If you know me, you know I'm half Japanese and am convinced that sushi will be available at the marriage supper of the Lamb. So to be invited back to Japan was a treat beyond words.
JAPAN - Alpha, led by Andy Game has probably been more effective in the nation than most endeavors over the past 65 years (since the War). You would love Andy - he is extremely funny, single, 40 something and a real servant to the Church in the nation. He has a stellar reputation from what we could see. He has helped launch Alpha courses from Hokkaido in the north to the island of Okinawa. He is a Kingdom guy and is now putting all of his energy into using the internet to share Jesus and launch Alpha Courses in the business community. We met the leader of a business leaders' ministry called VIP. These business leaders have hundreds of chapters in Japan and in other nations, . The guy is a "pray-er", lives next to the emperor and begs God for a move of God in his nation.
Prayer is not nation wide but seems to be growing and the desire to see it become more central to the Christian community is rising. The church is beginning to make a connection to the redemptive story of Jesus in Shintoism (the national religion) and it seems like a huge onramp for a framework for prayer. It's like walking through tabernacle: you come in through the sacrifice of blood (now a red arch), cleanse with water, enter a room with bread (rice), incense and light, past a veil into the next chamber where a box sits that represents the seat of "god" and which priests carry through the streets once a year - hmmmm, sounds familiar.
I am thinking of a trip back later this year to look more intentopnaly of launching 24-7 prayer in the nation. We are praying for a team of people to be formed who have Japan on their hearts.
One very exciting encounter was with a church in Yokohama that is truly missional, young and FULL of Jesus. They were growing in love with each other, leading people to faith and were a picutre of a what a redeemed Japan can look like. Made me cry.
For now we are filtering through the opportunities and vision to see where we might find an inroad for longterm involvement. Very encouraging.
Here is our fearless team! Jon, Andy, Joe and Wendy...Taking pictures in a mirror at CAJ, the school in Highashikurume where I was "educated"...welll maybe...