My Ministry in Atlanta

Hello! I’m Daisuke, the North American head who loves ramen.

…I started writing, but this time I won’t touch on ramen at all. (Ah, I really want to eat ramen…)

I’d like to touch on the recent situation in Atlanta.

Maybe because I’ve been serving as the Director of Equipper Conference for a few years now, I’ve been hearing a bit more about EC’s image lately. But the original heart and passion of our ministry lie in “Local Ministry.” I also recall that my path as a ministry was cultivated by opportunities to share testimonies and the gospel with international students and expatriate families.

I live in Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta is the largest city in the southern United States on the East Coast!

When I first came here, I didn’t understand anything, but now I find myself being introduced to more Japanese people in the community.

In addition to JCFN, where I am, there are several missionary organizations reaching out to Japanese people, and we work together as a team to minister. It’s nice to be able to focus on God’s work together without any territorial disputes or feelings of being taken or taking from others. It’s beautiful!

The work in the Atlanta area is largely focused on “Events,” “Building community networks,” and “building a Personal relationship”

We hold an “English Cafe” every month, where not only non-Christian international students gather, but also parents with kids to those in their 30s. By the way, when it comes to February, the world celebrates Valentine’s Day!! In the February English Cafe, we plan to discuss the difference between the love celebrated in the world and the love Christians receive. It’s a team event where we have weekly meetings and make various preparations for this packed content.

 

We also value collaboration with local churches, pastors, and missionaries.

We plan gatherings with the collaboration of churches to invite Japanese non-Christians to fellowship. It’s a precious opportunity for them to learn about “What is a Christian?”.

Through cooperation with local Christians, we aim to further introduce our ministry, hoping that when people connect with Japanese individuals, they’ll also connect with the Tsuchida family!

Lastly, we provide support for understanding in Japanese.

When spoken to in English, even if we don’t understand, as Japanese people, we tend to say things like “Yeah…” (laughs). I totally understand that feeling… Even though we’re told “If you don’t understand, ask,” it’s like we can’t bring ourselves to ask!

However, as a result of such casual responses, Americans often happily report things like “He accepted Jesus”… well, I guess that’s to be expected.

But later, when you ask in Japanese, you might hear, “Huh! That’s not exactly what happened!!” – the language/culture issue.

Personally, I take opportunities to ensure that through testimonies, scriptures, and prayers in Japanese, individuals can truly understand what the Bible teaches.

Because it’s a ministry for Japanese people overseas, I feel that understanding in Japanese is even more important every day.

In the place where God has put me,

I will do my best!

House Hunting

It’s really hot, isn’t it! Atlanta is hot too.

This summer, I’ve been sweating a lot.
The cause is moving.

In Japan, when looking for a rental property, you should consider the “area,” “rent,” and “layout,” and then the real estate staff will take you here and there by car, and you can have fun thinking about this and that.

In the case of America, it seems that searching for rental properties online is common.

In our case, for the past year since moving to the U.S. last year, we have been living with two American men. One of them is going to move out, and all the rent and living expenses have been split evenly, so losing one person is a big change. Living together always requires filling the gap left by the reduced number of people and is influenced by the situation. Furthermore, our oldest daughter is already in high school. I thought it might be time for her to stop living with the opposite sex.

So, that’s why we decided to move!

From there, it’s… I never thought it would be so difficult…

In Georgia, you are required to provide proof that your “monthly income is more than three months’ worth of rent.” Real estate has skyrocketed since COVID, and the hurdles are high (ーー;) Furthermore, “safety” and “school district” are clearly reflected in the rent.

House hunting is extremely challenging.

Since I couldn’t find anything, online searches ended up extending to remote suburban areas with almost no people. But you know, when you’re pushed to the edge, that’s how it goes.

In such an area, I found a house that stuck in my mind. I checked the local area, and it seemed safe (because it’s rural), so I started entering information into the application form right away!

The screen displayed “You are the first applicant!!” I did it! All that was left was to submit the application online, and…

…the property suddenly disappeared?!

When I inquired, they said someone else had signed the contract just before me. I had been searching for five months, and it was the only place I wanted to be.

Oh no… it was a dark day. I finally found one after five months.

The next day, I suddenly received a call from a pastor in Atlanta, and he said, “A property from someone I know is about to become available.” It was an area that I had been unable to find for so long.

Without even seeing the property, I said, “Please, that’s where I want to go.”

If I had signed the contract for the previous property, this story wouldn’t exist. It was the best place I’ve ever been to.

When I lost it once, it was pitch dark. I wish I had known this outcome in advance, but God suddenly opens up unexpected places at unexpected times. We often forget, but God truly opens up a path in seemingly impossible places, doesn’t He!

Tweet from the staff: Do you know what WTP is?(Setsu Shimizu)

Have you ever heard of “WTP”?

This is a Japanese Christian pod cast.by Pacific Broadcasting Association (PBA). And it’s the most popular podcast in the religious category!

It’s a talk show hosted by the well-known Rev. Shigenori Oshima, who is also familiar to JCFN, where he invites various guests. When it started in 2016, it was a program co-hosted by Rev. Masaru Asaoka, one of the speakers at EC23. Anyway, it’s really funny and interesting. They talk about things completely unrelated to faith, like fashion, hobbies, and food, but they also honestly and deeply answer various questions about faith based on their own experiences. There are many insightful and educational moments on the show.

And guess what, I appeared on it too!!! It airs on days with a 7 in them.

By the way, my husband, Mao, also appeared on the show before. It’s the program where the phrase “Pray and let go!!” was born.

 

Mao’s appearance on Episode 065

Mao’s appearance on Episode 066 

 

Mao also talks a lot about JCFN. Of course, I do too!

If you’re interested, please give it a listen! (But be warned, once you start, you might want to listen to all the back episodes too!)

Episode 138 (guest: Setsu 1)

Episode 139 (guest: Setsu 2)

Episode 140 (guest: Setsu 3)

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