OMF Japan Blog

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Five ways God used to lead people to serve in Japan

Peter discovered that short-term trips and active involvement in ministry were two ways God called new missionaries to serve in Japan.

I didn’t know if God was calling me to Japan

Levene wasn’t 100% sure that God was calling her to Japan, but she realised she could know for certain that she was called to trust God.

My unexpected discovery about Japan

Missions in Japan was a foreign concept to Daniel when he first went on a mission trip there. But God showed him Japan’s vast spiritual need.

Good news for all the people

The angels said, “Good news for all the people.” Millions in Japan haven’t heard this good news yet. That weighs heavily on Steve’s heart.

How did God bring Candace to Japan?

Candace tell how Japan went from being a vacation destination to the place where she’s serving as Japan’s Finance Manager.

Our direction: caring for missionaries in Japan

To enable missionaries serve effectively, OMF Japan provides care and opportunities for development for them. Peter shares about his and his wife Janet’s role in this.

Serving in dependence on God in Japan

Kaori needed to reboot her computer only seven minutes before she began teaching her university class. But her prayer partners were praying.

Following my passion for music and Christ in Japan

We had just moved into our small town in northern Japan when I saw a flier on a noticeboard—“Looking for members for a local band!” I thought: could it be me they were looking for?

Working together to reach Japan

OMF Japan missionaries serve in community, which includes other missionaries. Ralph gives us a glimpse of how that works out in practice.

Japanese student ministry harvest field

I know that if I continue building relationships, teaching, inviting to church, and explaining gospel truth—that seeds are being sown. Even if I don’t see fruit right away, my job is to sow and water. This helps me keep going because it may not be my job to harvest. Will you join me?—Aaron

Why go to Bible college? AJ’s story

AJ shares how going to Bible college in South Africa prepared him to serve God overseas.

Japanese students from Christian homes

Yuma grew up in a Christian family in Japan, but his faith was immature. Involvement with student ministry at his university changed him and he’s now growing in his faith.

Planting seeds in Japanese student’s hearts

The gospel message that Jim and Terui planted in Manami’s heart took root and she was baptised by Joel, another missionary, many months after Jim and Terui moved away.

Walking alongside students in Japan

Student ministry is exciting and fast paced, but also vital. Walking alongside young people as they make big life-decisions is an important role.

My church planting roller-coaster ride

There are many highs and lows in church planting in Japan. Jessy shares some that she’s experienced in her first term.

Making disciples one-by-one in Japan

These missionaries are excited about sharing the gospel wherever they go. Through them God is building his kingdom in Yokohama, one by one.

Passionate about building community in Japan

When planting a church in rural Japan, it is important to find ways to be part of the community. A suitable building can be a big plus.

Why go to Bible college? Christina’s story

Christina shares how time at Bible college helped her prepare to serve God overseas.

Empty chairs but a heart full of hope in Japan

He stood there, the only remaining member of this church, hoping that one day he would meet with other locals once again. The question the missionary grappled with was: how could OMF help?

Church planting and short-term missions in Japan

Does God use short-term volunteers to have an impact in Japan? Yes! For example, Megumi started studying the Bible after getting to know Abigail and she’s now preparing to be baptized.

Open doors to a soundless world in Japan

Hailey joined a Japanese sign language group. She discovered many Deaf people in Japan know little about Christianity.

God uses missionaries in our weakness

All too often we do not seem to be on the same page as God. We value the rich, the powerful, and the strong. We think if we can be like them, we can do much for the Lord.

Surprising partnership in Japan

What can happen when an old lady who loves the Lord teams up with a missionary who loves his Bible? Jesus builds his church.

Ageing Japan: what can the church do?

Japan has the highest proportion of elderly people in the world. What can the church do in the face of the challenges associated with an ageing society? Dale, a missionary in Japan, has some ideas.

Starting a church mission team

The idea of a mission team at our home church was born over buns and cups of tea. It was a way to raise the profile of those working overseas.

Prayer partners: key team members

Prayer partners of missionaries are essential members of the team. Missionaries love meeting with them. Could you join a missionary’s prayer team?

Why I love home assignment

Matthias reflects on his last home assignment in Switzerland and the many good memories from catching up with friends and supporters.

Impacting Japan through prayer teams

Over the last several years OMF Japan has hosted teams of people who have come for a short period with the purpose of travelling to various places to pray.

Sensing God’s love through phone calls

Karis felt isolated after she graduated from language school. Two phone calls from leaders in OMF helped her realise she wasn’t alone.

The Blessing of Faithful Prayer

My name is Kayanuma Yasuo. The first Shimo –Takaido prayer meeting was held in my home in Tokyo on Tuesday September 7th, 1999 – the year I retired from work. Izu Makino came to lead us and we were seven people, from two different churches. Ever since, the Executive Director has been coming regularly to [...]

Drawing Japanese people to Christ with a cafe

“Why are you, a missionary, making coffee and baking cakes in a coffee shop?” Elisa how she’s seeing God at work in her ministry.

Serve Asia Coordinator Appreciation – Morgan Hildebrand

I’m Morgan Hildebrand, originally from the US, and am now serving as the recently arrived Serve Asia coordinator for Tohoku (north-east) region of Japan. I’m taking over from the previous coordinator these next few months.

Not every missionary plants churches

Not all missionaries are church planters. Just like in your church, where not everyone is a pastor. God calls missionaries who are gifted in other areas, such as education, finance, or writing, to work for him overseas. Why does OMF need people such as these?

Supporting the church in Japan

As I sat in that small church, I realised that God is building the church, not we missionaries. Our job is to support the church however we can.

Ways OMF supports our missionaries

Reaching Japan includes helping our missionaries be effective and joyful in their work. That is the role that people in support ministries fulfil.

What Gives You Hope Right Now?

During this uncertain time, there is still much to find hope in. We spoke to Karen from Australia about how she is dealing with the disappointment of having her Serve Asia short-term mission trip to Japan cancelled.

Missionary life in Japan: an interruption and an opportunity

What initially looked like an interruption to Peter, turned into an opportunity to share the good news with a local Japanese post office employee.

When God doesn’t do what we expect

This coronavirus crisis has probably lead to more instances of “we thought, we hoped” than we’ve ever experienced. There may come a time when God will explain. In the meantime, we can trust that he’ll walk with us through every calamity as we proclaim him among the nations.

Missionary life includes the ordinary

Missionaries don’t often write about the ordinary tasks: like buying groceries and doing laundry. But these can honour God too, as this missionary realised.

Missionary work is like farming

Morgan asked a missionary: “What does your day-to-day life look like?” They said: “Missionary work is a lot like farming.”

Pottery, Japanese, and meeting people

By continuing in Japan with an interest he had in his home country, Samuel was able to meet a lady who had never heard about Jesus Christ before. She’s now coming to church.

Pump iron, hunt, and eat in Japan

Reaching men in Japan has been difficult for a long time. John is seeking to meet them by doing what many men like to do: pump iron, hunt, and eat!

Two missionaries in Japan and their kids in the midst of COVID-19

We asked two missionary mums in Japan who have children in four different education systems how life is for them at the moment in the midst of this global pandemic.

The greatest challenge for men in Japan

Men competing with each other is a common theme in the Bible as well as in modern life and Japan is no exception. Men in Japan need your prayers!

Acceptance in a Japanese church for alcoholic man

Too many men in Japan struggle with alcoholism and find it hard to ask for help. Ken, however, found help and support in his local church. He was still a young Christian, though, when he died in a house fire in his mid-40s.

7 Lessons from Relief Work in Japan for the COVID-19 Response

Mike McGinty explores how experience dealing with a previous crisis can help us now.

After only eight hours

The question every new missionary wants an answer to is: was all the effort to get here worth it? Sometimes the answer comes in an unexpected way. Peter and Janet first heard the answer through the visit of an unsuspecting newspaper salesman.

COVID-19 in East Asia: Updates and Prayer Requests

Find the latest updates and prayer requests from across East Asia.

COVID-19: My usual ministry has stopped, but God is still working

Despite the impact of COVID-19, God is still at work in and through Hiromi.

English reading club in a Japanese church

We hear that English is a golden key to spread the good news in Japan. But English ministry is difficult for a church after the foreign missionary leaves. And what if English is not the missionary’s native language?

Encouraging missionaries in Japan

Mission groups from all over the world who serve in Japan gathered at the end of February. What an encouragement!

God is in the business of saving and sanctifying

At first I was hopeful. He wanted to study the Bible with me, but that isn’t quite how it worked out, at least at the beginning.

Friday morning encouragement

Why would five short term missionaries from different backgrounds gather each week for prayer and encouragement?

God at work in Japan

Dale shares how one day he had three very different opportunities to share the good news in Sapporo. He realised again the importance of being ready to follow the Spirit’s lead.

Working for our mysterious God in Japan

Over the years I’ve learned that God’s ways are higher than ours. Nothing takes him by surprise; everything is built into his plan; nothing goes to waste. But it is all so unfathomable, and our work often seems exhausting and futile.

