Week 7: Conclusions and Analysis May 18-24

Week 7 Conclusions and Analysis

Reading:

    • Understanding Japan: Conclusions and Analysis
      • Chapter Fourteen: Analyses and Strategies
      • How to Share the Good News With Your Japanese Friend by Mark Reasoner Page 16-29

Interview: a non-Japanese who has visited Japan. Discuss their impressions. Offer insights from your Japan 101studies.

    • Writing: Weekly Paper: “Impressions and Points from Your Reading”
      • Reflective Writing
      • Read as many of the other students’ writings as you have time and comment on at least two of them.

      Pray:

      • Pray daily for Japan and Japanese, using Operation Japan. Make a note in your blog concerning the information and/or your prayer.

      Extra Suggestions:

Discussion

  • 2

    Analysis and Strategies:

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    Analysis and Strategies:
    Reading “Understanding Japan Through the Eyes of Christian Faith” was a great learning experience regarding the culture and the religious atmosphere in Japan. One of the things that took my attention was the connection between Japanese people and the Jews. I believe God has a purpose with every nation, and He reveals it according to His time, no matter how difficult to get in that particular nation. Japan was closed to other nations during the Tokugawa period, but still, they had some connections with the Dutch, the Christian presence was active during this time, even though people faced severe persecutions during this time, the Church never died down in Japan, and it grew up and spread, that is the power of the gospel. The more one tries to suppress the Church, and it will grow stronger.
    It was quite shocking to read how strongly the culture and the religions in Japan connected, and it is quite inseparable, which makes it harder to evangelize the nation. People are not fully religious but religious! People are open to other views but are not! Quite complicated! My prayer is that God the Holy Spirit break this chain and set the people free, and they may experience the true freedom that is found only in Jesus Christ.
    I also strongly believe that Japan needs a new and fresh revival, a true spirit-filled revival, people with great vision and revelation have to move to Japan to share the gospel, with people with great heart and commitment, people with a heart of prayer and conviction to move into this beautiful country to share the gospel, the harvest is ready and plentiful…
    Since the Japanese people have the memory of what had happened during the Second World War, they may still live in hurt and bitterness, we have to pray and ask God for wisdom and favor in reaching this community with the gospel of love, and we have to do it through exemplary living, sincere and loving, and through getting involved in the society needs, it could be a difficult idea, but that is what Jesus asked the church to do.
    The author also gives us many strategies in regards to reaching the Japanese people. I believe those are very important to notice, women empowerment not only in the society but also in the churches, encourage them to get involved in the different ministries, letting them know they are capable of doing various activities in the church, focusing the young people, the church has to get involved in the society, it should not be just within the four walls, using technology, and internet services, etc… The contextualizing method is also important to connect with Japanese society, especially reaching the minorities in society.
    Today with all the Media and technologies in the boom, we still find it difficult to reach certain people groups with the gospel, I think the primary reason is, we as the church are not seeing the world as the Lord Jesus sees, He saw the world through eyes of compassion, love, and care. Jesus also said to the disciples, if you want to be fruitful you have to abide in me, without the help of the Holy Spirit evangelistic activities would become harder and fruitless, we have to read God’s Word, and pray and fast, and keep a close relationship with the Lord, and with His guidance and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can conquer any Jericho!
    I would like to place these verses John 15:1-5: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
    My prayer and desire is that God may send a great revival in the land of Japan, and bring many into the knowledge of truth, God may release Japan from all sort of deception and oppression of the Devil and the spirit of fear that causes them not to come to Jesus and receive the truth would be broken and the truth may set them free, in Jesus’ name, amen.

    • Naoko Brown

      Shibu,
      THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your insights, wisdom and passion!!! We are particularly very thankful for you being such a strong prayer warrior! With such a rich cultural experiences, you and Lily are great resources, and we hope to stay connected with you!

