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NSD Officers Visit Churches in Japan before All Japan 2018 Maranatha
May 10, 2018

With All Japan 2018 Maranatha coming up soon, Dr. Kim SiYoung, president of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD), was scheduled to visit as many sites as possible to encourage Japanese pastors and lay leaders. Of the 165 sites which are planning to join this historic evangelistic event, Dr. Kim especially wanted to visit small congregations who are daring to join the event by faith in spite of their few resources and power. With the help of Japan Union Conference (JUC), Dr. Kim and I, NSD executive secretary, visited the West Japan Conference from February 26 to March 4, and East Japan Conference from March 16 to 24, 2018. 

We first visited Settsutonda, a small company located in Osaka. The number of the meeting attendees was about 20, which is almost the same number of average Sabbath attendance. Then, we went to Kyoto Church located in the ancient city of Kyoto, which has more than a thousand years of history and is under great influence of traditional religions. No wonder mission work is not easy in these areas, but we heard from the pastor and church members that they were doing their best to prepare for soul-winning. Next, we visited the Kobe Arinodai Church, which is also referred as the Kobe Adventist Hospital Church. The church pastor expected 20 attendees, but more than 80 people came!

Group photo of the Chiba International Church members with NSD officers

Our next destination was Hiroshima. During WWII, all Adventist churches in Hiroshima were persecuted and forced to close. Due to this persecution, however, Adventist church members were protected from the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The Hiroshima church members and pastor expect miracles again at this coming evangelistic meetings and are planning two meetings with different topics every day for a consecutive 17 days, which is the longest period among the 165 sites. 

We visited the two campuses of Hiroshima Adventist Academy, and spent the Sabbath at the Sasebo Church in Kyushu. We found that half of the congregation are not Japanese because of the US Navy presence. It was impressive that foreign people and Japanese are working together for soul winning.

Our visits in the East Japan Conference area started with the Asahikawa Church, which is the northernmost Adventist church in Japan. People from Seoul, Korea, might not be surprised by the cold weather in this area, but by the large amount of snow. Even with so much snow, the Adventist people were very active on Sabbath afternoon. The small church building was packed with the many children who attended a once-a-month special meeting for kids. They are now trying to invite their parents to the evangelical meetings coming May.  

The Hiroshima Church has joined All Japan 2018 Maranatha with a plan of two meetings with different topics every day for a consecutive 17 days, which is the longest period among the 165 sites

Our next stop was the Morioka Church. Just a week before our visit, they closed their kindergarten, leaving its 64 years of history behind. They sold their building which had been used for both church and kindergarten, and moved to a small, new place. The church members had been disappointed, but they were encouraged by our visit and believed that the Lord had never forsaken them.

We also had the chance to hear the wonderful story of the history of the church.  During WWII, two daughters of the university president in Morioka became Adventists and later their mother as well as the wife of the president followed her daughters. Even during the time of persecution, the church was able to meet every Sabbath at the university building due with the president’s permission. After the war, the mother and daughters initiated the foundation of the kindergarten. It is pity that the kindergarten was not able to survive, but we believe the Lord will achieve greater things for this faithful small group!  

Then, we visited Ichinoseki and Sendai. The Sendai Church is the biggest church in the Northern Honshu area.  Most of those in attendance are aged but active members. Dr. Kim taught them not only theory but also practical examples to reach the people. After his preaching, church members asked Dr. Kim some questions about ways to reach their neighbors and the people in Sendai. The meeting at the Yamagata Church was unique, for half of the attendance are not church members. Dr. Kim changed the topic during the course of his sermon and the meeting turned to be an evangelistic meeting!  

Two NSD officers met the Youth Rush Chiba group

When we visited the Fukushima Church, an unexpected setting waited for us. We had to attend the funeral service for the church pastor’s wife. Fukushima was affected heavily by the nuclear accident in 2011. It has not been easy for JUC leaders to send a pastor to the Fukushima Church. Eventually, retired Pastor Horiuchi and his wife voluntarily accepted the challenge and have served for seven years for the church. The church members loved the couple very much because they knew their sacrifice for the church and the Lord.   Mrs. Horiuchi got sick two years ago and passed away during our visit. It was sorrowful, but we confirmed that the reunion time is not so far and with hope we should go forward for the Lord. We were truly impressed with Pastor Horiuchi and the church members’ spirit. 

We then visited Tokyo Chinese Church and Tokyo Korean Church to encourage the pastors. The last Friday night of our visit, we had a vespers meeting at the Chiba International Church, which was held at the 3H Language School. The school was founded by Pastor Kim SeokMan. Mrs. Kim was a teacher at the academy where Dr. Kim SiYoung had studied, and it was a reunion after many years. She is still active in mission work.  Next day, at the Sabbath afternoon meeting, she brought a new lady, whom she had met first time at the park several weeks ago! 

At our final destination, Chiba, we had the chance to meet the Youth Rush group, which aims for mission through literature evangelism. When we met the group, they had already been working for the past three weeks. They had visited 22,372 houses and sold 1,439 books. March 22 was a highlight for them as the Lord helped them to sell 243 books in one day. Of the 243 books, 20 were the Great Controversy, which is difficult to sell in Japan. We saw that these young people had experienced the Lord through this Youth Rush project. We are certain that the Lord is using these young people to open the way for a new stage of the Adventist Church in Japan.

All Japan 2018 Maranatha, the historic evangelistic meetings in Japan, is scheduled from May 4 to 20, 2018, in 165 sites. To bring more souls to Jesus Christ, your prayers are much needed.

Yutaka Inada, NSD Executive Secretary