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2018 Japan Union Conference Annual Council
January 03, 2019

From November 25 to 27, 2018, we had the Japan Union Conference (JUC) Annual Council together with the visitors from the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD), including president Kim SiYoung, executive secretary Yutaka Inada, treasurer Joel Tomkins, and some of NSD departmental directors. The NSD leaders spoke for the worships during the annual council and helped to create a spiritual atmosphere throughout the meetings. At the annual council, each JUC department, local conferences, and institution reflected upon God’s leading during this past year and gave their evangelism report.

As members of the world church, in order to encourage unity and cooperate in evangelistic efforts, the JUC decided to adopt the revised mission statement voted in October 2018 at the General Conference Annual Council. 

All Japan 2018 Maranatha

In Japan, 161 evangelistic meetings were conducted around the month of May 2018. This year’s second quarter (April to June) had 120 baptisms, which is more than double the usual number of baptisms. We greatly appreciate the personnel support, financial support, and other support from the NSD office.

Last year, 17% of the baptized church members said that the time period from their first encounter to their baptism was less than 1 year. This year the number increased from 17% to 30%. The increase is perhaps due to the direct result of All Japan 18 Maranatha’s evangelism cycle including seed sowing, nurturing, and harvesting being packaged into a one-year cycle. It was evident that evangelism is not an event but a process. We will continue to move forward with All Japan 2019 Maranatha and All Japan 2020 Maranatha. In 2019, we plan to encourage churches to conduct evangelistic meetings that last longer than eight days in the month of October.   

Okinawa Mission President Elected

The term for the previous Okinawa Mission president came to an end. Therefore, in place of Pastor Tomihama Sougen, Yokohama Church pastor Ueda Hiroyuki was elected as the new Okinawa Mission president. Pastor Ueda served as the Saniku Junior High School chaplain, Saniku College chaplain, and currently serves as the Yokohama Saniku Kindergarten principal. With rich experience in educational institutions, we look forward to seeing the evangelistic efforts of Okinawa Mission move forward under the leadership of the new president.

At the Japan Union Conference Annual Council, amidst the various business-like agenda items, we try to put our focus on evangelism and prayer. This past annual council, we once again focused on evangelism. In Japan, with the population of approximately 127 million, the Christian population is less than 1%, and the SDA population is only 15,000 people. Please join us in praying for the swift proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to this country of Japan.  

Toshio Shibata, JUC executive secretary