In his New Year address, Japan’s emperor Naruhito greeted his subjects, wished them well, hoped for a disaster-free year, and tried to set a tone of optimism.
It was a message that resonated with people now struggling on multiple fronts. Joe Handley, president of Asian Access, said there are various layers on the social issues. “The people are not happy, and even the economy has been dropping. The depression part of its impacted by the fact that we’re no longer number two in the world. Because people aren’t getting married, there’s nobody’s having children. And so the aging of society is hitting them.”
Unique challenges of ministry in Japan
It reveals one of the reasons why some missiologists consider Japan home to a large segment of unreached people groups. Also, once called ‘the graveyard of missionaries,’ it seemed out of alignment with the technologically- advanced country. Incredible energy invested into evangelistic programs yielded little harvest. Handley explains, “They’re the most difficult people to reach in that part of the world. Not difficult because of poverty. Not difficult because of economic challenges or problems of humankind, but difficult because people have everything they need.”
However, that all changed with the triple disasters that struck Japan in 2011. Christian ministries mobilized with the body of Christ in Japan and saw the response rates to Christ rise drastically. “Not on the front end, (but) just because people kept serving day after day, month after month, year after year. So now, we have some momentum building. Pastors and mission leaders and Christian leaders have incredible optimism about going forward in the country.”
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, R.B. Klama
CALL TO ACTION
- Praise God for opening doors for ministry in Japan!
- Pray for the leadership team as they empower visionary pastors in Japan.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare hearts.