    • Shibu AV

      We are blessed to have this training, I had no clue that I would be able to have a training on reaching the Japanese people at the beginning of this year, but my Lord had in mind! I strongly believe that He has a plan with it. Thank you so much for taking your time and helping us with these very informative sessions, very helpful and learned a lot. God has opened our eyes! We pray and trust God for His guidance and provision so that one day we can get to Japan and share our experience with the Lord, and build many Japanese friends and share the love of Christ. We are looking forward to it. Thank you, God bless you.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR THE RETURNEES

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR THE RETURNEES
    Many Japanese who come to know Christ while overseas have difficulties getting involved in the local church upon their return to Japan. The Japanese local church is often small, more conservative, and lacking in the fellowship they were accustomed to overseas. Pray for the organizations that are trying to help Japanese returnees find a local church and adjust to the Christian culture in Japan.

    Heavenly Father, please help all these dear ones to find a place to worship you where they will find comfortable and fit, and also use these dear ones to help the local church and share their experiences and what they learned, and also the local church may be willing to accept them and get them involved in the work, please help the Pastor and believers to enjoy the fellowship and help one another grow, thank you Lord, in Jesus’ name, amen.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR ISHIKAWA

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR ISHIKAWA, MAY 23
    In the last 10 years, the number of churches in Ishikawa has decreased by two. In 2006, there were 60 churches, but in 2016, the number had been reduced to 58. Pray that each church will reach out in love to those around them.
    Let us especially pray for the city of Kaga
    , with over 65,000 people and only two churches. The Kaga Central Christian Church was started in 1953 and has 22 members. Besides their Sunday worship at 9:30, they have daily early morning prayer times at 6:20 a.m.

    Pray for the 18 missionaries (seven couples and four single missionaries) serving in Ishikawa.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for this opportunity to pray for Ishikawa, pray for the churches that are already there, Lord I pray that you would these churches reach the other people with great passion and love, these churches may multiply and spread across the prefecture, and to other prefectures, thank you so much Lord for those Pastors and missionaries and their families who are working hard, it must tiring for them to see few people often attend the church but God you are a faithful God and you will continually strengthen them and use them with new strength and fresh anointing, please bless this prefecture and let your name be glorified, thank you Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 0

    PRAYER FOR FUKUI'S CHURCHES

    Shibu AV
    Reply

    PRAYER FOR FUKUI’S CHURCHES, MAY 24
    Pray for the pastors and wives of the 42 churches that they would be effective leaders and that there would be a strong sense of God’s love throughout each fellowship.

    Pray that each of the 1,745 believers will win one person to Christ this year.

    Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much for all these churches and believers in this region, God please bless all the Pastors and families, use them mightily, the churches may grow and multiply, many people may turn to Christ, Lord please encourage the believers to reach their neighbors, remove their fear and give them courage, give them a strong sense of calling to go out of their comfort zone and reach the unreached community with the gospel of Jesus, thank you so much for the lives of every leader and their families who are working hard, please take care of them and provide all their needs, Lord I am praying for a revival in Japan, I believe it is on the way, thank you, Lord, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • 1

    Emily's Notes

    Emily Frey
    Reply

    I agree with all the author’s suggestions on what needs to change for the Church to reach Japan. Several of these ideas we have already discussed in our posts but it is good to hear from an experienced researched and theologian in conclusion on these subjects.

    All of these discussions have led me to know some of the issues of Japanese youth to focus on in reaching the international students I have access to here in the U.S. The Lord has blessed us with much wisdom and knowledge from Understanding Japan to reach the age group “most open to the gospel” and revealed to us the areas of weakness and vulnerability, healing and wholeness, hope and future for these Japanese young people. I get excited about new manifestations of the Church to be explored, new paradigms and contextualization. The keys to reaching Japan with the true Gospel of Jesus Christ do seem to be rooted in social justice and mercy work—relief and development of the whole person–to reach the marginalized and confront prejudices. Offering services for matchmaking, marriage roles and responsibilities and counseling, and family relationships with a goal of reconciliation are key to transforming society from the inside out, starting with its most basic and broken unit. Seeker churches in Japan will need a drastically different but equally effective look and approach to reaching society at large by providing practical answers to cultural issues, places of peace that are warm and inclusive. Evangelistic methods will needs some technological brainstorming and innovation to connect with and engage young people without a building, set service times, or traditional Western church forms.

