Youth Set Church on Fire

Posted By on December 5, 2019


God placed this burden on me. For the last few years,
I’ve been having this burden because less than one percent
are Christian in Japan. It’s a big country– lots of people– but for some reason,
the everlasting gospel is not being communicated. Tokyo is the world’s
largest metropolitan area with almost 40 million people. The challenge of reaching a city
of this size might seem impossible, but God can use anyone, even someone
on the other side of the world, to spark change. Daniel grew up in California
as a third generation Japanese-American. He always told himself he would
be open to God’s plans for his life. After much prayer, he knew that God wanted
him to move across the globe to work in Japan, and Daniel accepted
the call to serve in Tokyo. Even though I grew up in America, my mom and my dad helped me
retain the Japanese language, so I was able to communicate, and read and write. I felt like God was calling me
to go to Japan and use these talents for His cause over in Japan. He was assigned
to work alongside the pastor of the Setagaya Adventist Church, where, in 2016, there were less than ten people
attending each week. The church was about ready
to shut down when Daniel arrived. He knew that God
had bigger plans for this congregation, so he began working to make
the church a landmark in the community. Here in Japan,
there’s a lot of lonely people. They just commit to work or school, and a lot of them are lonely,
so they want fellowship. So I think that’s what
the Japanese people need– we just need to mingle with them. Mingling is just one
of the steps in Christ’s method. Jesus mingled with people
to get to know their needs and earn their trust. Daniel decided to try to reignite this church’s mission spirit
with a fresh approach. He invited young people and held evangelism training
for them in the church. We have young people college aged,
high school aged, young adults, stay in a church for three weeks. We eat meals together,
we have devotions, worships, Bible studies together,
and we train how to knock on doors, how to communicate with people,
how to pray with people. It’s been a blessing. The students really grow a lot. They have this identity
as Seventh-day Adventists and the mission spirit. This once dwindling church transformed overnight
into a youth training center. As the young members
reached out to their local community through prayer
and face-to-face interaction, attendance quickly grew fivefold. And word is spreading
throughout the community. When we go out to this community, sometimes we cannot meet the people around this area, but sometimes God
sends people to our church. When people come to our church, I feel that Jesus
is working for this church. The church is now essentially
run by young people with a passion to reach the people of Tokyo for Jesus. And if you ask them
why they love this church? This church is so special
because the young people, they have power, and passion, and energy to reach out to people. They are so friendly and kind. I really enjoy spending
time here with everyone. It’s great to see how the young people are getting excited
about God and the Bible. In my experience,
I have developed a stronger prayer life. I have direct communication
with God as I reach out to people. I learned the joy
of communicating with God. Daniel decided to expand
the Setagaya church’s programs to include youth from all over Tokyo. Once a month, we have an event where young people
from all over the Tokyo area come, and we stay
in sleeping bags at the church. Fifty to seventy young people come,
stay at the church, study the Bible, sing songs, and have fellowship. It’s been a blessing. This group continues to grow thanks to the efforts of reigniting
the church’s mission spirit. Setagaya church members are exploring new ways
to break down barriers and show the love of God
to the people of Tokyo. Many people in this city
are busy and isolated but still long for connection with others. When young people
get on fire for Jesus, I believe the entire church
gets on fire for Jesus. That’s why working
with the young people is such an honor, such a privilege, and I believe when we get
the young people on fire, the entire country
of Japan will be on fire. Mission challenges in Japan
are real and continue to grow. Please pray
for the Setagaya church members as they ask for God’s help
in spreading His love throughout the largest city on earth. Your prayers and support
of the mission offerings go a long way to encourage
mission in Japan and around the world.

Posted by Lewis Heart

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