Partnering for Training in Church-Planting

After Japanese language school, I wanted to gain experience in church-planting, because that’s something I have never done before! So OMF connected me with Tim and Wakako Clark, who had just started a church plant in West Tokyo. How exciting!

I’ve been working with and learning from them for the last 1.5 years. This is a story from their experience church-planting in Japan:

“Church work in this country must be tough,” Gingi said moments after we met for the first time. I agreed, but didn’t show how surprised I was to hear this from a man I knew was not yet a believer.

In the four years since that day, Gingi has become a good friend for me and others at our church plant. He often joins our weekly community group and various outreach activities.

A few months after we first met, Gingi caused an injury accident on a busy highway. His financial penalty was likely to be a huge sum, and he requested prayer. I prayed and was later thrilled to hear that he got a minimal fine, much less than expected.

I hoped that this demonstration of God’s love and power would help Gingi believe. But sadly it didn’t. It seemed he was hesitant because of his wife’s “caution” towards religion and church.

But since then she has become connected to the church, joining English class and a moms’ group. Once she even rearranged her schedule so her husband could attend worship and meet our guests from abroad.

Like so many in Japan, these friends are on a slow path towards faith. Their resistance is very real, but slowly breaking down. We continue to wait for them to respond to all that Jesus is doing in their lives. We thank God that not just Gingi but also his wife and young son are involved, and they add a lot to our church.

We would love to report that Gingi and his wife have believed. But they haven’t, so we can’t. And that’s the reality we live with. As we serve God in Japan there is so much waiting, praying and hoping. At times, we have the great joy of seeing people believe. We pray that Gingi and his family will bring that joy, to us and to God’s angels who rejoice over sinners who repent.

By Sina, an OMF missionary, and Tim & Wakako Clark, Harvest International Church

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