Humbled, yet lifted up

When tasked with hosting a Japanese tea ceremony for Christmas worship, Celia didn’t imagine how God would show them glimpses of his extravagant love.

Shintoism: unlucky years

Shintoism teaches that unlucky years occur throughout a person’s life. To combat that, people are urged to have special cleansing ceremonies and buy good luck charms.

Japan: where the good people are

A major reason for Japan’s low-crime society lies in the virtues of Shintoism. They are admired by much of the world, but is it enough?

One God or millions?

“When I was in preschool I was taught, at meal times, that seven gods reside in one grain of rice,” Mai, a high school student recounted. “I couldn’t reconcile this teaching with what I understood of the world.”

Answered Prayers: Stories from Christmas Outreach 2019

During Advent we asked you to pray with us for Christmas events as they happened in churches in East Asia. We're delighted to share a few photos and, more importantly, how God has worked to answer your prayers! We hope these stories inspire you to keep praying. Christmas in Thailand Double the people! Thank you [...]

Ogres on aisle two

This new missionary was surprised to find herself throwing a bag of beans with other shoppers in her local grocery store.

A month that made a difference

This past summer Michael* served with me in Japan. He came from the UK for a month with OMF’s Serve Asia program. It was his first time in Japan and he spoke just a little Japanese—which he’d learned from an app on his phone. Michael, who’s in his 30s, helped out with the student ministry [...]

Unexpected outcome of a short-term missions trip

Candace was one of the first OMF Serve Asia workers I worked with. I had only recently been trained in the administration side of Serve Asia: processing application papers, checking for references, and making budgets. Yes—all these things need to be done for people wanting to serve for two weeks to six months as short-term [...]

God is still surprising me in Japan

What has God surprised you with recently? Last time I wrote a blog post for this OMF Japan blog, I wrote about the unexpected ways in which God works. He hasn’t failed to surprise me in recent months. Here is some more evidence of God using everyday things here in Japan. Kittens First, take kittens—simple [...]

My short term ministry trip feels like a vacation

Evelyn came to Japan to serve families by taking care of their kids.

How a short term missions trip changed my life

In 2012 Jane sensed God calling her to serve in overseas mission, but didn’t know if her background and gifts could be used. She discovered that God both calls people and opens doors for them to serve.

Good news of great joy

The shepherds weren’t brought bad news of sad problems. But we can feel overwhelmed at sharing the gospel in Japan and forget Jesus’ coming was good news.

Christmas in Japan and How You Can Pray

This Advent we’re sharing stories from past Christmas outreach events in East Asia and prayer points so you can pray for this year’s events as they happen – follow #EastAsiaAdvent on social media for regular updates and prayer points. We’re looking forward to sharing how your prayers have been answered in the New Year. OMF [...]

Christmas brings gospel opportunities in Japan

You can’t preach here . . . or can you? There are places in Japan that you can’t preach, but you can bake cakes. At Christmas time Renate teaches people how to make Stollen, while it bakes she and her husband share the gospel.

Let the Gospel Enter the Heart Underneath the Kimono

Responding to Samuel Lim’s article "The Gospel Expressed Through Ritual Materiality for Discipleship in the Context of Thai Folk Buddhism" from a Japanese perspective, Ricky and Winny Leung underline similarities and differences between Japanese and Thai Buddhism. Their discussion considers how Japanese churches have rituals similar to those in the society at large, the influence [...]

Celebrating Christmas without Jesus in Japan

This missionary found Christmas being celebrated at a local Shrine—without Christ. Christmas in Japan is a fun time—dominated by commercial bling—with little connection to Christ or his church.

Reaching the nations in Japan

It is said that the number of foreign Christians in Japan is almost the same as the number of Japanese Christians, only a small number of those are missionaries. What’s God doing in Japan?

God specialises in the unexpected

Who is the most unlikely and unexpected people group to share the Gospel with Japanese people? Perhaps Chinese. Yet God is doing a surprising thing in Japan.

Working as English teachers in Japan

Because of the positions we are in, we’ve become friends with many of the surrounding English teachers. We’ve also become involved in our local church.

Not all Japanese people wear black suits

Mr. Saiba always answered my questions about Japanese culture, but he also said that while most Japanese people acted that way, but he didn’t.

Missionaries need holidays too

Coming here for a few days, a couple times a year has been a huge blessing and I think it has helped me stay the long haul—long-term missionary in Japan

Learning kendo challenged me spiritually

Karis discovered that kendo didn’t just involve learning how to use a sword, it involved taking care of her protective gear also. She was challenged to think about how much she cherished God’s Word as her spiritual protection.

OMF Tohoku – Church Planting – Hanamaki

Daniel shares about church planting and relationships. People don't care what you think, unless they think that you care.

Rugby World Cup in Japan: God-given opportunity

When Richard, a new missionary, tried to join a rugby club in Japan, he quickly discovered that most activities happen on Sundays when he was expected to be a church. That is not an uncommon problem for Christians wanting to be involved in organised sport in Japan.

Reaching Japanese people through Bible camps

It was over 35 years since Yoshi had come to faith at a Bible camp in northern Japan. He wondered, “Was it still operating?” He and his wife decided to go and find out.

How can we prepare new Christians to return home? Pass the baton on!

Since January 2018, I have been reaching out to Japanese people in Birmingham and, for those going back to Japan as new Christians, helping prepare them for that transition. I started the Japanese student ministry at the University of Birmingham last September. I met around 20 Japanese students at the curry night I organised for [...]

Unlikely encounter on a frozen volcano in Japan

This snowboarding missionary in Japan unexpectedly encountered someone near the top of a mountain who was desperately seeking an awakening.

Language learning is ministry

OMF Missionaries in Japan spend hundreds of hours learning the language. This missionary came up with four reasons why language learning should take time.

How God taught me about Japan through hula dancing

Learning and teaching are ways missionaries can meet people in Japan. This missionary joined a hula dancing group and learned a lot about Japanese culture.

Missionary kids struggle too

We often hear that kids adapt quickly to a new culture and language, but it is not necessarily easy, for them or their parents.

Short-term workers with long-term impact

Can you make an impact as a short-term worker teaching ukelele?

My father deserves a proper funeral

A terminally ill Japanese man became a Christian when he searched for a cheaper way to have a funeral. However, the story has an unexpected ending.

My strange encounter with spiritual darkness in Japan

The opposition to God’s word was obvious when this missionary told a short Bible story in a Japanese friend’s home.

My experience of ancestor veneration

Some of our missionaries come from Chinese backgrounds, which gives them a unique insight into the Japanese Buddhist mindset. Here’s one missionary’s story of her experience.

Obon: a difficult time for Christians in Japan

Many Japanese take time off at Obon to visit family and worship at the family altar. This shows respect and love for their family and some Christians face rejection when they try to stay firm in their faith.

Conversation about a Japanese funeral

A missionary asked a non-Christian friend about funerals. Her friend said, “Japanese people, including me, don’t think about the meaning but do those events at a funeral just as a custom.”

Japanese Buddhism is hard to define

Active involvement in Buddhism has fluctuated over the centuries, but there is still a sense that to be Japanese is to participate in Buddhist traditions.

Buddhism in Japan: a complex topic

Japan has been soaked in Buddhism for nearly 2,000 years. Communicating the gospel requires repeated, clear explanation and the Holy Spirit’s intervention.

Swimming Upstream

This article discusses the possibilities of Filipinos serving in Japan and considers how similar things can be done for workers from the majority world to address challenges of serving in more affluent places. It looks at the need to rethink language learning and to widen the discussion on tent-making and other ways of sending and [...]

Religious confusion in Japan

Margaret, a missionary in Japan, found that many Japanese people she spoke to about their beliefs didn’t consider themselves religious. Rather, they usually followed the traditions of their family.

Japanese Buddhists saved by faith?

Logical reasoning rarely leads to a change of heart in Japan, where Buddhism is deeply ingrained and a way to stay connected to one’s family. Only the Holy Spirit can convict this family of their need for Jesus.

Reaching Japanese professionals with an English dinner

These OMF missionaries are reaching Japanese professionals in Tokyo who have worked overseas with international companies—with a simple monthly dinner and English conversation.

Christian community is vital for Japanese returnees

Japanese who return to Japan after encountering Christianity overseas need to find Christian friends in Japan to help them go on in the faith.

Keeping the faith: from English to heart language

This missionary couple were shocked when a new Japanese Christian they met in the US was troubled by encountering Christianity in her heart language.

Japanese ministry can happen outside Japan

Janet, a future missionary in Japan, found she could do ministry with Japanese even before she left home. This experience helped her prepare to go to Japan.

Partnering in training in Japan

Training across organisations can be challenging. Workers from OMF Japan’s offices and a university student ministry spent two days together learning how their roles fit into the bigger picture of God’s mission of reaching Japan.

Extending our reach in Japan through partnerships

“If God had not put us in touch with OMF, we would probably have left Japan after the first year. Praise God for the connection and partnership!”