    • Naoko Brown

      Emily,
      Thank you very much for your wisdom and compassion for Japanese AND International students in general. Those who encountered with you are very blessed and privileged to get to know you and experience His Light through your ministry!!

  • 1

    Lily - Week 7: Analysis and Strategies

    Amarilys Vega
    Reply

    What an interesting journey, studying about this beautiful country, Japan. For some of us, many of the things that the book spoke about are new, some others may already have some experience working with Japanese people. But always there is something to learn and I’m sure that there are many things that still we will learn in the way. May the Lord bless us with wisdom and love to share with the Japanese community.

    While I was in Japan, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit many churches; I wish I could experience little more of the environment in the church. The fellowship that I visited was very small and people were old and just two to three kids. These days, I watch the church services online, through Facebook, but of course, for the situation that we are facing, it is not enough to have a glimpse of the church properly.

    I’m learning Japanese, already for a long time, still I can not hold a conversation, but it opened opportunities to get in contact with Japanese people. Through Facebook groups for Japanese language learners or Teachers of other languages for Japanese people, it is a very good opportunity to get some friends, to pray for them, and to ask the Lord for guidance. Many of the ladies that I talk with, they are my age, they have kids, and sometimes we talk through zoom practicing Japanese and English.

    In my experience, working with Hindus and Muslims, when I’m trying to know them, I never hide from them that I’m a Christian, they know since the beginning because most of the time, they will ask which religion do I practice. I say “I’m a follower of Jesus”. I learned that when you give them an opportunity to speak about what they believe, without criticizing their religion, they will give you space for you to speak about what you believe because you respected their space, they will respect yours.

    Why did I share this? I think, it is useful, of course not in all the cases, but the Lord can guide us according to the situation and according to the person that you meet. There were times that some people were defending strongly their point of view, but keeping yourself calm and make the difference is very important, we have to show them something different. They will observe our testimony and they will try to see if our friendship is genuine.

    There are many things that we learn from the culture, I found out that Japanese people like craft and art, it is also an opportunity to make a “click” with them.

    And it is very important, again I have to say it: our relationship with the Lord will be shown through our smile, through the way we speak, through our actions. A strong relationship with God, it is depending on God for wisdom, to do the things according to His plan, not in my own strategies.

    To pray for each one of our contacts. To pray for divine encounters and opportunities. To pray for wisdom on how to share the Good News.

    We have to be open to learning, without compromising ourselves. Japan is a totally different culture, it is a beautiful place, interesting language, so much art to admire, etc. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    This course if almost finished, but I hope that it is just the beginning of more opportunities. May the Lord guide us and help us.

    • Brandalyn

      Yes, I too have found (unsurprisingly) that the more you take an interest in other people’s culture and activities, the more they are inclined to ask or learn about ours. Loving our neighbours as ourselves I guess!

  • 0

    Reflections - Brandalyn

    Brandalyn
    Reply

    Wow! Some good stuff in the end of this “how to reach your Japanese friend”
    1) sin vs self-centeredness. What a fantastic angle to share about our broken relationship with God! Never come across this before, but I could see it being really valuable!
    2) engagement in church – “Americans go to church to have their needs met…they look for what the church offers them. Japanese Christians go to church in Japan to serve. They look for ways to function as members of Christ’s body.” Again, never come across this before either.
    3) “Japanese intuitively understand that baptism is a big deal” – I found that shocking and surprising. God’s word says it and so I believe it, but I wouldn’t say that I (who have grown up in a devout Christian home) intuitively understand that baptism is a big deal.

    I like the idea of specific questions to friends who attend church with you “what did you like?” “What did you dislike?” I’ve always asked “what did you think” and I don’t get near as clear an answers when I really care and want to know if they thought it was weird!