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Season of Revival and Evangelistic Fervor: Women's Ministries in Japan
July 24, 2017
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Japan has about 16,000 members on the books. About one-third of that number actively attend church worship services. Seventy percent of that number is made up of women. That means that out of 5,000 active church members in Japan, about 3,500 are women. Thus, we can safely say that the future of Adventist mission in Japan depends, to a large degree, on women being actively engaged in outreach evangelism in all its phases.

These are the facts behind the purpose, the goals, the seminars and training programs of the women's ministries department of Japan Union Conference (JUC) and its ministry in general.

Akemi Duarte, director of women’s ministries, believes it is important for every church member and pastor to understand that women’s ministries is not about promoting any kind of political feminist agenda, nor is it about women hijacking the role of men in the church or causing division among church members. Women’s ministries is about ministering to women, nurturing and training them so they can in turn be inspired and equipped to minister to others as part of the ongoing mission of the Adventist church. It's about reviving a culture of evangelism in every local congregation, in every member and in every church activity.

It is the priority of JUC women's ministries to plan every seminar and program centered on Christ, the word of God and the counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy. One example of this can be found in the monthly seminars held at Tokyo Central Church. Every third Wednesday of each month, a group of women gather to study Bible topics in depth. The seminars have been presented bilingually by Pastor Mark Duarte of Tokyo Central International Church with translation by Akemi Duarte. The purpose for presenting them bilingually is to afford non-Japanese church members an opportunity to be inspired for involvement in evangelism. Both Pastor Duarte and Akemi Duarte believe that with the increased number of non-Japanese living in Japan and attending various churches more emphasis needs to be put on helping those people and equipping them for outreach ministry in Japan. In 2016 attendees studied the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.

Two spiritual retreats were also held last year in both East and West Japan Conferences to further study God's word for inspiration regarding our mission of spreading His precious message of salvation to others. The running theme of women’s ministries has been the same as that of the General Conference and the JUC: "Arise! Shine! Jesus is coming soon!"

Once every five years, the JUC women’s ministries department sponsors an all-Japan Women's Spiritual Retreat. This year, 2017, is the year of the retreat, and it was held in April on the island of Okinawa. The theme of the retreat was "A Shelter in the Time of Storm." The women chose Pastor Mark Duarte and Akemi Duarte as the speakers.

The JUC women’s ministries expected and planned for an attendance of about 80 people. But as participants began to sign up, it soon became obvious that the number would need to be increased. When the deadline arrived, there were 250 participants signed up. That number included women, some men, some families and quite a few non-Japanese attendees. God truly blessed over that weekend, and many attendees said they were revived to do God's work more faithfully in their home churches.

As God brings revival and evangelistic fervor to the hearts of the women in Adventist churches around Japan it is our prayer that He will use those women to help bring revival to His church and to finish the work in Japan. Please pray for JUC women's ministries.

Reported by Akemi Duarte

Director JUC Women's and Family Ministries