Summer 2008 Rapport: A unique calling to Japanese people in America
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I was a full-time AGTS International student from 1997 to 1999. After I graduated from AGTS, I went back to Japan and became a women’s pastor at Kanazawa Christ Church. During the following five years, God blessed me through my marriage to Daisuke, who is a gentle and wise man of God; our two daughters, who bring us great joy; and the youth and women’s ministry.
God brought me back to United States in March 2005 so that my husband could go to AGTS for more theological study. For the first nine months, we lived in Carbondale, Ill., where my husband worked on his English language skills. Yet God had a plan for us to reach out to many Japanese international students even while we were there. We met many Japanese non-Christian students who go to Southern Illinois University. At the church we attended, we focused on reaching out to international students. We shared the gospel and prayed with as many as possible. God saved thirteen Japanese international students, and all were baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit.
Our family moved to Springfield, Mo., in December 2005, and my husband began his busy schedule of studies at AGTS. I was busy too, raising our two little ones as well as praying and helping my husband study. Then, in September 2006, I heard about a Japanese garden in Springfield. I went there with my older daughter, explaining to her what a Japanese festival is. As I did, a new idea came to my heart: start a Japanese ministry. I was surprised at the thought of doing such a thing in the American midwest.
The next Sunday night, I was at church listening to Pastor Jim Bradford (senior pastor at Central Assembly of God) preach. Suddenly the Holy Spirit convicted me and led me to the altar to repent of being focused on my busy life and not on his mission. I could not stop crying—crying knowing Jesus’ grief over the selfish, busy Christian like me. When I left the altar, I sensed his empowerment. That week I met many Japanese people for the first time and had an opportunity to reach out to a Japanese woman.
The next Sunday morning, this new Japanese friend came to Central Assembly with me. I shared the gospel with her, and she accepted Jesus as her personal savior. She experienced his miraclulous work in her financial situation and told her American husband about this great miracle. The next Sunday, this couple and their daughter were baptized.
In the same month at Central Assembly, October 2006, God saved two more Japanese women who had married American husbands. The Holy Spirit led me to start a Japanese Ladies Bible Study every Thursday morning at the church. Now (April 2008) seven women meet weekly to hear God’s Word, pray together, and enjoy fellowship over a Japanese lunch.
In May 2007 my family and I attended an international conference in Texas. Seventeen Japanese international students were at this conference with their XA pastors. I met one Japanese student who was not saved yet and was struggling with giving up this world. I was honored to explain God’s good news to her. She decided to follow Jesus, received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and was baptized in water during the conference. My husband also helped a Japanese student come to know Jesus. This man now attends a Japanese Assemblies of God church in Tokyo.
In September 2007 a XA pastor at MSU introduced Daisuke and me to a 20-year-old Japanese exchange student named Akira. Akira began attending our ministry. One day a fellow student and Japanese Christian asked him, “Are you Christian or not?” Even though Akira had been raised in a Christian home and had gone to church since he was little, he could not answer the question. So when I spoke about the life of Nicodemos Akira—realizing he had never been born again—raised his hand to accept Jesus as his personal savior. He was baptized at Central Assembly and has started to walk with God.
In November 2007, at an Asian market, I met a Philippino woman who speaks Japanese fluently. She began coming to our women’s meeting regularly and accepted Jesus in January 2008. She began to pray for her American husband’s salvation. He works at the Pentagon. When he attended our service, I was able to share the wonderful news of how Jesus could change his life. He went to the altar and welcomed Jesus into his life. Shortly thereafter, he was sent to Iraq for seven-month mission and was able to take his new faith with him.
My family and I have been blessed to be a part of Jesus’ ministry while we are in Springfield, Mo. Wherever we go, we take his great commission as our priority, reaching out especially to those who speak Japanese.
“‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.’ So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:15–20 NKJV).
Monday, August 11, 2008 9:07 AM