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 workers Matthias Burke and Jessy Vogt serve at Connect Church Yokohama.
The city is less than 30 minutes from Tokyo by train. Yokohama is Japan’s second largest city by population, home to over 3 million people. The church was started in 2013 under the leadership of OMF missionaries Armin & Heike Messer, who now serve as National Director for OMF Germany.
What happened at Christmas 2018? What encouraging things did you see?
Many of our best opportunities to reach out to people come at Christmas in Japan. So churches are super busy.
At Connect Yokohama church we made the most of this busy season last year.
The Christmas Choir
One event that reached quite a few new people wasn’t actually aimed at inviting new people to! However, one of the ladies in our church is part of a local community choir. We invited them along to sing three songs during the service. So the 13 ladies in the choir, who haven’t met many Christians before, got to hear the Christmas story in between the songs!
Since then, a missionary from the Connect team has also joined the choir and there have been more opportunities to share God’s love with them.
The Gingerbread Houses
After that we had an event where families built gingerbread houses together. It was a lot of fun and a great activity where parents and kids could have fun together. When the houses were finished, we listened to a Christmas Story written by Ayako Miura (a famous Japanese author who was a Christian and has many Christian themes in her books).
We’re especially thankful because husband of one of the ladies in the church came along to this event. He has been struggling for many years with depression and hasn’t been to church before. So it was great to see him at the event, building his gingerbread house with his children and meeting church people!
The Christmas Party
At the church Christmas party we enjoyed a great potluck dinner and a talent show where church members showed off their different gifts. Some played an instrument; one member did a magic trick that illustrated the gospel story. Others gave praise with a dance.
At the end we listened to a powerful Christmas sermon challenging each one of us to make Jesus our king. Quite a few guests turned up at this event and we hope that God sowed the seed of faith in many hearts.
What’s planned for Christmas 2019?
The choir who sang at our Christmas service last year are coming back, so we’re really excited about that and the opportunity for them to hear the Christmas story again.
The Christmas party is planned for the evening of the 21st December. We’ll be playing some games, making crafts and enjoying a fun photo booth. Then we’ll have a potluck dinner and listen to songs from the choir. Matt will share a bit about Christmas and then there’s a Christmas play performed by church members. To finish, we sing ‘Silent Night’ by candle light and invite guests to other events at Connect Yokohama.
Will you pray for the Christmas outreaches at Connect Yokohama?
- Pray for 60 people to come! Because we have a room that isn’t allowed to hold more than 60 people. So please pray for 60 people to come, but not more than that!
- Pray for the program to run smoothly
- Pray people will be impacted by the message about Jesus’ love
- Pray for good opportunities for church members and missionaries to chat to guests one-to-one about the life Jesus offers
- There are lots of practical things to do around the event, which means it can be difficult to really take time to follow up with guests. Please pray we can set aside some team members so they can focus on following up with people. Pray for the practical help we need too.