Singapore to Japan: Shao Xiong & Levene’s Mission Story

Shao Xiong & Levene are heading from Singapore to Japan for two years with OMF. We caught up with them to find out about their journey to this point. Where did your interest in missions begin? Levene: “All along, ever since I’ve been a Christian, I’ve seen missions is very important. but it was only [...]

Partnering with a Japanese church as a short-term worker

He served in a place no other OMF missionary had ever served.

Running a cafe in Japan: partnership in mission

Sometimes God surprises us by unexpectedly opening the door into a new ministry partnership. This happened recently when an OMF couple began work in a cafe in Sapporo.

It’s time for a different miracle in Japan

In 1989, at the beginning of the Heisei era, the Japanese economy was booming. Three years later, the bubble burst and Japan’s economy went into recession. Cracks are increasingly appearing in Japan’s prosperous façade, and it’s possible to glimpse the spiritual poverty this country is labouring under.

Japan has changed: it’s more international and it’s been shaken

We asked one of our missionaries who’s been in Japan since the ’80s what changes he’s seen. He recounted two moments—at a baseball match and in a conversation with a neighbour—when he realised significant changes were happening in Japan.

Jennifer’s Parents Were Against Missions Until She Did These Two Things

Parents, prayer and short-term mission

The god who spoke

Much has changed in Japan since Emperor Hirohito spoke to the nation in 1945, ending the myth that he was divine. But much has remained unchanged and we long to see God’s spirit poured out on this country.

Japan has changed, but Japanese still desire divine intervention

There have been many changes in Japan, but what remains unchanged is a deep desire for prayers or wishes to come true.

Is life in Japan easier for missionaries today?

Prayer letters from the ’60s reveal that life in Japan has changed considerably in the last few decades. But has it changed for the better?

Japanese Cultural Dynamics: Their Influence on Japanese Abroad and their Impact on their Return

This paper looks at how group identity, deference, and shame shape the Japanese in their responses to the world and impact their time abroad. It offers direction on how to help Japanese friends adjust to life away from home and face the prospect of return. With his wife Alison, Graham Orr served in OMF Japan [...]

Board games in church in Japan

This board game-loving missionary was surprised to find a group of enthusiasts in rural Hokkaido. Now his church is holding board game events to reach more people.

Not enough pastors in Japan means few retire in their 60s

Most of us envisage our future retirement as a time when we will live life at a slower pace. But Japanese pastors feel the burden of many churches without pastors in their country and so many don’t retire in their 60s.

Adolescent church’s growing pains

The missionaries asked, “What could we do to help this teenage church reach a point of healthy independence?”

This Short-Termer Got to Use Her Skills Overseas in 3 Unexpected Ways

I learned to appreciate the support roles like my own.

Church revitalisation in Japan: working together to glorify God

We’re not planting new churches here —we’re encouraging the faith of existing churches and helping small rural churches re-catch a vision for evangelism. —OMF Missionary in rural Hokkaido.

God uses novice actress to reach Japanese

This Japanese Christian returned to Japan as a missionary and unexpectedly got to perform in a play based on a book by a famous Japanese Christian author.

Cosplay: not a small thing in Japan

Venturing into a Cosplay festival is like entering a different world. Thousands of Japanese are passionate about costume role-play. How can we reach this subculture for Jesus?

God is full of surprises for this short-term worker

God brought Rachel to Japan as a short-term missionary and surprised her with an unlikely new friendship.

Getting creative in reaching Japan for Jesus

English has been an effective way to outreach in Japan in the past. But with more missionaries from non-English speaking backgrounds, different methods are needed.

Why do Japanese burn their New Year decorations?

There are many Japanese customs and cultural practices that are new and unfamiliar to foreigners. It’s a chance to learn more about Japan. But sometimes even the Japanese struggle to explain the meaning behind these traditions.

New Year’s Eve: Japanese church provides fun and meaningful ways to celebrate

Many Japanese people celebrate New Year by attending a shrine. Some churches look for creative and meaningful ways to provide an alternative, like this one.

Arrows on the train in Japan

Have you ever seen lots of people carrying arrows on a train? Find out why it happens in Japan.

Japan at New Year: busy and traditional

Food is very important in Japan especially at significant times of the year. And the new year season is one of the most important times on the Japanese calendar. What other traditions are typical for a Japanese new year?

James went to Japan as a photographer and he learned these 3 things

I always felt somewhat detached from the reality of those labouring on the field.

New Year in Japan reveals Japan’s true love

How is New Year celebrated in Japan? You might be surprised, as this missionary family was.

Christmas in Japan: students sharing God’s love

Japan is apparently the #1 destination for westerners to escape Christmas. But Japan has its fair share of tinsel and Christmas glitz at this time of year. How can we make the most of the opportunity this season affords?

Human trafficking in Japan: the good and the bad

It may be hard to believe for such a modern developed country, but human trafficking is a big problem in Japan. In fact, as recently as 10 years ago, Japan was the biggest global consumer of human trafficking services. Slavery is still a live issue today.

Serving as Partners Under Local Leaders

While Paul is a model of pioneering church planting in new places, the New Testament also records the work of Timothy and Apollos who worked alongside local churches. In their first term with OMF Tim & Miho Walker, mission workers in Japan, worked in partnership with a Japanese pastor, and trying to follow the example [...]

30,000 children in Japan in institutions: adoption an opportunity to bless

“Meeting your baby changed something in me … we need families to adopt children in Japan.” 
Adoption in Japan is hard and getting harder. But it is so needed and such a wonderful opportunity, as you’ll see when you read this post.

Addiction in Japan: rehabilitation with love

Alcoholism and other addictions are rife in Japan. How would you help those who struggle with addictions? It is not an easy question. Find out about a ministry in Sapporo and how they seek to help them.

Continuing in Ministry: Partnering with a Japanese Church in Canada

In 2011, when Pat and I were due to retire after 33 years of service with OMF in Japan, the pastor of the Vancouver Japanese Gospel Church, which had supported us while we were in Japan, invited us to come on staff and help with a busy and growing church. We accepted the position as [...]

Four Lessons We Learned In Ministering to the Homeless in Japan

A hand covered with black soot stretched out for a handshake. James and I grasped his hand.

Meeting Japanese people in unexpected ways

We can put a lot of effort into trying to meet new people in Japan. But sometimes God puts someone in your path in unexpected and surprising ways!

How Do You Plant a Church Where There Is No Church?

How did your church begin? In the same way that a child never really questions how their parents came into existence, I would suspect that a vast majority imagine that their church is sort of an uncreated being which “wert and art and evermore shalt be”. That was true for me, until I delved into the expression [...]

What is an OMF Friend?

Can you be a missionary whilst doing a full-time teaching job? What is a tentmaker? What role can they play in mission in Japan? Hear Emba’s story.

How to share the gospel with surfers

What are the particular challenges of sharing the gospel with surfers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts? How can we build a church among them?

Children’s blessing day

Do you remember special treats and festivals when you were a child? What if you were no longer allowed to take part – how would you feel? These are some dilemmas that Christians in Japan need to deal with.

Contextualising the Gospel

To share the gospel with Japanese people, you just need to translate your gospel explanation into Japanese, right? Wrong. There’s more to it than that. In fact, in some ways, the language is the easy part! (Although, it’s not an easy language!)

How Samuel is Finding Fulfillment in Total Dependence on Christ

“This is where I belong.” I knew then, without a doubt, that I was called to be a missionary in Japan.

Reaching the homeless

The eager men and women gather in a circle in a train station, ready to listen to one of the helpers sharing the Bible story. They are homeless and have just received a bag of food along with the Bible story…

Making connections

Sharing the gospel with Japanese when their concept of god is so greatly different to the truth of the living God is a huge challenge. Might there be an opportunity in the commercialised foreign festivals that are being embraced in Japan’s shopping malls?

Stars, Candies, Floating Dolls and Jesus

What do stars, candies, floating dolls and Jesus all have to do with each other? Find out how churches in Japan are seeking to engage in some fascinating aspects of Japanese culture.

Taking the gospel to the workplace

It is my heart’s desire to bring the gospel to the Japanese workplace. The reason is simple: about 98 million Japanese people are at work all day and never have a chance to hear the gospel. Japan Times reported in October 2017 that Japan’s total labour participation rate is at 77%. Japanese are a hardworking [...]

White Shirts

What is it like to work in Toyko? What is life like for millions of business men in Japan? Hear the inside story.

Hokkaido earthquake 2018

“The earth was moving like a giant wave, pitching up and down, moving from left to right, then in a circular motion!”

Café Iris

Just entering a church building is a big hurdle for most Japanese people. How can we help them enter the ‘narrow door that leads to life’? How about a café next door?

The kid from Japan

The reason that I never wanted to be introduced as a “the kid from Japan” was because I didn’t want to be labelled as that kid and be forced to slowly push through the stereotypes.

