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.

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.

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