The population of Metropolitan Tokyo (including Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, and Chiba) today is 37 million--the world’s most populated metropolitan city. Currently there are just 3500 Adventist members with only 20 small churches, making a ratio-to-population of 1: 10,000. Many of the church members are older than 65 years of age, and the total amount of tithe has decreased in recent years. People living in Tokyo area are like sheep that have lost their shepherd, and most of them have waivered in their value system.
In 2012, when the NSD president, Elder Lee picked up Tokyo as the target city in “Mission to the Cities,” our JUC leaders discussed the possibilities. Is it realistic for our churches that are getting weak and old to set about doing such big project? Wouldn’t we let down the GC’s expectation with no harvest? In spite of
great fear in our hearts, the JUC finally decided to set about the project of “Mission to the City, Tokyo.” Unless we stand up now, unless we take this great opportunity now, our church might have to just stand and watch Japanese people perish doing nothing. Read more
It was in the end of May, 2012, the JUC and the NSD leaders got together for the first time on this project. After that, on June 11, the JUC leaders had the meeting with local church pastors in Metropolitan Tokyo, and the next day, the NSD leaders came to Japan again. We discussed and prayed together, and started the project.
To tell you the truth, not all the pastors here in Tokyo accepted the project with faith and believed its success. Some had a great fear, and some thought they were forced to do this. Anyway, we just started the project.
Team Ministry System
We organized “A Big City Evangelism Committee” in the JUC, and under it, the same named committee in the East Japan conference, then under them, 8 small committees--- (1) West Tokyo team, (2) Harajuku team, (3) Tama-Saitama team, (4) Nishisugamo team, (5) Yokohama 13 team, (6) English and Spanish team, (7) Korean team, (8) Chinese team (Tagalog team, and Youth team were added later). Since the center of evangelism is the churches at the front line, these teams made the ways for them.
For instance, one of the teams invited a retired pastor to study about ministry so that the pastors can do better prepared. Another group started a joint prayer meeting among local churches just to make their relationship stronger.
What the JUC and the East Japan Conference focused on first was revival by prayer and the scripture. The JUC invited Pastor KwangEui Hong, the revivalist of NSD. He came to Japan several times, and he had revival meetings visiting church to church. We also invited Elder Ki Yong Kwon who shared his wonderful testimony on the pioneering evangelistic works.
Also, another team had the big camp-meeting to make church members feel Tokyo 13 as their own project. Others also had the pre-meetings and the joint worships with other churches, then the mission spirit grew.
The basic concept of Tokyo 13 is “Relationship Ministry.” Ellen White in her Ministry of Healing, p.143, wrote, “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The savior (1) mingled with men, (2) as one who desired their good. (3) He showed His sympathy for them, (4) ministered to their needs, and won their confidence, then told them “Follow me.” There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort.???Accompanied by the power of persuasion, power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.” So we decided to make His “Relationship Ministry” our method for the project.
To do that, we tried to re-discover our networks that we had. For example, Hiroshima Saniku Academy (grade 7-12) has sent out 4000 graduates in last 35 years. But unfortunately most of them don’t attend the church anymore. The fact is that their graduation is also a graduation from the church. And about 1000 out of 4000 are said to be in Tokyo area. Of course, they once have heard Gospel of the Bible. We wanted to reach them again, so in August, 2013, at Tokyo, with the Academy presidents, principals, and deans of dormitories, we had the biggest alumni in our history. 450 attended the meeting!
Also, there is a special group called “Ekklesia” whose purpose is to save young people from “the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity” whose headquarter is in Korea, and to take care of their families. An earnest effort by this group for last 40 years had resulted 200 baptisms at the SDA Church. On the other hand, there are many who left the Association, but have attended no church. There are more than 1500 such people. They also have heard Gospel once. In order to reach them, a special issue of newsletter was printed, and the group had a retreat especially for them.
In the past, there was a youth activity called “Beehive Ministry.” Through this, many church workers were born and raised. On the other hand, there are many who once were active in the Ministry, but don’t attend the church today. Many are married and have children. In order to reach them once again, Koganei SDA Church has begun “Tokyo Worship” with a contemporary style, once in a while.
The department of Colporteur Ministry in the JUC and the Japan Publishing House together had a special meeting at one of the hotels in Tokyo, trying to reach the “Signs of the Times” subscribers. About 100 people attended that meeting
In addition to such efforts, each local church did their best to reach long absent church members, those who have attended evangelistic meetings, the VBS, and the PFC in the past.
These activities brought about a big change in many church members, for now they saw themselves as an evangelist, and began working towards their loved ones and the neighbors.