Cooperating to reach commuters

Millions of workers in Japan go to work early in the morning, come home late at night, and spend their weekends sleeping to recover. How will they be reached with the gospel?

The greatest cost of my missionary career? Returning home

My church home group were discussing the cost of being a Christian. Someone turned to me and asked about my experience. What had been the cost of going to Japan in short-term cross-cultural mission 43 years ago? Of joining OMF 32 years ago? Of spending my entire working life in a foreign culture?   ‘It was [...]

Where’s home? – Missionary Identity Part Three

The third and final part of our series of posts on missionary identity by OMF worker Wendy Marshall looks at how the notion of ‘home’ becomes difficult for missionaries. If you missed the other two parts, you can find part 1 and part 2 here. Where’s home? Most people’s identity is tied up with a particular place. We often [...]

Identity Crisis – Missionary Identity Part Two

‘You are what do you?’ Is that true? For missionaries, it can sometimes feel that way. The second in our series of posts on missionary identity looks at how missionaries can feel defined by their role and lose perspective. But Wendy, an OMF worker from Australia working in Japan, also looks at how supporters can [...]

Caring for missionary children

As a short term worker helping with child care, I thought I was just going to be babysitting.

God answers prayer for our kids

A mother’s prayers. A young daughter’s prayers. Look what can happen when God answers our prayers.

Singleness in missions: the good, the bad and the cookies

Reflecting on what it`s like being a single missionary, there’s obviously lots that could be said, but I want to focus on three aspects: the good, the bad, and the cookies. The Good and the Bad I`ll put these together because the good and bad points of being single are mostly tradeoffs compared to being [...]

Something precious

What is most previous to you? How would you decide what to take with you when you go to school? How do you deal with saying goodbyes? Meet Scratchy the Turtle!

‘You’re a what?!’ – Missionary identity part one

Simple questions like ‘where are you from?’ or even ‘what do you do?’ can be difficult for missionaries to answer. When you have lived overseas for several years, that can feel like ‘home’. Or people may not know what missionaries do. Missionaries’ identity can also become wrapped up in their Christian service rather than in [...]

A missionary kid’s perspective

It’s all very well for adults to decide they’re going to go overseas for the sake of the gospel. But what about their children? What’s it like for them?

A parent of a missionary asks: ‘What’s my part in God’s plan?’

When God called my son and his wife to long-term missions overseas I became a parent of a missionary which was both amazing and daunting. Amazing to think that my son would be used by God in this way. But also daunting as I wasn’t part of a missionary family. I had no experience of [...]

What about the grandchildren? Missionary life as a grandparent

There were times in my missionary career when I couldn't understand why fellow missionaries returned home for the sake of their children or grandchildren. However, this all changed when we had our own children and I appreciated why workers left, and even more so when we became grandparents. Missing Milestones To miss a birth of [...]

Discovering new opportunities with Diaspora Returnee Ministries

When returning from church planting work in Japan, we were told that work with Japanese overseas would be ‘different’.  ‘You’ll have to be flexible’ they said.  ‘Open to being involved in different ministries all across the city’. Well, we are coming to the end of our first year of outreach among Japanese short-stay residents in [...]

‘Visiting prayer partners is like visiting family’: partnership on home assignment

After every ‘term’ of three or four years in East Asia, OMF missionaries return home to reconnect with family and mission partners. It’s a time for rest and refreshment, but also for encouraging others to engage in God’s mission. It follows the pattern of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14:26-28: they ‘returned by ship to [...]

Joy in serving missionaries

Is there a way to serve in East Asia without knowing much of the local language? Take a look at support ministries like this one.

Raising the next generation of leaders

How has God used OMF to work in and through Japanese students over the years? Here is just a little glimpse.

Not welcome

Why would this lady always come at the end of the church events? This story gives a little insight into just how much courage is sometimes needed to darken the doors of a church.

Over 30 years in Japan

Over 30 years in Japan some things have changed. Some things haven’t. Find out what it’s like to serve in Japan for over 30 years.

Who is OMF Japan? What are we doing?

Find out the needs of the church in Japan and how OMF Japan are seeking to meet those needs in the coming years. Maybe you could be an answer to our prayers…

How’s your prayer life?

I was really excited to see how Kimie’s heart had grown, and she had changed to be more like Jesus.


Kumiko got rescued from the pit of darkness and depression to discover that she really is loved.

Seeking abundant life

The journey to faith for this Japanese lady included time in Scotland and Kenya as well as Bible study in a church in Japan. After many years of searching she was baptised last year in Sapporo.

Do not be afraid

Life has not been easy for this Japanese Christian lady, due to a challenging marriage relationship.

My journey to long-term missions

“How did you get involved in mission to Japan?” If you asked five missionaries this question, you would get five completely different answers.


This missionary was an aircraft fitter. He never expected that God would call him to serve in Japan.

It is worth it?

This missionary was frustrated about dealing with yet another administrative task. God showed that he could use a health insurance form problem to open up a conversation about Jesus.

Would God satisfy her?

I was scared of the prospect of not being like everyone else. However, God assured me of his good plans for me. He empowered me to begin the journey to long-term mission.

Would the Lord use someone ordinary?

For me, becoming a missionary was never about hearing a clear call to “Go forth!”, but not hearing a clear call to “Stay home.”

Waiting patiently

I can’t plan the time when someone should become a Christian, but I can wait and trust the Lord.

New beginnings on campus

April is the time of new beginnings in Japan, when the school year begins. Pray that more students will come to new life in Jesus this year.

Unwanted attention

I could hear the whispers as we walked past other shoppers. Comments echoed all around me: “Look at all of those kids.” “Do they have four? Wow!”

Gospel work takes time

I could hardly believe this was happening in Japan! Riku, a self-defense force officer, did come to our church—his very first time to visit a church—the following day.

Shining light by teaching English

When the kids in my English classes are crazy and hard to manage I often think about the role we have as Christ’s ambassadors.

Reaching out with God’s love in Japan

A friend invited Mr Tanaka and his wife to church. They were so touched by God’s love that they got baptized soon after starting to attend the church.

More than English

There was one student at the English café that day who never joined in the activities. Instead she spent the whole time talking to the chaplain.

Pilates in Japan

God even uses short term workers who don’t think they have anything to offer.

Returning Home: When Another Culture Changes You

1 year later I still compare the UK to Japan & want to use the tiny bit of Japanese language I picked up.

God surprised her

“When we receive Jesus, our eternal life starts at that very moment; it doesn’t end when we die. We will receive new bodies, be with Jesus forever and live life to the fullest—no sickness, pain, grief, wars, or death any more.” Mr. Kata, visibly amazed, said, “If that’s the case, then Christians not afraid of death! Am I right?”

England Meets Japan: My Journey to Cultural Acceptance

Different language, different food, different culture. All of these pose significant challenges.

How God Counts

Grabbing a quick lunch in Iwate before boarding the bullet train bound for Tokyo, I watched a waitress hover over one particular customer, rapidly slamming bowls of soba noodles down in front of him as fast as he could eat them. This bizarre scene continued for some time, with the bowls stacking up until the [...]

What they most need now: hope

 On Sunday 13 March 2011 only two days after the Tohoku Earthquake, a church in Osaka, central Japan, met for its regular worship. Still in a state of shock from the images and words from north Japan being delivered by every television channel, they worshipped and began preparations to send a team of volunteers to [...]

High School Ministry in Japan

 Aaron is an OMF missionary who works with hi-b.a., a high school ministry in Japan. He’s currently training under hi-b.a. leadership in Tokyo and has a vision to be involved in the future with youth work in other parts of Japan. We asked him about one of the students he’s worked with this last year. [...]

What Happens on Sunday in Japan?

I have discovered so many things about a country that previously I really knew very little about.

Japan’s Ageing Pastors

 A gray-haired man slowly gets up and walks to the pulpit, as he has done for several decades. He looks out on a congregation of 40 people, mostly women, and begins preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news of God’s grace and the rescue of sinners.He exhorts the fledgling congregation to follow Jesus [...]

Training to be a life-long gospel worker

“Saya chan! Are you ok?” I asked. Sobbing, she replied, “The sermon was so moving and I can’t help crying.” This conversation with Sayako is still clear in my memory, though it happened more than 25 years ago at my first KGK camp. (KGK is the Japanese branch of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students or [...]

God’s Plans Are Great

Last winter our team leaders gave us a piece of 'homework' at our team meeting as part of our training: to meet a friend from the community and do something with them. That meant we either had to invite them over to our home or meet them somewhere else. One may think that this was [...]

Valentines and Lent in Japan: A season of obligation or a time to be loved freely?

 It's Valentines Day in Japan and so this week I've enjoyed getting chocolate. Yup, in Japan girls give guys chocolates for Valentines day. And what's even better is the concept of 'giri choco' - I guess 'obligation chocolate' — whereby you don't even have to love someone to give them chocolate. The general bond of [...]

