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. Karen, an OMF missionary based in Hokkaido, has been coordinating and welcoming these teams since 2013. She has seen God lavishing his love on Japan, as well as on those who come to pray. She has many stories she could tell, she’s shared one with us about a small, rural church in Hokkaido.
Outside of Sapporo, most churches in Hokkaido are small, but they are not forgotten. UK Prayer Team member in 2014, Maddy, commented: “A visit from a prayer team encourages local Christians that they are being prayed for and cared for—that they are not standing alone or forgotten, but are a vital and cherished part of God’s family.”
One of the key couples God led us to was Mr. and Mrs. Kataoka. In 2014, while a second-year student at Hokkaido Bible Institute, Mr. Kataoka came to my church to speak about the ministry of the college. When I learned that he would become the pastor of Grace Chapel in Abashiri after graduating, I asked if he would be willing to meet the members of the prayer team which was going to visit that church in a few weeks’ time. He was nervous but agreed. Thus, began a journey in which we sought to encourage this couple with the Lord’s grace.
The encouragement, however, is not one-sided. There is mutual encouragement as Japanese brothers and sisters in Christ share their lives of faith with prayer team members. Angelo, one prayer team leader, said, “Short-term prayer trips are a great blessing and encouragement for the Christians and missionaries in Japan who are faithfully serving the Lord, but probably even more for everyone on the prayer team as our faith is strengthened and our eyes opened to the spiritual needs of a country.”
—by Karen, an OMF Japan missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray that God would continue to bring people to Japan to pray.
- Pray for the local Christians impacted by prayer teams in recent years, they they will remember the encouragement they received and not be discouraged this year when prayer teams haven’t been able to come to Japan.
- Pray for the strengthening of faith: of those who’ve come to Japan in the past, and for Japanese Christians as well.