Saiko went overseas to learn English. Having grown up in a Buddhist family she knew little about Christianity, but at language school she met Christians and began reading the Bible. Gradually her interest grew and shortly before returning she confessed faith in Christ.
Back in Japan she visited a local church but it was smaller than the one she’d attended overseas, the worship service was less lively, and since she was not baptised, the church members treated her coldly. While overseas, becoming a Christian had seemed natural, but back in Japan returning to Buddhist practices felt more comfortable. She got increasingly busy with work and eventually lost interest in Christian faith altogether.
Every year over 1,600 Japanese return home having heard the gospel. OMF, in partnership with Japanese churches, seeks to evangelise and disciple returnees, support them as they make the difficult transition into a Japanese church, and encourage them to live for Christ in Japan.
OMF, in partnership with Japanese churches, seeks to evangelise and disciple returnees, support them as they make the difficult transition into a Japanese church, and encourage them to live for Christ in Japan.
The Team’s Current Ministry
At present the team seeks to befriend returnees when they first return to Japan and:
• Meet with them one-to-one or in groups for fellowship, Bible study and prayer.
• Take them to returnee-friendly churches near their home and introduce them to the pastor/church members
• Link them with returnee-specific Bible study/fellowship groups in their area
Future ministry opportunities
If it is the Lord’s will, we would love to see the work among returnees grow. Here are some ideas for what this might include if we had the necessary resources:
• Returnee-friendly church network: Japanese churches spread geographically throughout Japan that share our vision to welcome and support returnees.
• Returnee Discipleship Scheme: Returnees live with missionaries and are discipled and equipped to live for Christ in Japan.
• Returnee House: a purpose built building for the Returnee Discipleship Scheme.
• Living overseas preparation course: Japanese who are about to live abroad spend a week staying with missionaries from the destination country, in order to practice the language and learn about the culture. They are then linked with Christians in the destination country.
• Japanese people to hear and respond to the gospel while overseas.
• Japanese Christians to be equipped to welcome returnees into their churches.
• Returnees to be effectively evangelised and discipled, and to grow strong in faith.
• More missionaries to work with returnees in Japan.