Carrying the Local Shrine

“You live in our neighbourhood now, so you have to come with us to carry the local shrine though the neighbourhood to assure blessings and our protection—it’ll be fun!” It was a bright, sunny day and the mountains were lit up in the brightest fall colours as our family joined the annual local neighbourhood hiking [...]

How Spending Christmas in Japan Changed My View of Missions: A Photo Journey

My experiences on this trip to Japan taught me flexibility, boldness and trust.

A Spiritual Lifeline

Much of the island of Hokkaido, Japan, consists of bare volcanic plateau and thickly forested mountain slopes. The island is roughly the size of Switzerland and Denmark combined, with a population of 5.46 million people, a third of whom live in the largest city of Sapporo. There are around 400 Protestant churches with an average [...]

Q&A: Celia Olson on Creative Arts Ministry in Japan

 Celia Olson never thought she would become a missionary. That is, not until a long-term worker encouraged her to use her musical gifts for missions. Today, having finished their first four-year term in Japan with OMF, Celia and her husband Keith have no doubt about the importance of creative arts ministry. Celia specializes in the cello [...]

Emiko’s Desperate Call

 “I’m in bed with the flu, and, no, I do not want to go to Emiko’s apartment to tell her parents about Jesus.” “OK,” Kathi said, “I’ll ask her if we can come over tomorrow when you’re feeling better.” I agreed and tried to go back to sleep. But I felt guilty for letting a [...]

Joining the community

 After graduation from language school, I decided to join a craft group in my new local area in Hanamaki, Iwate. I found out from another missionary that there was a long list of circles posted on the local community page, and joined one on the list. I attended that one for the two years I [...]

Reaching men for Christ through sport

 When I tell people about my passion to reach and disciple Japanese men for Christ, I hear the same question: But how do you get to spend time with them? One answer is to play sport. There are great opportunities: seventy percent of all Japanese people are involved in sport in some way. (1) Yet sportspeople are a [...]

Mrs. Kamei’s Funeral

One of the hardest to reach “people groups” in any country is the elderly. This is especially true in Japan, a country influenced by the traditions of Buddhism and Shinto. However, some older Japanese are experiencing new life in Christ. Below is the story of an elderly Japanese woman who is now in Heaven. Mrs. [...]

Perfect is not enough

Each piece was a work of art—one bit of sushi after the other found its way into our mouths. But it is not only sushi that makes our lives in Japan enjoyable.

Obihiro Church

A story about an OMF church plant in Hokkaido: how it started, how it is now, and what they are looking forward to in the future. Pray for church growth. More information about how to pray for Japan:

Listen to hearts

I’d heard “returnee” and arrogantly thought, “Okay so I know what kind of person she’ll be.” But I was wrong. It was a rebuke not to judge people’s hearts.

5 Life Lessons I Learnt From Asia

I will never forget the summer I spent in Asia learning about God’s goodness.

Connecting to the Church in Asia

In 1997 Kana left her devoutly Buddhist home east of Tokyo, to study at university in Denver, Colorado. There a Christian befriended her and invited her to church. She was given a Bible but struggled to understand it reading on her own. She decided to attend a Bible study with her Christian friend. After many [...]

Through Friendship to Faith

 When Kyoko*, a young Japanese woman, arrived in Australia on a working holiday visa, she held an intense dislike for all religions, regarding them as cults who ‘brainwashed’ their followers. Yet before her visa expired, she had become a Christian, and is now continuing to follow Jesus back in Japan. During my interview with Kyoko [...]

Music to our ears

Miki (a Christian returnee) came to faith in the UK. When she returned to Japan she was put in touch with our returnee network, but though I invited her to events and suggested meeting up, she didn't respond. She also tried a few churches but didn't settle. Eventually, when her British friend was visiting Tokyo [...]

Isolated and alone

It was 1 am Sunday morning, but Emiko couldn’t sleep. She sat in her Tokyo apartment thinking of her friends in the UK. She missed them so much!

Abiding in the storm

Missions work can be muddy and tiring, but our God is faithful. Last year was difficult for this new missionary, but God continued to encourage her.

Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, Hanoi: how one Japanese couple are doing mission on the move

Maki came to the UK from Japan with her husband, who was sent to London by his company in the 1990s. Together with the wives of fellow employees, Maki joined a Bible study group, run by an English Christian. Maki was thrilled, though, that she could read the Bible in her own language when Yoshie, a [...]

Be prepared

She wanted to sit and process the complex emotions surrounding her upcoming retirement. But instead she encountered a Japanese woman who felt trapped.

The Christmas Party

While we were planning how to tell people in our town about Jesus at Christmas, our daughter said, “I want to tell my friends at school about Jesus too.”

A bench story

An impossible dream that became a reality when God answered the prayers of many around the world: purchasing a building for a new church plant in Sapporo.

Christmas is a great time in Japan

“I love Christmas, but in Japan for the most part it doesn’t have a lot to do with Christ.”

Confusing festivals

Christmas without Christ in the West and a Shinto veneration of the gods with (apparently) very little belief in them in Japan. This author makes curious comparisons.

The greatest building project

Millions travel to see Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world. Little do most visitors realize that a much greater building project is on the way.

Providing educational options in Japan

How do missionary parents provide schooling for their children? The Christian Academy in Japan provides one English-speaking option for families in Japan.

Children’s ministry challenges

This missionary realised children’s ministry in Japan was worth it when a boy who’d been attending their program wanted a Bible comic to read.

Connecting with kindergarten kids

In Japan, once kids start school their lives get busy. We realized the kindergarten age group are the easiest to reach. God’s given us opportunities in our local community center.

Power in a small package

Once a week in rain, snow, or heat, Mrs. White would come to help us. But her impact on our lives went far beyond teaching us Japanese.

No one but Jesus

Time and time again we hear testimonies of believers whose first encounter with Jesus was as a child. That is why we invest in children’s ministry.

Crow menace?

Many missionaries in Japan are in situations that are wearying and disheartening, and aren’t as simple as picking up a mess that crows make.

Whose itinerary?

Maybe this dream trip to Japan was not about my plans, but God’s!

200 by 2020 (subtitled video)

OMF workers share their passion and hopes for Japan. We’re praying for 200 workers by 2020 to serve.

How did God call you to Japan?

“I was shocked when I realised that Japanese students had little to no knowledge of Jesus.”

Drawn to Japan

I was born in Taiwan and moved to Hong Kong at the age of 12. When I was 16 I went forward at an event to accept Jesus, but I did not take faith seriously until I turned 28. After that I went to seminary and got my master’s degree in theological studies. I moved [...]

Fisheries scientist to missionary

I was convinced that evolution was true and Christianity was a superstition when I was a student in UK . After graduating I emigrated to South Africa where I met many Christians who witnessed to me and prayed for me. A few months later I was converted and straightaway got involved in teaching Sunday school and [...]

A whistle and the power of God

It was almost midnight, on March 26, 1998 when I joined the Tamura family in their living room with their beloved son, Akihisa, sitting in a wheelchair. The former outgoing, confident college student was nowhere to be seen. Akihisa had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor over a year earlier and now it felt [...]

God’s man at God’s time

When the tsunami hit on March 11th, 2011 Mr. Ohtaki was 67 and living in Hokkaido. He was not yet a Christian, but was attending church. By God’s grace he was saved and baptized in October that year. He was moved by the havoc that the tsunami had wreaked and wrestled with whether he should [...]

The value of short-term workers

“The short-term team was reaching a demographic of people that I, someone in my 30s, was unable to.”

Surprising apology

“The gospel alone can turn enemies into family members and bind old wounds into marks of grace.”

Lessons from a Korean prayer team

“The team didn`t pray for the sake of praying, they were serious about prayer.”

Meeting the neighbours

In Japan most toilets have a little sink on the top of the water tank for washing your hands when you flush. The water then goes into the tank. It's a great way of saving water, and, it turns out, it is also a good way to get to know the family living below you. [...]

Growing together

“Recently, I had the joy of receiving the first short term team from my sending church.”

Relationships with missionaries

I love spending time with other missionaries. We share unique experiences and challenges. Deep bonds often develop because of those shared experiences. Yesterday I had lunch with a long-time missionary. She and I are different in age and in marriage status. Our nationalities are different and neither of us have been to the other’s country. [...]

Turning up the volume

I recall feeling rather sheepish as I read the Word of God in a very loud voice to an elderly priest at the main Shinto shrine in Tonden, Hokkaido. He was the last of the Arai clan living in Tonden who had yet to place his trust in Jesus. As his family members were baptized [...]

Unexpected hugs

“Take heart, my friend! If you can’t speak Japanese, you can still have an impact here!”

How do you maintain spiritual zeal?

God gives each person their own style of maintaining their spiritual walk. In this post I’ve described ways that God has enabled me to stay close to him. I’m not suggesting that what I do is any better than anyone else's. I’m no spiritual superhero! And really, it is more to do with him holding [...]

Bilingual kids

We have a new rule in our house: No Japanese at meal times. Our two oldest are in Japanese school and kindergarten, so most of their playtime in the week is spent in a Japanese environment and context, and so their play language is Japanese. Even when they are at home they spend a lot [...]

