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Board games in church in Japan

Last year my wife and I moved to the Obihiro area in the middle of beautiful Hokkaido. We’re working with a Japanese church here.

One of my hobbies is playing board games. To my great surprise I found an active board gaming group. I guess the gaming hobby is getting more and more popular in Japan too.

The group meets two or more times per week to play games. Over a few months I went to some of those gatherings and through playing I found some new friends. When our church’s autumn festival came closer, I invited the gaming group to come along. What a joy it was to see eight gaming friends enjoy themselves at our church’s event.

This experience prompted me to pitch an idea I’d been praying about to the Japanese pastor at our church:

“Sensei, how about a board gaming night in the church?”

The pastor liked the idea and about two weeks later we had 27 people playing all kinds of games in the church. Some of my board game buddies stepped into a Christian church for the first time!

Our hope is that through meeting Christians in this way, people will become open to church, and eventually seek after Christ.

So now, once a month, it’s Games in Church. Before every event I pray something like: “Heavenly Father, I praise your holy name. Thank you for the opportunity to play games. Please use this time, like when Matthew held a party at his house so that his friends could meet and get to know Jesus. [Ed note: see Matthew 9:10] Bless this game night. In Jesus name. Amen.”

I’m looking forward to more good encounters while gaming. But my biggest hope is that those encounters would introduce them to Jesus Christ. Whether I win or lose at the game isn’t important at all.

By Simon, an OMF missionary

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Please pray that those friendships Simon has made through board gaming can grow. That he’ll be able to share, not just the hobby, but also his faith in Christ with them.
  • Pray for other Japanese churches, that they will seek opportunities like this in their local areas.

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