A new season at Aomori Christian Center

[The Aomori Christian Center (ACC), founded in 1956, briefly closed in 2014 when its buildings were deemed unusable. It reopened in 2015 when OMF missionaries Luke & Yuko Elliot, along with their five children, moved onsite to serve as camp director. It is currently entering Phase 2 of a 3-phase renewal project to replace the old building.]

Hello, I’m Luke Elliot.

I’m excited about all the wonderful things God has done for and through ACC since we moved into the Staff House. However, ACC’s story belongs to the much bigger story of the Kingdom of God in Aomori—a story of surges and ebbs, of bold advances and cruel setbacks.

Persecution and martyrdom brutally extinguished the Roman Catholic surge during “Japan’s Christian century” 300 years ago in Aomori and other parts of Japan. The Protestant surge 100 years ago began early in Aomori but dwindled in the face of nationalism and war. Most recently, the post-war surge in evangelical mission and church growth has been receding, as demographics and social attitudes change.

The history of ACC reflects this spiritual recession. ACC began in the 1950s as an integral part of church planting. Two churches grew directly out of the ministry of ACC, and its Bible teaching and inter-church fellowship strengthened many others. In the 1970s, summer Bible camps often had up to 100 participants. But since then, aging congregations, declining baptisms, and shrinking churches resulted in less and less activity at ACC, and the facilities began to deteriorate.

Many local Christians gave up on ACC, but we are now seeking to turn the tide. We’re reviving dormant ministry programs and rebuilding unusable buildings.

One local Christian woman gave a large donation for new chairs, saying: “Honestly, I didn’t believe that a suitable new building could ever be built at ACC. But now, here we are in this beautiful new dining hall, and we are still using these ugly old folding chairs that are bent out of shape and uncomfortable.”

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Prov. 13:12)

We are hopeful that Christian ministry in Aomori is once again entering a season of dreams fulfilled.

By Luke, an OMF Missionary

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