What’s difficult about living in Japan?

A question we’re often asked when we're in Australia is, "What is the most difficult thing about living in Japan, aside from language?" That assumes you can divorce the language from the difficulties of living here, but you can’t. It affects almost everything. It means we struggle to understand the culture and make friends. Daily-life [...]

My experience of culture shock

During our first few months in Japan we had "climate shock" more than culture shock. We arrived in snowy northern Japan in December from sunny Queensland. Learning to live with permanent snow and without a car was hard. We were consumed by daily survival. These daily struggles included: Getting to and from language school in [...]

What’s your ministry in Japan?

It’s easy to list what we do in our jobs, but the context of our roles is vital to understanding why we do what we do. We're missionaries with OMF International. OMF has over 1,200 missionaries reaching out to East Asians. In Japan OMF has about 125 missionaries working in church planting, evangelism, training, student [...]

When Brothers and Sisters Come Together

“The missionaries were interested in who I was & why I chose to be a short-term worker in Japan.”

How did God lead you into your current ministries?

Our first term in Japan began in mid-winter in the snowy northern Hokkaido. Our family of three moved in the a tiny apartment a 20-minute walk from the language school. Culture shock was initially difficult to separate from the shock at living with snow on the ground all winter. However God sustained us through some [...]

Preparing for the mission field

“I went on the trip asking, “Am I called to be a missionary?” and anticipated a lightning-bolt answer.”

How did God call you to mission?

I grew up in a mission-minded church in Australia. Missionaries visited our church regularly and all of July was devoted to mission. During that month, we had a guest missionary at each of our morning services, and often in the all-age Sunday School too. After worship, we had a bring-and-share lunch and a talk from [...]

Missionary call

Wendy is an Australian who has been in Japan with OMF since 2000. She’s married to David who teaches maths and science at the Christian Academy in Japan. She’s an editor and writer. In this nine-part series she answers searching questions about her experience of life and ministry as a missionary. What is your understanding [...]

Engage – Gospel Movement Series

In this series, we explore the stages we’ve often seen as God works among a people group. From an initial prayer movement for a people group, to a time of learning about them, seeking ways to engage with them, sharing the good news, seeing a church emerge through to that church becoming a mission sending [...]

Keiji’s Testimony

I first met Keiji* several years ago, just a few months before he publicly confessed his faith and was baptised. He had been attending the church where I was helping as a short-term worker. He was friendly and full of zeal for God. He had first visited a church several years before I met him [...]

Clumsy Early Days

I was stunned when Sayaka*, who had come to our church BBQ, said she wanted to do a Bible study with me. I was a new missionary and could barely keep up with the Japanese conversations I’d been hearing. My husband looked after our two small children as I left in search for Sayaka’s house that night. [...]

Levi’s Serve Asia Story

“Learning Japanese took much longer than I was expecting, in fact I’m still working on it.”

A Valentine’s Day Surprise

Today is White Day in Japan, the day when guys give gifts to girls in return for the chocolates they received on Valentine’s Day (when only girls give chocolate). Though it is a month ago now, here is what one church did on Valentine’s day: Candles in ice lanterns lined the entrance, peaceful music played […]

Reaching Tsunami Survivors in Gamo

Surrounded by picturesque rice fields, on the far eastern edge of Sendai is the sleepy suburb of Gamo. When the massive earthquake and tsunami struck just off the coast of Sendai in March 2011, coastal suburbs like Gamo were inundated with waters reaching over nine metres in height. In the months following the disaster, the [...]

Post Language School

We finished language school a year ago with below average Japanese ability and moved down to Tohoku to help with the church planting. But we wondered: Would we really be of much help? When you are still stumbling about in daily conversation it’s hard to imagine how you could lead a game or organise a […]

As A Parent of Kids in Preschool

“Yes, yes, but you are a foreign family. We have our own traditions.” Ten years ago, I never dreamed that such a thing would be said to my face at my future children’s pre-school in my own country. But then I married a Canadian, we became “foreign missionaries,” and a new layer of complexity was […]

Making Japanese Friends with African Drums

The first step to introducing people to Jesus is to meet people. But how do you do that in a country as private as Japan? Japan is a nation of people who take their hobbies very seriously. But if you have something you’re keen about, you can almost be sure that there is some club […]

Bible camps at the Aomori Christian Center

“I attended Bible camps at the Aomori Christian Center (ACC) from the time I was in 3rd grade all the way through my last year of high school. This brings back so many memories. It was also here that I first confessed: ‘I believe in Jesus.’ May this place be used of the Lord more […]

The Acculturation Slump

After five months of being excited about being in Japan, my “honeymoon” period suddenly wore off and I was irritated over every little thing. “It gets dark too early.” “It is freezing here.” “The snow will never end.” “How can I live off this income?” “There is no one my age” “There is ‘nothing’ for […]

Hanako’s Cafe

We’d just arrived in Sendai. Power lines hung across the skyline. Concrete apartments and houses lined the streets. In the midst of unpacking, organising, and wrangling two young children, I needed a space to relax, to pray, and meditate on God’s Word. *Hanako’s café was a breath of fresh air. The moment I stepped into […]

Baptising our (former) neighbor

  A few months ago on a Sunday, we baptised our (former) neighbour. It’s somewhat unbelievable for us because he only lived in the house opposite us for six months, but that was long enough to make a connection. At first he helped us with Japanese language but that soon became Bible discussion, then he joined […]

Meet Brittney

Meet Brittney Carlson. She is from the Washington, D.C. area of the United States, and grew up living and working between the states of Virginia and Maryland. Her hobbies are listening to music, hanging out with friends, and trying out new restaurants and cafes. She especially loves to experience and learn different languages and cultures […]

Meet the Laus

The Laus are back from thier home assignment, and we would like to introduce this lovely family to you! Daniel, Joylyn Lau and their two daughters, Grace and Faith are from Singapore. Daniel and Joy were childhood friends from Sunday school, but they only started dating after graduating from university. Daniel likes anime and soccer. Joy, on […]

Japan – State of Missions Infographic (by TEAM mission workers)

An excellent infographic on the state of the church and mission in Japan from TEAM mission workers, Caleb and Beth Trim’s blog: “As missionaries we give a lot of presentations, and we get asked a lot of questions about Japan and the current state of evangelical missions in the country. Sometimes, it is hard to […]

The Tradition of 愛餐会

愛餐会 – Love meal meeting). “So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together.” (1 Corinthians 11:33 NIV) I remember when I first experienced life in the Japanese church in 1999. I was a college student and though I had accepted Christ in the 8th grade, I had not […]

Pie Party

“Do you think you can bake for a ‘pie party’?” asked my husband. “Sure.” After he handed out several ads, I saw that he had written there would be 10 types of pie!! Apple, pear, plum,pumpkin, blueberry,chocolate cream,lemon meringue,shoo fly,bacon onion quiche, chicken pie. That was the first menu! It sparked Hope’s interest. The mid-twenty-year-old entered a […]

Japanese Culture and Christ

“I so admired his dedication, persistence and intentionality in learning about God.”

House Hunting

“We are very sorry to inform you, but the owner of the house has turned you down because you are a religious organization. But we will keep looking for a house for you.”Another discouraging phone call from the real estate agent. We desperately needed a house for the new missionary family that would join us […]

Parenting Class

“Your son can use chopsticks better than some Japanese kids—you must be a good mother. Please come speak about parenting at PTA.” I did not mention that my son figured chopsticks out by himself, but I did tell the PTA ladies about some principles from the Bible that guided my day to day parenting. Later on, a church […]

Rural connections

“Oh! You know Mrs K?” were the words that made all the difference. The staff at the community centre had been reluctant to allow a religious group to use their facility for a Christmas event, but everything changed when they discovered our connection to Mrs K. The local kindergarten principal and a key member of […]

A Missionary Mum

One of the things, I really wanted to do after leaving language school was chronological bible storytelling. At that time, I had a 3-year-old and 7-month-old who were with me all the time. We were also trying to set up our new home, look for a kindergarten, understand the new ministry, get to know the […]

To Meet Students Where They Are

When was the last time you took a lecture, a course, or joined a club at university? For Shirley, this feels like ancient history. It has almost been ten years since she last studied at university. What are students like these days? What are their interests; their concerns? How could students come to know and [...]

A Ministry of Receiving Help

We flew back into Tokyo after a wonderful but exhausting three-week holiday in our home country. It was the first time we’d visited there in the three and a half years we’ve been in Japan. On our return we had used our generous luggage allowance to the max, and were now wondering how we could [...]

First Thanksgiving Away = First Thanksgiving Here

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, but five years ago it took on a new meaning for me and my family. On Thanksgiving Day 2011, while driving to church in the US another car hit me head-on. My knee, ribs, and wrist were broken; my hip shattered; and my lungs and abdomen bruised. The […]

The Gigantic Turnip at Thanksgiving

Have you ever seen a turnip so enormous that it takes not one person, or two, but the joint effort of six individuals to pull it out? The Gigantic Turnip is a well-known story in Japan. Almost all Japanese know this story because it is part of the elementary school curriculum. The moral of the [...]

