The Japan Free Will Baptist Mission exists to share the good news of Christ in Japan. Our mission is involved in two areas of Japan, Hokkaido and Tokyo, and has been actively working there for over 50 years. If you'd like more specific information than is available on this site, feel free to contact us or our home office.
Missionary to Hokkaido, Rusty Carney, recently attended a Buddhist funeral. He gleaned the following insights from the experience:
“The first one was a Buddhist funeral led by a Buddhist priest. This being my first time attending a Buddhist funeral I didn't really know what to expect. Inquiring to one of our more seasoned missionaries I found out that there are times in the service when everyone bows down in worship to the spirit of the dead person, and Christians usually wouldn't bow then. As the room filled with the smell of incense and the odd harmonic tones of the Buddhist priest's chants filled our ears I couldn't stop thinking how sad the whole thing was. Then, how awkward it felt sitting in a room full of people, and everyone bowing down at a certain times, except for me and a few other Christians in the room. It really made me think about Shadrach, Meshach and, Abednego, and how they refused to bow down in worship to a golden image that king Nebuchadnezzar had made. But it didn't stop there, they then passed around a tray with a hot stone on one side and incense on the other. As they passed it from person to person they would take a bit of incense, sprinkle it on the stone, wave the smoke in their face and then bow in worship. Again, how awkward it felt to be one of the few not to participate in that part. When it was over, we bowed deeply to show our sympathy to the remaining family members. That whole experience helped me gain a little insight into the pressures that the Japanese face whenever they become a Christian. I, having a foreign face, can get away with not doing some "expected" things in Japanese culture, but whenever a Japanese person in situations like that doesn't conform to what is expected, they can often become ridiculed and socially outcast.”
On November 3, 2012, Pastor Kiyoshi Kojima and Miho Fukuda joined in holy matrimony at the Meguro Brethren Church in Tokyo, Japan. The two plan on ministering at Iriso Christian Church in Saitama-ken. Please pray for this happy couple as they begin their life together.
Kamifukuoka Church hosted a Fall party of fun, games and cupcakes for our Sunday afternoon Kids' Club English and Bible Class on October 28th. Everyone came dressed in a costume, including our leaders Shannon Little, Ken and me! After songs and games, we were blessed by the Iriso FWB Church Ministry Team with a Bible story, Bible quiz and puppet shows. The team has been attending once a month to assist us in the Bible time, and the kids love having them come! Please pray that through these ministries these precious children and their families will accept Christ!
"Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few." I Samuel 14:6b
That was a powerful verse that we studied at the Jonathan Training in Karuizawa last month when we went down by way of ferry to the island of Honshu for a week of church planting training. We had been praying that the Lord would give us a renewed vision for Japan and His work here, and He sure did answer our prayers!
"It takes years for a Japanese person to come to faith in Christ." We've heard that said over and over and have even said it ourselves... And while that may have been true in the past, we see it now as a lie from the enemy to keep us from having the faith and expectation that God is going to work and build His church in this country--even quickly! As our small little group of missionaries from various missions, and even Japanese workers, heard all of these different stories of how the Lord is multiplying His church rapidly in other Asian countries, we began to get a vision and excitement for what the Lord is going to do (and has already began doing) in this country.
Many of you recall the devastating tsunami that swept through many cities and towns on the north-eastern island of Honshu last year. Missionaries are finding the people in these areas open and very receptive to the gospel! Isn't it just like God to bring beauty from ashes!
After the training, we drove up to Sendai for a week of vacation--staying in one of the 100 year-old missionary cabins by the ocean that was just high enough as not to have been swept away by last year's tsunami. It was sobering to see so many empty lots and foundations where houses and whole communities had once been before the tsunami.
When you consider the fact that about 20,000 lives were lost due to the tsunami you may ask, "How could God allow such a thing to happen?" But considering that the suicide rate in Japan had exceeded 30,000 a year for the 13 consecutive years previous to the tsunami, I believe God in His mercy allowed it to happen, knowing that the fruit coming of it could spark a movement that would finally break the vicious cycle of suicide in this country. A movement of God that would come like a spiritual tsunami and crush all the pillars of Buddhism, Shinto, division in the church, etc., and at the name of Jesus lives would be changed, families restored, relationships healed, and most of all worship to our Father in Heaven! The day will come. And we want to be found working and waiting with anticipation.
As our missionaries gather next week in Tokyo for our annual Field Council meeting. Pray the Lord would give us His insightful wisdom to know how to plan, and how to best facilitate God's work in this country.
Thanks again for your prayers. And please continue to... Pray! Pray! Pray!
From Rusty and Brenda Carney: “The month of July and first part of August has brought many opportunities for us to spend time with our Japanese friends and neighbors. Brenda and Alicia Crowe were able to have a "play date" with one our our neighbors who's children have gone, and are going to, the same Kindergarten that Grace and Ruby go to! It was a great opportunity to get better acquainted with these neighbors.
Also, we were able to go on a day trip with our next door neighbors to Furano--a well known area in Hokkaido, famous for their huge lavender fields! It was a day full of sightseeing, but also great language practice, and a great opportunity to build more trust with them. We had them over for dinner a couple of weeks after the event to share pictures from our trip.
We have also had opportunities to do things with different church people--whether going out to eat, hosting each other in our homes, etc... It is so great to spend time encouraging each other and joining in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the body Christ!”