This is a story from one of the students in my church (I’ll call him Yuma). Towards the end of his last year of high school, he started to come to the university student fellowship group at our church. At about the same the time, I started to work as a KGK staff member (Kirisutosha Gakusei Kai, university student ministry affiliated with IFES). As I got to know Yuma, I sensed he was a gentle guy who loved to learn the Bible, and I thought he had a good faith. But after a while, I realised that although he grew up in Christian family his faith was immature and he didn’t understand the Bible.
When he started at university, I encouraged him to join the KGK fellowship on his campus and he did. I am very glad that Yuma is now gradually growing in his faith. This is what he told us about his first KGK summer camp:
I was born in a Christian home and have been to church since I was a baby, but I have not been baptized yet. In junior high and high school, I prioritized school and club activities over church, and did not seriously think about God. But last autumn, after I started to go to the student fellowship group of my church, I saw some of the students were seeking God and I gradually began to think seriously about God. Soon after I also started to think about baptism and Kelly, a KGK staff member who is also part of my church, asked me what I thought about getting baptized.
I said, “I haven’t experienced the God that other students sharing, and I don’t know much about the Bible or God so I don’t know yet.”
She asked, “Do you feel you are not ready for baptism because you don’t have a testimony to share?” Her question made me to start to think seriously about baptism.
Just after that, I participated in KGK summer camp called Challenge Camp. At one of the workshops I went to, the speaker shared that worship is based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the truth of the cross of Jesus. It made me realize that when I prayed during worship time in church, I hadn’t been asking for the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance. So I prayed to God for the help of the Holy Spirit so that I could receive his words in this camp.
God listened to my prayer. He spoke to me through different things in various situations.
One thing was through the camp pastor. In a message he said that “knowing God” is different from “knowing about God.” I felt I was on the “knowing about God” side and that’s the reason why I felt I couldn’t go through with baptism. I realised that I was trying to understand God as knowledge and information with my own head, but I did not pay attention to the truth of God as the Bible testifies.
Another thing was during Q&A session on the third night of camp, someone asked the pastor: “I grew up in Christian family, and I am not sure when I believed in God.”
The pastor said, “It is not important when we start to believe in God. The important thing is how wonderful to be born in a Christian family and this is really a great gift.”
His response makes me more positive about my identity.
Final thing was during the small group time. When one of the group members shared about his trouble, I felt no concern about it. When I noticed my lack of concern, I felt terrible and thought, I’m not a real Christian. When I shared my thoughts, the group facilitator (a missionary) said to me, “If you believe Jesus and the cross 2000 years ago is true, you ARE a Christian. What determines you are a Christian? Your feelings, emotions? Or God’s salvation?”
I was comforted by missionary’s word and felt very encouraged about the fact of God’s salvation. These were some of the things God told me at this camp.
It was really good timing for me to go to this camp. God helped me understand that he knows my need and will always be with me. I have not figured out the final conclusion yet, but I can tell that I have a strong feeling that I want to obey God. And I want to trust and follow the Lord who knows and provides everything I need.
—Yuma, a Japanese student
Most students who grow up in a Christian family have been to church with their family regularly, but many have no individual relationship with God or have no understanding about the Bible. About 95% of KGK students are like this. Many students, after they start going to KGK, take the initiative to open their own Bible to learn and grow in their faith. There are so many students who need a mature Christian to walk with them, but KGK is shorthanded. Pray churches will be encouraged to be more involved and that more workers (local and missionary) will join KGK.
By Kelly, an OMF missionary
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray for the children of Japanese Christians: that they will seek God and know him for themselves.
- Pray for more KGK workers (Japanese and missionaries).
- Pray that churches would be more involved in their local universities and be an encouragement to KGK.