I would like to love Jesus like this…

A few weeks ago, I did a Bible study with two Japanese ladies. Tokiko is a Christian and her friend Akari is a seeker.* They grew up in the Japanese culture and have a Japanese worldview. Almost all Japanese believe that gods are living in nature (e.g. mountains, trees, rivers etc). It can be hard for [...]

Earthquake deja-vu 

Deja vu is the sense that an event is repeating itself. The earthquake came on Tuesday at 6:59 a.m. The shaking increased and increased and just wouldn’t stop. “Oh no,” we thought, “not again.” Soon the speakers up and down the coast were blaring warnings about a tsunami, “Escape to high ground, don’t go near [...]

An Opportunity to Influence

There are many ways that we can reach out to university students for Christ. I believe that one way is to have a teaching role at a university. Students have more time and freedom to learn and explore many things. It is a crucial time for them. I, myself became Christian in my second year [...]

Matthew 25 Church

"Are you hungry? Here I made this for you." "Are you thirsty? Here you go." "How is your apartment? I found this and thought you might need it." "Aren’t you cold? Here are some clothes I don’t wear anymore." "Are you okay? I heard you were sick. Let me know if you need anything." "Are [...]

OMF Tohoku Fall Gathering

One Body Currently OMF has around 125 missionaries in Japan; 27 are in the Tohoku Region. That may sound like a lot, but Tohoku is a large area and teams are anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours away from each other. Distance as well as ministry commitments make it difficult to gather together as [...]

He Knows My Name.

What happens when excited missionary kids are finally released from a long car ride and welcomed into a big room with other missionary kids to play with? Energy. Ideas. Creativity. Noise. Games. And a bit of chaos. Especially add to the mix that these children live in an isolated area and do not have many [...]

Momijigari (autumn leaf viewing)

Snow will arrive soon in Tohoku. Last week I drove several hours through the mountains to an OMF Tohoku member’s meeting in Iwate. It is breathtaking. To come out of a dark tunnel to a world filled with red, yellow, and orange was like a blank coloring sheet painted in a split second. Suddenly the colors were [...]

Meet the Ghents

Martin Ghent grew up in a dairy farm in a small town called Mount Forest, just outside of Toronto area. Ruth Mae moved around as a child on the east coast of the US. They met at New Brunswick Bible Institute. In 1986, they left their home countries for language school in Hokkaido, Japan. After they [...]

Meet the Meas

With two boys, Joseph and Yoshiya, the Meas, Ho and Laura-Jane, currently live in Sendai, Miyagi. Ho is sent from OMF UK/Ireland but is originally from Cambodia. Laura-Jane is from Northern Ireland and together they serve in a ministry called Sendai Student Focus (SSF) in Miyagi prefecture. Ho first came to Japan in April 2002, and [...]

Meet the Lovestrands

Joel Lovestrand (US) came to Japan on a short-term program with OMF back in 1992. Two years later in 1994, joined OMF as a full time missionary to Japan. His wife, Seiko, was born in Japan, and became a part of OMF in 2007. With their two children, Akari and Leo, they are currently located [...]

Meet Shirley

With colored paper, felt, and a sewing  machine, Shirley's Monday began. Shirley was meeting with a lady from church to make some costumes, not for Halloween, but for a Thanksgiving play they were performing next month. Shirley came to Japan from Sydney, Australia in 2012. She did language study and one year of church planting in [...]

Meet the Ormes

“John came on a short-term team in 2004 to Chiba to help run some kids programmes at a local church.”

Meet the Thomases

Rod and Glenda Thomas are energetic and enthusiastic church planters  who are currently serving in Sendai, Miyagi. In addition to leading the Sendai Evangelical Christian Church. after the 2011 Tohoku Tsunami, they have been involved in ministry to many people who have been living in temporary housing. Rod, from England and Glenda, a missionary kid [...]

Meet the Langhans

Perhaps the longest serving OMF missionaries on the Japan field, Wolfgang and Dorothea Langhans first came to Japan from Germany 36 years ago, December 1980. After language study in Sapporo, Hokkaido for two years,  they were in Hanakawa (north of Sapporo) involved in  planting Wakaba Church until the end of their second term. Which then became independent [...]

Introducing Tohoku OMF Workers

It has been our great delight to hear people praying around the world as we shared stories and prayer points from our Tohoku Prayer Drive for the past month. We greatly appreciate partnering with you in building His kingdom in Tohoku, Japan. For the next series of posts, we would like to introduce you to […]

Tsugaru Gospel Church, Aomori

 They looked at more than 120 buildings in two towns to find a building for the town's first church. Finally, in 1991 they purchased of a former bank warehouse in Itayanagi Town, Aomori. God miraculously provided the financial needs and helpers to renovate. In the area, over the years 50 people have been baptised and [...]

Meet Mrs. K

OMF Tohoku missionaries hearing her testimony. 45 years ago, a young lady from Aomori left home to work in another prefecture. That was the beginning of her working life. But it was no ordinary beginning. After moving to the new prefecture, this young lady was invited to visit a church with her friend. And she [...]

Partnership of a different kind

Joel shared with us the recent challenge of preaching to his congregation on 2 Corinthians 6:14, particularly in relation to marriage. He knew some of his listeners wanted to marry, but, with Christians so few and far between, couldn’t find an appropriate partner who share their faith. But he also knew that some had married [...]

Meet Minnie

Q: Minnie, which group of people do you hope to reach out to? Children, students, young women . . . ? A: Any group is fine. I'll make friends with anyone. Since Minnie arrived in Hanamaki two years ago, she has befriended many in the community. These include her neighbours, a curry rice shop owner, [...]

Meet Pastor K.

Pastor K first came to Sendai after the 2011 disaster as part of the relief effort bringing food and supplies to those who were in need. But as he worked he realised that the church has something more to bring to those who need it—the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, sent by the Presbyterian Church in [...]

40th Anniversary

Sendai Evangelical Church celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. So anticipating its birthday here are some things the church is earnestly asking its Father for: "In our building we have no room for the children and no room to grow, but we cannot find a larger place. Please Father provide us a home in which [...]

The Konbini Model

In Japan, there are convenience stores everywhere. Around 50,000 stores. The Japanese Prime Minister at the time of the Great Hanshin Earthquake 20 years ago famously said that to be able to effectively reach people with the relief needed they would have needed disaster supply centres as many and accessible as post-offices. Pastor Chida thought [...]

Sendai’s Samurai

Above are two actors depicting Sendai's most famous samurai—Date Masamune and Hasekura Tsunenaga. The capital city of Tohoku, Sendai, was founded in the 16th century by Date Masamune (in black). He is considered to be one of the most feared samurai in Japanese history. Legend has it that when he lost his eyesight in one [...]

Bigger than the Tsunami

Day 1: Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture / Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture “God’s love is bigger than the tsunami.” Isaiah 59:19-20 “From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD […]

Master Builder

Why do the people keep coming even though this church building in northern Tohoku looks more like a construction zone? Is it because the children can freely play? Is it because there are no expectations for "proper" behavior, freeing people to relax and be friendly? Are they excited to see progress and to be part of [...]

History of Aomori Christian Center

Aomori Christian Center (ACC) began in 1956 as a Bible Camp on the coast near Aomori City in northern Honshu. In the 1960s the present center was first built with several additions and modifications made through the years. For nearly 50 years, this center has served well as a location for special events and camps. [...]

The Aging Churches in Akita

Akita Prefecture has the oldest population in Japan, with one third of its people being over 65, and just one tenth under 15. Until recently, there was no registered missionaries at all working in Akita. I don't know what to think about that. Of course a place doesn't need missionaries for a church to thrive. But [...]

OMF Missionary Kids

Have you ever thought of praying for the children who have accompanied their Mum and Dads to this harvest field, or have been born here? Dotted along the 1,000 km trip I got to see 11 of these missionary children and to hear about many more. In fact, in the not too distant future there [...]

Cafe Next Door

As an Asian missionary growing up in a non-Christian family, I have noticed that many non-Christians aren't willing to enter a church. Non-Christians will go to supermarkets, shops or cafes but very rarely will they go to church. I have been to many churches in many Asian countries in the past for mission work. I [...]

Meet Hazuki

Hazuki worked hard to prepare our lunch in Cafe Iris as we stopped to pray for the cafe and the church it is attached to. Later that evening she was teaching the church children a fun, new song and a story from the Bible. The income she receives from her part-time cafe work is supplemented by [...]

The Golden Trees

Kanagi (金木) means "golden trees", it's the name of this town. As we were driving to Kanagi, we were accompanied by the amazing views of the rice fields and the golden colour of rices tells us that the harvest season is near. It reminded us that the Lord is the Lord of the harvest. The [...]