We are grateful for much support from foreign counties financially and manpower too. The GC offered us a big amount of money, and showed a deep interest in the project.. We had a TV conference with the GC leaders including Ted Wilson, the president. G.T.Ng, the executive secretary, and Michael L.Ryan, the general vice president have visited Japan twice to have meetings not only with the JUC leaders, but also with local church pastors. Also other leaders from Adventist Mission came to have seminars here in Japan.
We also greatly appreciate the support from Korea and Germany. The Golden Angels from the NSD made Japan tour in May, 2013, and during the evangelistic meetings in this summer to autumn, they have sung at almost all the meetings for Tokyo 13. Their music has done something pastors cannot do by his spoken words only.
Much appreciation also goes to missionaries of “One Year in Mission.” One missionary was sent to Tokyo Central SDA Church starting from August, 2013, and from September, 2013, four other young missionaries have begun their works mainly at Tokyo Central Church and Tokyo Korean Church. They will stay here in Tokyo until the end of this year, December, 2013. There may be a language barrier, but they are trying to give disciple-making training especially for young people.
Report on Meetings
The special evangelistic meetings’ period for Tokyo 13 Hope for the Cities - city wide evangelism haven been held from September to October, 2013. At 8 different locations in Tokyo metropolitan area, Japan and there have been 42 meetings held during these two months.
For three days, September 14-16, at Tachikawa SDA Church, Pastor Shimada, the JUC president conducted the meetings with the main title, “The Decision to the Eternal Life.” On the second and third days, the Tokyo area was hit by a typhoon and the public transportation such as trains were much reduced, but we had 167 for the first day, 117 for the second day, and 82 for the third day. Especially on the second day, two new believers were baptized.
Yokohama 13 Team
The same date as Tachikawa Church, September 14-16, at Kamenokoyama SDA Church located just under the JUC headquarters in Yokohama. Pastor Dwight Nelson from Andrews University Church conducted the meetings with the main title, “The Hope of the Rising Sun.” He picked up the Adventist messages, and spoke well, so that even the Japanese people could understand. With the less influence by the typhoon than to Tachikawa, the number of tattendance was 204, 210, and 203 each day. The Golden Angels was involved in the both locations of the meetings.
Right after the meetings in Yokohama, Pastor Nelson moved to Harajuku, Tokyo, and he conducted the meetings at Tokyo Central SDA Church for five days. The number of attendance was 180, 164, 168, 175, and 410 for the Sabbath worship!!
West Tokyo Team
Starting from the weekend of September 14-15, 8 meetings are planned in four weekends, by four pastors from west area of Tokyo (including the president of the East Japan Conference), with the title, “Salvation Is to Be Found through Him Alone.” More than 200 have attended the meeting each night.
Tokyo Chinese Church
The four day meeting in Chinese language was held, starting from September 18 at Tachikawa SDA Church. Pastor Daniel Jiao, the executive secretary of the China Mission came to Japan as a speaker. As a result, four new souls were baptized, and other three souls have already decided to be baptize
Tokyo Korean Church
Pastor JohngHaeng Kwon conducted the meetings, September 20-28, with the title, “You Have a Hope Still.” A medical ministry group with 26 members came from Korea and Germany. By their efforts, at least 35 are interested in the church.
Tokyo 13 by Youth & for Youth
The meetings especially for the youth were held on September 7 and 22. There were more than 100 young people at each meeting. On September 7, young members themselves spoke. Their feelings of witnessing Christ were shared, and gave strong impact to those who came that day. On September 22, Pastor Wilson gave the youth wonderful message. The meeting was opened to internet live, so it reached not only those who were there, but also those wherever they were.
In addition to these meetings listed above, there will be more special meetings in Tagalog, one of the major languages in Filippines. The meetings will be conducted by Pastor Joe Abe Jr.
In November, 2013, there will be “The International Revival Retreat” in Saitama Prefecture. It will be a kind of the follow up meetings after Tokyo 13.
Speaking in general, most of baptisms are not done during the meetings, but sometime later in the near future at each local church. Some reported that Sunday-keeping Christians attended the meetings, and were interest in SDA church. It is also great that those who have not attended the SDA churches for a long time have come back to the church. The meetings of Tokyo 13 seem to be good opportunities for the families of the believers too.
Many of those who attended the meetings have given their address, e-mail address, and phone numbers. Such personal information will help the local churches to reach out for souls after the Tokyo 13 meetings. We would like to ask you to pray for the harvest of Tokyo 13. Thank you very much for your support!
As reported by the Northern Asia Pacific Division