News & Stories


Christmas brings gospel opportunities in Japan

If you are trying to tell people about Jesus, it’s really no good sitting in church and waiting for people to turn up, right? You have to find ways to get out into the community where the people are.

One way this can happen is through cookery. Even if we begin by offering to teach cooking in our own home or church, pretty soon word gets around and there are invitations to do the same for other groups.

My wife, Renate, teaches people how to make Stollen (German traditional Christmas cake). She’s done this nearly everywhere we have lived in Japan. Why? Because it’s connected to Christmas, and there’s always a chance to tell the great story of Christ’s birth.

When we lived in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, word got around that Renate would teach people how to make this special Christmas treat. After a while she was invited to teach Stollen in the next city north of us; and then in the next city south—each time in a community center belonging to the city.

In Japan, public premises like community centers are strictly secular—you’re not allowed to do anything religious. But you can bake cakes, and you can chat about traditions.

I put together a 12-page booklet to share with everyone who came: it included notes about Christmas, some carols, and the whole Bible story from Luke and Matthew. Since the Stollen took time to bake, the ladies would say, “Can we read through the story while we’re waiting?” Well, why not?

So they all took turns to read, and in that secular community kitchen everyone present got to hear two chapters of the Bible, followed by explanation of the decorations we’d brought along, and how they point to Christ. People listened, and asked questions.

Serving Jesus is about grasping the opportunities as they arise. And Advent and Christmas really do bring more of those in Japan—you can get away with so much more than at other times of year!

By Peter, OMF missionary

Will you pray for Japan?

  • Pray for creative opportunities to share the gospel in Japan.
  • Pray for those who hear the gospel in English classes, baking classes, and Christmas parties this month, that they will seek the One who the season is all about.
  • This is a busy time of year of grasping the many opportunities that arise—pray for strength for missionaries and church workers during this season.

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