Lydia Kai (Ladies Bible Study Group)

Lydia kai (Ladies Bible study group at Hanamaki Grace Christ church) Five ladies came, two of them are Christians and the others are seekers. God is living and he is transforming each of these ladies' lives little by little. He used many ways to guide these ladies to church—a flyer about German class, friendship with [...]

30,000 Leaflets

“How do you begin to introduce the idea of church to an area with little/no idea of Christianity?”

History of Hanamaki Grace Christ Church

Why is there a church plant in Hanamaki, in central Tohoku? Because there is hardly any Christian influence in this city of 100,000 people. There are no Christian schools, nurseries, hospitals, or other commonly seen examples of Christian influence. The few churches in the city have less members combined than you have fingers and toes. If [...]

Maturity in Him

When should we feel like we've "made it" as a church? When we have a building? Or a local pastor instead of relying on missionaries? Or no disagreements? When we all actively use our different gifts for the united goal of glorifying God and making him known? When we all humbly recognize our own sinfulness [...]

Today’s students, Tomorrow’s leaders

Day 2 - Tohoku University, Miyagi Prefecture In responding to the needs among university students and faculty members after the Great East Japan Earthquake, OMF Japan field began “Sendai Student Focus (SSF)” ministry in 2014. The vision of this ministry is “to see discipled university graduates and staff making an impact for God’s kingdom in [...]

As a Beacon of Hope

Gamo, Miyagi Prefecture. Gamo Community Centre was supposed to be an evacuation area, but is only a single-storey building, and the tsunami flooded the space up to the top of the door frames. From the flat outdoor roof of the Community Centre, we could see many surrounding houses which were rebuilt by Samaritan's Purse. Many people [...]

The Daniel Project

"When Daniel stood before the king of Babylon, he was full of character, wisdom, and faith. Our church hopes to help our children and young people grow to become someone like Daniel." (Pastor Kōno) Yonezawa Church's Daniel project consists of a nursery and a church school. At present, there are six children in the nursery [...]

The Kingdom of God is like . . . a strawberry plant.

Day 1 - Yonezawa, Yamagata Prefecture. The Kingdom of God is like . . . a strawberry plant. That’s the vision of Yonezawa church. atrawberry plants send out their feeler vines in search of new fertile ground to make new roots and extend the plant before the plant has produced fruit. In the same way churches [...]

Shelter for 61 Evacuees

Day 1 - Aizuwakamatsu Chapel, Fukushima Prefecture After years of praying, dreaming, planning and saving, the members of the First Baptist Church of Fukushima were excited to finally be able to gather together in their own brand new church building, near the coast of beautiful Fukushima prefecture. But their joy was soon replaced with despondency [...]

God of Compassion and Mercy

Day 1 - Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture As we came off the Tohoku expressway and descended through the densely forested mountains into the delightful plain of AizuWakamatsu with its rice fields almost ripe enough to harvest, I was taken by surprise to note a huge Buddhist Kannon statue perched high on the hill overlooking the entire [...]

Aizu Chapel

This church was begun by a missionary who began sharing the gospel in the town at 59, she stayed 22 years. The work was continued by a Japanese Christian.

Bigger than the Tsunami

As the prayer team travelled west they heard the testimonies in two churches and also how God encouraged one local pastor after the tsunami disaster.

Journey with us / Tohoku Prayer Drive

Thirteen adults and two kids are traveling around Tohoku next Monday in three vans. Fun! Yes, it is fun traveling with fellow OMF missionaries, but that is not our only reason for this trip. We hope to step out of our usual routines and give this time to the Lord for him to lead us [...]

Ippo Ippo – Step By Step Yamada Community Project

An update from Miriam Davis, Jan 2016 Following the disaster, OMF established a relief project in the coastal area of Iwate prefecture. From mid 2012 on relief and outreach mainly centred around a temporary building Ippo Ippo (meaning Step by Step) in the town of Yamada and a more permanent base in Kamaishi city—Ippo Ippo [...]

Tōhoku Tsunami – Then and Now

Photos by OMF worker Rod Thomas taken a few days after the Tsunami and Earthquake in 2011, and then later, at the same location.

Tōhoku Tsunami 2011 – As it happened

A missionary who witnessed the tsunami near Sendai in March 2011 gives an eye witness account of his experiences that day and in the weeks following.

Coffee In Japan: Old School, New School

From the technical drip-filter brewing techniques of Third Wave coffee houses like 'About Life', to the slow careful handling of aged-bean pour-overs at Chatai Hatou, sharing coffee provides time to think and talk. OMF is exploring ways of using coffee to create spaces to discuss the deeper things of life. More Coffee? Will you pray [...]

Walls of Hostility

“If you’re Japanese, I’ll stop the car, and you can all get out now!” That was the taxi driver’s response when he questioned our accent, and my friends and I told him we were of Cantonese descent. We were in a taxi in the Chinese city of over 9 million people that I call home, and […]

Ippo Ippo Yamada—Iwate Relief Project, Japan

The tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011 took almost 16,000 lives. Governments around the world sent aid and OMF International played a part in the relief work by creating the Iwate Relief Project as a means to provide support. As of May 2014, OMF International’s official role ended, but the assistance given through the [...]

Levi Booth – Journey to Japan

Levi talks about his journey into mission and why he wants to serve God with OMF Japan.

Christian Prayer

A Malaysian girl came up to John and Sian at a monthly international event at Kitami Engineering University near where they live in Japan. She said, "I’ve been told you work at a church. I’m not a Christian but I want to pray for my friend, can we pray together after the event?" Miss S explained [...]

Culturally Connected

Although I was raised in a Christian home by mission-minded parents, I had no intention of becoming a missionary. The thought of learning a language like Chinese or Japanese scared me. As I grew up, I learned about past mistakes of culturally insensitive missionaries, and I met a few missionaries who didn’t seem to like [...]

Shut In – Japan – Below the Surface (粵語)

What is a Hikikomori and what can cause this social condition? What is the answer for those who have retreated into their family homes for months or years on end? Can a life without hope or meaning be turned around even leading other sufferers to freedom?

Live to Work – Japan – Below the Surface (粵語)

Japan is famous for its productivity making it a very rich nation. But what is the real cost of this relentless devotion to companies and the economy?

Neuer Glaube in der alten Heimat

Erfahrungen einer japanischen Studentin nach ihrer Rückkehr nach Asien. Sie war in England Christ geworden und musste nun in ihrer alten Umgebung den neuen Glauben leben. (This is Back to Asia: Reaching Asia's Diaspora with German Subtitles) Asiaten vor unserer Haustür174 Millionen Menschen weltweit sind Migranten; davon bilden Asiaten die zweitgrößte Gruppe. 62 Millionen Chinesen [...]

Shut In | Japan: Below the Surface (German Subtitles)

Hikikomori sind Jugendliche, die sich für Monate und Jahre in ihrem Zimmer einschliessen. Sie haben panische Angst vor anderen Menschen, dem Gesellschaftsdruck und den damit verbundenen Erwartungen. Kann der christliche Glaube solchen Menschen helfen? (This is Shut In - Below the Surface with German Subtitles) Japaner erreichenEs geht nur gemeinsam. Einheimische Christen und Missionare müssen [...]

Live to Work | Japan: Below the Surface (German Subtitles)

Japan is famous for its productivity making it a very rich nation. But what is the real cost of this relentless devotion to companies and the economy? (German subtitled)

Japaner erreichen

Es geht nur gemeinsam. Einheimische Christen und Missionare müssen zusammenarbeiten. Damit Japaner Christen werden. Frei werden. Hoffnung gewinnen. Bist du dabei? (This is Hand in Hand - Below the Surface in German)

30 seconds of Japanese visuals set to music

A breakneck visual tour of Japan in 30 seconds. It could be used as an introduction to a talk or presentation on this country.

Shut In | Japan: Below the Surface

What is a Hikikomori and what can cause this social condition? What is the answer for those who have retreated into their family homes for months or years on end? Can a life without hope or meaning be turned around even leading other sufferers to freedom? OMF wants to plant a network of churches that [...]

Hand in Hand | Japan: Below the Surface

Japan seems like a perfect nation. Should missionaries therefore consider other more deserving countries? Below Japan's surface there are many social and cultural challenges that hold millions in stressful and hopeless lives. OMF wants to address the underlying issues by creating a network of churches throughout Japan, working hand in hand with Japanese pastors.

Live to Work | Japan: Below the Surface

Japan is famous for its productivity making it a very rich nation. But what is the real cost of this relentless devotion to companies and the economy? What happens to families, marriages and health when the job comes first? OMF wants to plant a network of churches across Japan to reveal the true meaning of [...]

Back to Asia: Reaching Asia’s Diaspora

Find out what life is like for a new Christian to return home. Hopes, Dreams, and Dangers: Nepali Young People and the Next Generations of the Church in the UKThis paper discusses the findings from interviews conducted with different generations in a Nepali church in the UK, the challenges they face and how they responded [...]

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