37 into action. That statement really made me put myself into the perspective of the person who Jesus was talking to. Not only does it change my view of this scripture, but see Jesus not just as my Savior but as a good friend.

My favorite part of the conference were the games we played before ending each day, especially on the 2nd night (even though I didn’t get picked </3). It not only broke the ice between the participants, but it allowed me to make friends with the other people. I was deeply moved when everybody treated me with love and kindness even though I was a foreigner who doesn’t even speak Japanese. 

I’m definitely coming to the future Central Conferences. Now, every time I think of the phrase “Christians” the people in CC are who first come to my mind!

Central Conference 2021 Testimony (1)

Natumi Iwamoto  (in Wisconsin)

I am currently studying abroad in Wisconsin, U.S.A. In 2019, where I met Jesus for the first time in my life and then got saved, and now I am sharing the joy and fun in the Lord with my brothers and sisters through InterVarsity, a campus ministry.

I first learned about JCFN when I attended the National Gathering hosted by IV online last summer. Since then, I’ve been introduced to many people that God has connected me with, which led me to EC and CC.

Through CC 21, I was able to rethink the immeasurable love of Jesus, who sacrificed so much to be with us. No matter who you are, no matter how difficult it seems, Jesus is the first one to come close to you and touch your wounds, not because of what you have done. I hope we can always look up to Jesus, our best model, and love others with a lower self. I kept praying during CC21 that I would be able to do more of that, and that you would help me to do so. I am so grateful for the three wonderful CC days, where I was repeatedly fascinated by God’s wide, long, high and deep love.

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